Arguably, Wesfarmers does not communicate effectively to its staff on their CSR plan. On analyzing the company’s website, it is clear that their corporate social responsibility is not included in as much detail as it deserves (Wesfarmers 2016). Additionally, through their webpage, access to their reports is easier and an analysis of these reports confirms that the company does not pay much attention to their CSR. Their 2005 investment briefing, which is the only investment briefing available through their site, defines their CSR plan as, “the greatest social contribution made by corporations is through the goods and services they provide, the wealth they create and the employment they generate” (Goyder 2005).
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It is crucial to point out that the definition of the CSR by the company is not the problem. Rather, it is the idea that the company has failed to adequately inform the whole organization of its perception of CSR and its role.
From the definition, the CSR is more about the opportunities that the company presents to its employees and the quality of goods and services it provides. According to Mayes (2015), CSR, unlike what is commonly believed, is not about what charities a company has engaged in. However, Calkin (2016), despite recognizing the different definitions of CSR, argues that CSR should be viewed as a non-profit activity for public relations and build a healthy relationship based on loyalty with the clientele.
It is crucial to state that public relations can be forged well through the good provision of services, outstanding customer relations, and excellent employee-managerial relationships. However, loyalty cannot be based solely on these principles. The human characteristic is attracted to events, people, and companies that appear ‘human’ because the events, people, and corporations show some human emotions such as pity, sympathy, and grief. It is for this particular reason that many companies go online and contribute to the devastating news that affects environment, humanity, and wildlife, among other things (Anholon et al. 2016).
Having said so, it is evident that the Wesfarmers Company has failed to inspire communication between management, employees, and stakeholders. Thus, the company has, to some extent, failed in the public relations activities. It is arguable that public relations, both as a department and as an individual, acts as a facilitator, a listener, and opens relevant communication channels (Villagra et al. 2016).
It is the work of the PR department in Wesfarmers to facilitate the training of the employees on the company’s CSR policy, thereby ensuring that the policy is not only implemented, but also serves the purpose intended. Secondly, it is the duty of the same department to listen to the values and trends in the industry to ensure that they use PR as a whole to their advantage. Lastly, it is the PR department’s duty to inspire communication. By inspiring communication between all relevant parties, the department will ensure that the organization moves forward as one unit.
There are several things that Wesfarmers can do to ensure maximum communication between all relevant parties. The first is to open up different channels of communication. The communication system should also be flexible to ensure that information flows freely and from all possible directions. Last, the PR department has to make sure that the public is aware of their CSR policy by posting it strategically on the web page.
Anholon, R, Quelhas, OG, Leal Filho, W, de Souza Pinto, J, & Feher, A 2016, ‘Assessing corporate social responsibility concepts used by a Brazilian manufacturer of airplanes: A case study at Embraer’, Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 135, pp. 740-749.
Calkin, S 2016, ‘Globalizing ‘girl power’: Corporate social responsibility and transnational business initiatives for gender equality’, Globalizations, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 158-172.
Goyder, R, 2005, ‘Investor Briefing’, Wesfarmers, Sydney, Australia.
Mayes, R 2015, ‘A social license to operate: corporate social responsibility, local communities and the constitution of global production networks’, Global Networks, vol. 15, pp. S109-S128.
Villagra, N, Cárdaba, MM, & Ruiz San Román, JA 2016, ‘Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility: re-assessment of classical theories about fit between CSR actions and corporate activities’, Communication & Society, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 133-146.
Wesfarmers 2016, Home: Delivering value today and tomorrow. Web.