Strategic management refers to the high-level of management that is involved in the decision-making process, implementation of goals and objectives, and in the allocation of resources in the organization. Some of the decisions made by strategic managers are related to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which has to be undertaken by the organization.
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The film “Class Action” depicts a case of corporate negligence where Argo, an auto manufacturer, releases faulty cars into the market. The film is about a case in court brought by plaintiffs injured by defective cars. A client of Argo, who was in a wheelchair, was blown up by a vehicle he bought. There were other explosions related to vehicles bought from Argo, and the executive knew of this.
Argo owed the social responsibility in ensuring that the vehicles they manufactured were of high quality and met the set standards. Jed is representing the client who was blown up while Margaret is the defense attorney for the company. Granville observes that “it is clear where the case is heading, but what hold us are the legal process that plays out and the exchanges between the attorneys” (67).
This is a case where we have a father on the one hand and a daughter on the other (Class Action). It brings out the old man with his legal intellect against a young and flowery lawyer, who wants to use the case as a springboard to more cases in the city.
Jed has a lot of confidence and mastery of the law, which he inherited from his father. Schwartz states that “Margaret is an assertive professional who knows where and when to hit. The director of the film makes it clear why the case is believable” (56).
In the world of business, ethics are the acceptable and more appropriate behaviors and decision-making process that respects all the players in the industry. The executive of Argo failed their clients by behaving unethically. “Class Action” raises various ethical issues. They include conflict of interest, attorney fees, the attorney-witness rule, and soliciting.
As regards the reason why CSR is important, the following can be observed: it enables the organization to employ and retain suitable and qualified specialists. Also, another remarkable aspect of CSR is the fact that it provides employment opportunities to local people.
This amounts to giving back to society and increases the per capita income of these households. All this helps to improve the corporate brand, and the executive of Argo failed to achieve this. They targeted profitability at the expense of the security for its clients.
Since strategic managers usually show a precedent of what should be done in the organization, It is important for them to behave ethically. It has also been observed that unethical behavior is practiced by companies that are involved in CSR.
For example, Schwartz states that “The auto manufacturer in the film utilizes a “bean-counting” approach to risk management, whereby the projections of actuaries for probable deaths and injured car-owners is weighed against the cost of re-tooling and re-manufacturing the car without the defect. The resulting decision is to keep the car as-is to positively benefit short term profitability.” (48).
Strategic managers can behave ethically by ensuring that the organization is offering the right products and services; the clients are not overcharged and that the products are of the right quality and quantity. Business ethics also ensure that there is fair competition, there are fair business practices, and there are honesty and mutual respect among the players (Granville 87).
In conclusion, two questions arise regarding CSR. These are:
- Is it profitable for companies to engage in CSR?
- Should Argo pull all the defective vehicles to reduce injuries to clients?
Class Action. Dir. Michael Apted: Interscope Communications, USA. 1991. Film.
Granville, Brigitte. The Processes and Practices of Fair Trade: Trust, Ethics and Governance, Washington, DC: Routledge, 2012. Print.
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Schwartz, Mark. Corporate Social Responsibility: An Ethical Approach, Washington, DC: Broadview Press, 2011. Print.