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Corporate social responsibility and corporate governance in transitioning economies Problem Solution Essay

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a critical component in the development of a vibrant relationship between an organization and its stakeholders. Hence, organizations are supposed to be proactive in engaging the immediate environment on matters regarding the welfare of the environment.

In particular, corporate social responsibility is supposed to create a balance between profitability and the overall wellbeing of the targeted market. While the concept of corporate social responsibility is broad and sometimes complex depending on the method used to approach it, this paper will largely dwell on the analysis of the modern issues that often affect business organizations and their practices.

In particular, the paper will attempt to offer a detailed discussion of the socially irresponsible, unethical or illegal activities that usually bedevil business organizations even as they seek to boost their profitability.

It is prudent to note that there are three main areas of concern that are instrumental when exploring the concept of corporate social responsibility. These are the management of a company, corporate culture and the competitive environment of a business entity.

The essay will begin by exploring the concept of corporate social responsibility using the example of AstraZeneca Plc. In particular, the essay will explore the employees deployed by AstraZeneca since they are part and parcel of the company. The analysis will focus on the safety, health, and environment (SHE) program.

Although there are negative practices that the company may have committed in the past, it is profound to note that there are good practices that amount to corporate social responsibility courtesy by the company. The information represented in this essay was obtained from stakeholders who have been given the duty of undertaking the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of the company.

AstraZeneca Plc. was incepted way back in 1999 (Turner 2005, p. 69). This was made possible due to the merger between Astra AB and Zeneca Group Plc. Most of the activities of the company take place in the United Kingdom. Hence, the operations of the company are centered in the United Kingdom. The company was formed with the broad objective of generating long-term and sustainable growth.

While profitability is the key goal of the company, the stakeholders have also been the center of attention of the company. It is vital to note that stakeholders include even the targeted market that comprise of customers and their diverse needs.

The company clearly understands that the process of production does not stop at the point of sale. It goes beyond sales and marketing. Hence, corporate social responsibility goes beyond making profits and leading the market.

At present, AstraZeneca Plc is one of the most competitive pharmaceutical companies. It has a strong focus on research, development and innovation. The latter are required because its commercial and manufacturing operations depend on the aforementioned aspects bearing in mind that there is a growing competition in the marketing of pharmaceutical products.

The company manufactures medicinal products for treating various ailments. In addition, its operations are not localized in Europe. As already, mentioned, United Kingdom acts as its headquarters. However, its activities are scattered in over one hundred destinations across the world. In terms of the manufacturing process, it takes place in twenty nations. The company has a workforce of about 54000 employees.

Corporate Social Responsibility in transition economies

Economies that are in a state of transition are largely considered to be in the developmental stage. Nevertheless, even the developed states may still experience transition economies especially if there are major economic adjustments. In the case of AstraZeneca Plc., corporate social responsibility can be attained by putting the right efforts and initiatives in place so that sustainable development can be effectively implemented.

This implies that when a company takes corporate social responsibility seriously, it significantly contributes towards corporate governance. The organization assumes that sustainable development is the ability of a specified economic operation to meet the needs of both the present and future markets.

At present, this business organization is putting in place a lot of energy in order to boost its corporate social responsibility fundamentals. Besides, it is aiming at establishing suitable techniques for implementing and regulating the efficacy of the Corporate Social Responsibility.

The most sensitive stakeholder that needs to be put into consideration is the employee of the company. The SHE program should be directed towards the employees of the organization. In any case, aligning employees with the corporate social responsibility program is the most important aspect that the company should embark on.

Stakeholder theorists often claim that the management of companies ought to make sure that shareholders’ interests are enhanced at all times. Unfortunately, this is not the case at AstraZeneca Plc. There are no clear guidelines that have been put in place by the county in order to take care of this vital need. In addition, other stakeholders or groups that work hand in hand with the company.

Areas of Corporate Social Responsibility include the environment, social welfare, and economic wellbeing. These responsibilities are critical fundamentals of the corporate responsibility of any given company or business entity. In some cases, the environmental sustainability largely lays a lot of emphasis on the effects occasioned by people on the immediate environment.

In addition, social sustainability takes care of various issues that directly or indirectly impact the society as a whole. When the latter is put into consideration, it brings into perspective the fact that AstraZeneca plc is yet to put into consideration the safety environmental rules regarding emission of toxic materials into the environment (Boerner 2011, p.34).

It is profound to underscore the fact that the process of manufacturing pharmaceutical products usually leads to massive generation of waste products in form of chemical wastes. Therefore, it is necessary for the management of the company to formulate policies guarding waste control and management both inside their factories and immediately after being released.

Adequate management of pollution clearly amounts to corporate governance. The ideals behind corporate responsibility of a company entails various operations such as employees’ working conditions, environmental protection, production of safe products, ethical sales and marketing ideals as well as activities that add value to a business organization.

Since Considering AstraZeneca Plc operates within the pharmaceutical industry, social and corporate responsibility cannot be ignored at all costs.

How can corporate social responsibility be integrated in the operations of AstraZeneca Plc?

In order to integrate the ideals of the corporate social responsibility of this company in environmental management and safety of stakeholders, there are three fundamental areas that must be addressed by the company’s leadership.

These include the competitive environment of the business, corporate culture, and also the nature of leadership of the company. Integration of corporate social responsibility within an organization begins with the leadership that has been put in place.

For example, the entire management of the organization should be actively involved in all the activities that involve corporate social responsibility (Geraghty 2010, p.44).

When it comes to the corporate mission and corporate culture, it is evident that AstraZeneca does not have a properly defined mission statement. However, the company has always confirmed that it is one of the leading pharmaceutical organizations across the globe.

Irrespective of market leadership, the absence of a specific corporate culture especially in the mission and vision statements is a major ingredient towards failure on matters related to corporate social responsibility. There is no doubt that the company has done quite well in reaching out pharmaceutical markets outside Europe.

The 20 manufacturing plants spread across various geographical locations is indeed a vivid indicator that the company stands a better chance of not merely making super profits, but also being a leader in the corporate social responsibility circles (Dhaliwal et al 2011, p.73).

As it stands now, the company has a competitive business portfolio and therefore its business environment is highly competitive. As already pointed out, it is one of the outstanding market leaders in terms of profitability and of course a large market base.

Monitoring and evaluation of the corporate social responsibly and corporate governance

One of the reasons why this company has failed to implement its CSR operations is that it does not have an adequate and effective mechanism for measuring, assessing and reporting corporate responsibility activities. The presence of heavy bureaucracy within the organization has immensely contributed towards poor reporting systems.

The company is currently struggling to develop slim and efficient systems that can expedite the process of social corporate responsibility reporting. Nonetheless, it is vital for company to develop appropriate systems that can be used to measure various aspects that impact the corporate social responsibility (Cramer & Bergmans 2003, p.76).


The proposed alternatives and solutions that can be put into place by AstraZeneca have been briefly discussed under the recommendations. To begin with, the company ought to develop an effective system for monitoring, assessing and reporting all the corporate social responsibility operations.

Since the organization does not have a clearly defined mission statement, it is crucial to devise a suitable mission statement. This will map out the much needed corporate culture needed in this organization. The company should also diversify its operations in various areas such as genetics and the development of new and improved vaccines.

. This will be instrumental in lowering the current competition from other market rivals such as GlaxoSmithKline. Some market competitors are doing quite well in terms of the corporate social responsibility framework (Boeger, Murray & Villiers 2008, p.37).

It is also highly recommended for the management of this company to consider sustainability reporting as a corporate organization. Most of the transition economies such as that of Russia are sometimes difficult to predict in terms of performance. For example, a transiting economy can easily be affected by the sharp fluctuations in the foreign exchange rates.

Since such fluctuations are usually inevitable, it is upon the competing companies to create and clearly define sustainability reporting so that all the activities or operations that need to be carried out can be brought into a sharp focus (Babin & Nicholson 2011, p.48).


To recap it all, it is vital to reaffirm that the corporate social responsibility is a critical area of operation of any business entity. It is one of the most practical ways through which organizations can participate in governance. For instance, waste management, pollution control and basic development and improvement of local infrastructure are some of the key operations that can be integrated in the corporate social responsibility.


Babin, R & Nicholson, B 2011, “How green is my outsourcer? Measuring sustainability in global IT outsourcing”, Strategic Outsourcing: an International Journal, 4(1) 47-66.

Boeger, N., Murray, R., & Villiers, C 2008, Perspectives on corporate social responsibility, Glos, UK, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.

Boerner, H 2011, “Global corporate accounting language is expanding-through regulations, mandates, and voluntary adoptions”, Corporate Finance Review 16(2) 32-36.

Cramer, J., & Bergmans, F 2003, Learning about corporate social responsibility the Dutch experience, IOS Press, Amsterdam.

Dhaliwal D, Li O, Tsang A & Yang, Y 2011, “Voluntary nonfinancial disclosure and the cost of equity capital: the initiation of corporate social responsibility reporting”, The Accounting Review, 86(1)59-100.

Geraghty, L 2010, “Sustainability reporting— measure to manage, manage to change, keeping good companies”, 141-147.

Turner, T N 2005, Vault guide to the top pharmaceuticals and biotech employers, Vault, Inc, New York.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Corporate social responsibility and corporate governance in transitioning economies." June 9, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/corporate-social-responsibility-and-corporate-governance-in-transitioning-economies/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Corporate social responsibility and corporate governance in transitioning economies'. 9 June.

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