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Reaearch objective;

The present research project aims to identify the characteristic features of the
concept of social responsibility in a specific cultural context, represented by Italian
universities managed by Catholic institutions, Catholic higher education
institutions (CHEIs) from now on.
Firstly, from our point of view it is interesting to underline the link between religion
and the themes of corporate social responsibility and ethics. In this sense, focusing
on university courses, our study tries to point out other aspects of this link which
are still unknown. Secondly, another important aspect is the fact that in the Italian
peninsula there is the Vatican. This is a feature of great importance to our local
context. In fact, not surprisingly, we are one of the countries where actually there
are Catholic universities not only of Italian law, but also of pontifical law. Our special
territorial characteristics justify as well our interest in the university modules of CSR
and ethics. In fact there is no another country in which the relationship between
religion (at least Catholic) and university education are so closely linked. For these
reasons this study could be seen as a particular international comparison and in our
opinion it is interesting to understand whether CSR modules (of aziendale area, as
described in the Sect. 6.4) are influenced by catholic ideas or not. It is important to
describe the context in which the research is set. As mentioned, this study analyzes
CSR modules at university institutions in Catholic education areas. These
institutions can be divided into two main categories
The starting hypothesis of this study considers that the different cultural, economic,
socio-political, religious and environmental contexts have an important role in
defining the type of approach to social responsibility
This section presents the main research steps and the related criteria used. To
select the statistical subpopulation involved in the research, i.e. the group of
universities whose data was going to be analysed, an online search was performed
as a first step. This was meant first to identify the statistical population composed of
all the CHEIs established in the Italian territory. In particular, as for non-pontifical
CHEIs, the database of the Ministry of Education, University and Research published
on the website was used. Three non-public Catholic
universities were identified in the non-public group both on the basis of their
statutes and available information. On the contrary, for pontifical CHEIs there is no
available official database. Such universities were thus identified through various
search engines and consultation of their websites. As a result, a selection of 29
pontifical CHEIs was made. Hence, the overall interim population was composed of
32 CHEIs (3 found through the database and 29 found through search engines). Five
universities from this group were excluded because of the absence of online
information useful for the following stage of the research about modules dealing
with CSR topics. Therefore, the overall final statistical subpopulation is composed of
27 CHEIs. Among these, 20 universities were organised in faculties for the a.y.
2013/2014 (19 pontifical CHEIs and 1 non-pontifical). This depends on two factors:
firstly, starting from the early 2000s, non-pontifical CHEIs have been involved in a
reformation process that is leading to the progressive closure of existing faculties
and to the simultaneous transfer of their functions to departments and (new)
schools; on the other hand, pontifical CHEIs are not always organised in faculties. It
is noteworthy that, among the 20 Faculties found, only 2 are Faculties of Economics,
both found in the same non-pontifical university, as only non-pontifical CHEIs are
traditionally organised in faculties that can be assimilated to Italian faculties where
economico-aziendale disciplines are widely taught (under the labels P/07, P/08,
P/09, P/10, P/11 and P/13).

This section aims to answer RQ1. When the search for CSR topics in modules taught
at the CHEIs selected was performed, we initially found 8 courses (Existence)
dealing with CSR contents from an economico-aziendale perspective (in - non-
pontifical CHEIs) or with a perspective deemed close to it (in pontifical CHEIs).
However, as anticipated above, the modules analysed became 7 because one tutor
did not answer the questionnaire. Hence, ultimately 3 modules of interest were
found in pontifical CHEIs and 4 modules in non-pontifical CHEIs. Such modules are
reported in Appendix 6.2. Such absolute figures suggest a very low presence of CSR
topics dealt with from an Italian economico-aziendale perspective in Italian CHEIs.
Low presence is confirmed and further highlighted by relative figures. In fact, the
ratios related to the number of credits (ECTS and CFU) of each module dealing with
CSR issues (ranging from 2 to 8) out of the number of credits of the degree
programme to which the module belongs (ranging from 120 to 180) confirm a low
diffusion of modules devoted to social responsibility or ethics (Salience).
Specifically, such ratios range between 1.11 and 5 %.
This section aims to answer RQ2. The 7 CSR modules belonging (or deemed to be
akin) to the Italian economico-aziendale scientific field were also analysed for what
concerns their nature. Among modules offered by non-pontifical CHEIs, 1 belongs to
the SECS-P/10 sector, 2 belong to the SECS-P/07 sector (that includes Italian
Accounting and Business Administration disciplines) and another is a mixed SECS-
P/07 and SECSP/09 module. On the contrary, among modules offered by pontifical
CHEIs, no modules akin to the SECS-P/07 disciplinary field were found. Hence, if for
the purposes of this research the above-mentioned 3 modules that fully or partly
belong to SECS-P/07 are considered as falling within the SECS-P/07 category, such
modules represent 42.86 % of the 7 CSR modules analysed. Moreover, their 15
credits represent 41.67 % of the 36 total credits of the 7 modules analysed. Such
credits range between circa 2 and 5 % when their absolute values are compared
against the total credits of each degree to which they belong. These are moderate
percentages that suggest the prevalence of other economico-aziendale
perspectives used for CSR themes in the CHEIs under scrutiny. Finally, it must be
noted that the contents found within the SECS-P/07 syllabi do not always have an
accounting nature, namely they do not always deal with topics such as social
accounting, social balance, etc. In particular, two modules out of three deal with
social balance and other accountability tools. Hence they can be deemed akin both
to the Economia Aziendale discipline and to the Ragioneria discipline.