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The business world is getting more sensitive and very competitive. Given the definition of a company, it would be right to say that a business unit is an entity, a person who can be viewed independently as a member of the society. It therefore, has an obligation to ensure that it participates in the normal developmental projects that other members of the society are involved in. The manufacturing companies are the leading polluters of the environment.
The retail stores are also adding to this pollution. Wal-Mart for instances, wraps its products with plastic papers which are poorly disposed and turn into menace in our environments. Many of the manufacturing firms emit the greenhouse gases into the environment, causing massive pollution (Keinert 2008, p. 116). They therefore, have great responsibility to the society. It takes away a very important item which it must find a way of compensating in order to ensure success.
There are a number of ways through which a firm can give back to the society. Corporate Social Responsibility is one of the most important activities for most of the corporate businesses in giving back to the society. It is a kind way of appreciating the fact that the community is important.
It is a fine way of telling the society that the firm appreciates its support. This way, the society will come to the realization that it is acknowledged by the firm. This would create trust and a close tie between the community and the firm (Majer 2011, p. 64). It is one of the best ways of making a firm part and parcel of the community.
This way, the community would not view the business as just a simple business unit out for pure gains in profits. They will see the firm as one of their own and will feel obliged not only to offer it any assistance and protection it may require, but would naturally be turned into a pool of loyal customers. Asongu (2007, p. 53) says that corporate social responsibility cannot be avoided by any firm that hopes to succeed in the market.
Coming up with an appropriate corporate social responsibility in the contemporary society is one of the biggest challenges in the twenty first century. The cultures of societies around the world are varied. For a firm with an international outlook, there is a serious need to develop a strategy through which this process can be made a success.
Corporate social responsibility can be taken from many fronts. There are different activities that a firm can do as a corporate social responsibility. However, what may be appreciated by the American society may not be the same thing that the people of the United Arabs Emirates appreciate. This is not only because of the cultural difference between the two countries but also the difference in economic status.
The United States is a developed country. Some of the activities that a firm may do in this country may fail to make any significant impact to the country’s population, but may mean a lot in another country (Kline 2010, p. 62). The biggest huddle will be for a firm to precisely determine what would be needed in each society. This would call for a deep understanding of the society not just from the economic terms, but also the socio-cultural and political fronts.
This paper seeks to reflect on contemporary issues in corporate social responsibility
Ethics in Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate social responsibility is taking a new approach in the contemporary world. The emergent of professional practitioners and corporate citizens is changing the approach given to corporate social responsibility in the society today. Ethics has been introduced in corporate social responsibility.
Ethics has got three facets. The first form of ethics is descriptive ethics in which moral standards differ from one society to the other. The second form of ethics is normative ethics; it describes the norms that are accepted in one society but are denounced in another society. The third form of ethics is analytic ethics which fosters the idea that the level of morality is comparative. Business ethics is a combination of all the forms of ethics discussed above (Bird 2007, p. 221).
Business ethics is defined as the assessment of the manner in which people or organisations are expected to conduct themselves in the field of business. To be specific, business ethics assesses the various limitations that hinder an individual or organisation from satisfying the self interest, or realizing huge profits when the activities of the individuals or the businesses influence each other.
Corporate social responsibility comes hand in hand with business ethics. Business ethics is concerned with the various ethical principles or ethical problems that occur in the field of business. In addition, business ethics checks on the behaviour of the business or the behaviour of the various stakeholders that run the business.
Ethics play the role of moderating the ethical behaviours that cannot be governed by the government’s laws (Weiss 2011, p. 23). The government normally uses laws in order to constitute the required business ethical standards; business ethics on the other hand are used by businesses to set up standards of behaviours that are not captured by the government’s laws. The development of business ethics has been enhanced by the rise of big business entities that do not pay attention to the welfare of the surrounding community.
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Business ethics refers to the moral principles that govern the operations or regulations of a business. There are certain sections of business ethics (i.e. ethics concerning advertising or promotion) that connect with marketing ethics. Business ethics can be analyzed under the framework of value-orientation by looking at the various values that the morals infringe. In addition, the stakeholder-oriented approach also provides a framework for analyzing business
Business ethics of an organisation always change over a period of time with the changing environment that people live in. According to Manoj (2012, p. 78) business ethics is considered as a form of corporate social responsibility.
This is because it creates an environment in which a firm will behave responsibly to the society without being forced to do so by law. Large companies or corporations normally want to include such ethical behaviour in their CSR programs since they believe that when they do any charitable work to them, their efforts won’t be in vain.
Firms are forced to come up with an ethical organizational culture within its system. Ethical business culture normally brings to the fore their business ethics so that they can exempt themselves from the various scandals that normally occur in the business environment such as, financial crises or mismanagement. The ethical business practices of a firm normally manifest the philosophy of the firm (Urip 2010, p. 37).
The main goal of business ethics for a firm is to ensure that there is a positive relationship between the firm and the society within which it operates.
Business ethics should not be violated as its violation disregards the main goal of the business. Some of the ethical issues that are contained in the business ethics include: the interests and obligations of the company, employees, surrounding community and shareholders or stakeholders. Other issues in this context include: legal framework, CSR policies, marketing ethics and the political climate.
Corporate Social Responsibility is one the most current strategies of marketing a firm. The market is so competitive that any misstep by a firm would lead to its automatic fall. Corporate social responsibility comes in as a way through a firm can show its concern to the society’s well being.
In such competitive markets, it is very important that this firm comes with strategy that would make the firm stand out among the rest, as the preferred firm that is able to understand the needs of the society. This should be based on the contemporary theories in this field. The firm can engage in various charitable activities in the society that may involve giving out financial support to the members of the society.
Environmentally, the firm may get involved in such activities that would ensure it is seen as an agent of pollution-free environment. Socially, the firm should not only ensure that its employees working conditions are bearable, but also make the society appreciate the importance of respecting the rights and freedom of every member of the society.
List of References
Asongu, J 2007, Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility in Practice, Green-view Publishers, Lawrenceville.
Bird, A 2007, Team structure and success as related to cohesiveness and leadership, Journal of Social Psychology, 103(2), 217-223.
Keinert, C 2008, Corporate Social Responsibility as an International Strategy, Springer, Heidelberg.
Kline, J 2010, Ethics for International Business: Decision-Making in a Global Political Economy, Routledge, New York.
Majer, C 2011, The silent killers of productivity and profit, T+D, 65(2), 62.
Manoj, K 2012, Corporate social responsibility: Contemporary issues in India, Adhyayan Publishers & Distributors, New Delhi.
Urip, S 2010, CSR Strategies: Corporate Social Responsibility for a Competitive Edge in Emerging Markets, John Wiley and Sons, New York.
Weiss, W 2011, Building morale, motivating, and empowering employees, Supervision, 72(9), 23.