July 20, 2009

Should the Corporate Responsibility Officer be an Ombuds?

Kevin Moss, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at BT Americas, recently noticed the close functional relationship between Ombuds and Corporate Responsibility Officers.
I think for those of us in corporate responsibility it is interesting to consider to what extent our role should contain components of the role of a news ombudsman. I am not sure many companies would pay for someone to be vocally critical of them outside the organization - maybe it has applicability in the media sector that it doesn’t have in other sectors. But I think that enlightened businesses do benefit from an open culture that encourages open constructive criticism, internally if not externally, and the CR folks should be taking a lead by taking that on as a part of their role.

In a follow-up comment, John Zinsser wonders, "why aren't CROs and Organizational Ombuds working together to embed themselves in every organization of consequence?" (CSR Perspective.)

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