Good Essay About Sony Corporation-Critical Essay
The set of practices as well as behaviors that firms adopt towards their environment both internally and externally refers to as the Corporate Social Responsibility. It is a philosophy that has evolved over the years considerably and has been integrated well into the practices of the business. With the technological advancements, the electronic sector has become largely diversified including: computer hardware, consumer electronics, telecomm equipment, and much more. Due to this diversity, it has become imperative for the businesses to carefully examine the scope of corporate social responsibility. As there are innumerable possibilities in this sector and the stakeholder engagement at all the level of business has increased, the importance of CSR has been reinforced.
The needs and issues of the electronic sector are highly dynamic which is why there is high variation of how the practice of CSR can be integrated. Social responsibility of a corporation has been widely defined with completely different perspectives. From a narrow viewpoint, this concept was initially defined by the famous Nobel-winning economist, Milton Friedman (1970) stating that “the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits.” But now, the philosophy is being considered from ethical, economic as well as corporate citizenship perspectives which means that that sustainability has become the prime focus rather than generating profit by corporations. The performance of corporations is not analyzed by statistics and profitability, rather, the impact of the corporation’s practices on its stakeholders and environment at large are considered.
Sony Corporation (Sony) is a Japan-based multinational corporation, being the largest manufacturer of videos, electronics, communications and IT products around the globe. The headquarter of Sony is situated in Tokyo but the business unit is located in the United States of America. Despite representing a wide range of businesses, the company still has a global uniqueness that none other could imitate. The aim of the company is to exploit this uniqueness in an aggressive manner through the convergence strategy so that it can reach the customers by touching them emotionally.
The corporation takes its responsibilities very seriously and recognizes that there is both a direct as well as an indirect impact of its business on the society. The fundamental duty of the corporation towards the society is to ensure pursuing the enhancement of value for the corporation with the help of both innovation and sound practices. The latter require that whenever decisions are made, business takes into consideration the interests of its stakeholders, which include its customers, employees, business partners, and the local communities at large.
Sony focuses on seven key areas while planning and implementing the CSR initiatives including: corporate governance, compliance, human resources, quality and services, responsible sourcing, environment and community. In all these areas, the company has a dual goal of not only enhancing the corporate value but also making sure that the community in which they operate is strengthened so that a sustainable society can be shaped.
As there are different regulations in every country, Sony requires adopting different strategies according to the requirements of the host country. In 1998, the company passed the Global Policy on Occupational Health and Safety. It ensures that all the requirements of different laws in this regard are fully met and maintains a standard with respect to the health and safety of its workforce. Sony has been very careful in complying with the environmental legislations as it not only manages the use of chemicals but also controls the amount that is released in water, air, and soil so that environment is not harmed. Sony is using three different classes of chemicals but it takes complete measures so that the environment is not harmed and the government regulations are also fully complied upon.
Sony is engaged with environmental NGOs actively to implement its CSR activities. It joined the Climate Savers Program in July 2006, which is a partner of the World Wide Fund for Nature for the purpose of saving the climate by reducing the emission of the greenhouse gases. By July 2014, 28 corporations around the globe have become partners to the Climate Savers Program. Sony has been fully committed to reduce the greenhouse gas emission by 7% from all its sites globally between the year 2000 and 2010 while also lowering the consumption of energy for its products. For years beyond 2011, Sony announced climate change targets in November 2009 which included: achieving reduction in CO2 emissions by 30% by the end of 2015; and reducing the consumption of power per product by 30% by year 2015 from 2008.
Sony is working in union with the World Photography Organization, along with other NPOs in collaboration for the Youth on Assignment program. The Youth of Assignment is a program that tends to generate awareness of the various challenges confronted by the different sectors of global community. The YoA documents the work done all around the globe by NPOs and provides training ground to photographers and videographers so that they can be given an opportunity to achieve their dreams. Further, they can also use this platform to promote global issues and become a source to instigate social change.
In 2011, the online-entertainment service of Sony was attacked by hackers but the company did not find any evidence that the hackers had accessed any personal information. But recently in 2014, the computer network of the company was hacked. The spokesman for Sony said that both the PlayStation Network and Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., were not disturbed by this process and only the IT matter needed to be investigated. Since the attack, there has been a massive leak of company information which is also contradicting to some extent to the information that Sony discloses in its annual reports.
In the recent document released by Gawker, negative feedback about the company has been found. The employees seem to be less satisfied and are criticizing on the business activities. The main concern of the employees was that company seems to take little risks of producing innovative films and rather stick to the Adam Sandler movies. Even one of the employees questions why Sony has never produced something like “The Hunger Games?” One of the employees suggested, “Let’s raise the bar a little on the films we produce, and inspire employees that they are working on the next Social Network.”
The massive leak at the Sony Pictures has revealed many internal documents and amongst them was salary data. By comparing this data with the other American companies, it has been found that there is a gender pay gap at Sony. Amongst the 17 employees who earn more than $1 million, there is only one female employee. The stats of these 17 executives also reveal racial discrimination as amongst these 15 are white including the only female, one is Indian and one is black. Further, when the salaries of the co-presidents of production were compared having the same job, it was identified that Michael De Luca was making almost a million dollars more than Hannah Minghella. The astonishing thing was that De Luca only gained this title since 2013 while Minghella got this title in 2010 after she had an experience of working with this company for 10 years.
A very awkward situation arose due to this hack that revealed very personal health information present in the documents of Sony. The information relates to more than three dozen employees, their spouses as well as their children. This information even included details of diagnosis of an employee’s child having special needs and even the treatment received by the child was recorded. Releasing the health information can become a highly damaging material for the company. Health information is highly private information and the level of details present in these documents is unnecessary and can become a nightmare for the employee and high family if revealed publically.
Considering both the positive aspects and practices of the company towards the general community as well as the terrifyingly negative practices, Sony must update its CSR strategies so that it can fully cater the needs of its stakeholders. In this regard, the most important thing is to reverse the impact of negative impact of outsourcing to its local employees. It is shifting the manufacturing operations to India for cheaper labor. But it can ensure that its local employees would not suffer from involuntary redundancy by either helping them find a job elsewhere or assisting them to find a new position at the company.
With the growth in the electronic sector, huge amounts of e-waste are being produced. Though, informally, there are recovery recyclers in the sector but their disposal methods are not socially responsible. Sony can help the recyclers and provide them state-of-art training so that they can segregate the hazardous part of the e-waste.
Being a company driven by research and having a large percentage of females in its workforce, it must work on provide training to the females regarding self-defense. The female employees need to be trained to handle situations like robbery and sexual harassment accordingly while the company must also make sure that it trains its male workers regarding issues of gender discrimination. Sony has been criticized of being gender biased according to the revealed documents in the hack.
The biggest problem these days is the responsible content use and data privacy. It has become a routine to store confidential and sensitive data in the computer networks and the company has even experienced how this can hurt by the revealed information by the hackers. This is not only harming to the company but also breach the confidence of trust of its employees, and even customers. One of the core component of the CSR policy of Sony is to gain consumer trust by protecting its data. Considering that the company has failed to protect the private data of its own employees, the customers would definitely lose trust. The company must design its policies so that it can ensure privacy of its customers, while protecting the internal data by designing programs to protect its own computer network from viruses so that the human rights cannot be violated by data abuse. Further, it also needs to engage its employees in planning for these designs which would not only boost their confidence but also inspire them.
The employees of Sony feel underrepresented and specially the female population. Sony should take steps for the welfare of its workforce as a committed workforce is the source of competitive edge for the company. First of all, it should provide the employees more opportunities to discuss their concerns and let them take initiatives to innovate so that they enjoy their work. But more important is to make sure that the company removes gender discrimination at all the workforce levels. There should be equal employment opportunity and neither the women nor the black population should be discriminated against.
Acuna, Kirsten. 2014. 'SONY EMPLOYEES: Why Are We Still Paying Adam Sandler?'. Business Insider. http://www.businessinsider.com/sony-employees-dont-like-adam-sandler-movies-2014-12.
Copeland, Libby. 2014. 'Sony Pictures Hack Reveals Stark Gender Pay Gap'. Blog. Slate. http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/12/05/sony_pictures_hack_reveals_gender_pay_gap_at_the_entertainment_company_and.html.
CSR Reporting 2014. 2014. Sony Corporation. http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/csr_report/issues/CSR2014E_PDF_all.pdf.
Kang, Jingoo. 2012. 'The Relationship between Corporate Diversification And Corporate Social Performance'. Strat. Mgmt. J. 34 (1): 94-109. doi:10.1002/smj.2005.
Pettypiece, Shannon. 2014. 'Sony Hack Reveals Health Details On Employees, Children'. Bloomberg. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-12-11/sony-hack-reveals-health-details-on-employees-and-their-children.
Rosenblatt, Seth. 2014. '13 Revelations from the Sony Hack'. CNET. http://www.cnet.com/news/13-revelations-from-the-sony-hack/.
Sakoui, Anousha. 2014. 'Sony Corp. Computers Said Hacked In Possible Blackmail'. Bloomberg. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-11-24/sony-corp-computers-said-hacked-in-possible-blackmail.
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