The Business Of Ethics And Corporate Social Responsibility Essay Sample
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an initiative by a company to give back to the society. The company looks for a unique void in the society and tries to cover it for the people. This is a way of paying back to the society. The company realizes that it is due to the efforts of the society that it is successful, and it would wish to pay back by having an initiative that will benefit the society. Some companies who try to gain favor from the community by engaging in activities are continually abusing this. It is also a marketing strategy because the company will be well known by the community. This is why business ethics and CSR go hand in hand. A company should have well-stipulated plan as to why it is engaging in CSR. This should be an initiative that will mutually benefit both the society and the company. Some companies measure CSR by the benefits they gain from the company. This is not ethical because a company is supposed to willingly give back to the society without any expectations or hidden agenda to the society.
Main principles of corporate social responsibility (CSR)
These are some of the principles that a company should first consider before engaging in such activities. The first principle is the legal compliance principle. The organization is expected to comply with all applicable international, written, effected, declared and specific laws and regulations. This differs depending on the location of the company. Each company is expected to work within these rules. The second principle is adherence to customary international principles. When setting corporate social responsibility, there are executive regulations, declarations, decisions, covenants, and guidelines that should be adhered to internationally (Ditlev-Simonsen and Westop, 2013, p. 143).
The third principle is respecting all stakeholders. Every business entity has different stakeholders who play different roles towards the success of the company. For any CSR event to be effected, none of them should go against the stakeholders' principles. They all should be in agreement with the idea before it is established. If the company goes against one or more of the stakeholders' principle, the CSR will not be successful because they will pull out of the idea and might not be received well by the society. The fourth CSR principle is the transparency principle. The company should accurately, clearly and comprehensively declare its activities and policies. All the affected parties should be in agreement with the idea. The motive of the CSR idea should have an explanation before it starts off. The company should give an explanation any wrong outcomes to the society and all the parties involved. If the ideas are not transparent, it should be done away with. The fifth principle is respect for human. Since CSR aims at giving back to the society, all activities should not endanger human life. This will be risky and might give a wrong impression of the society (Ditlev-Simonsen and Westop, 2013, p. 146). CSR should cater for the environment. It is unfair to favor human life and to destroy the environment at the same time. This means that the CSR initiative should be both favorable to the environment and the people living in it. The five principles define the context of cooperate social responsibility. If the idea does not fit into the five principles, the company should do away with it and consider another idea which will be beneficial to the society (Needle, 2010, p. 296).
Discusses how CSR activities might influence customers
Customers play a big role in the company. The company relies on the purchases of the customers to make profits. If a company is performing or doing well in the market, it is because many people are buying the product. In order to attract more new and retain old customers, some companies use CSR as their main tool. They create an initiative that will be beneficial to them and market the company as well. Customers form part of the society in which the company intends to impress. There are other companies who would also who to attract customers by giving back to the society. These are the companies who would use this initiative to advertise their products to the society. This is an in9taitive that has helped new companies have many customers. For the established companies that are doing well in the market, they use this initiative as a way of thanking the customers (Sarbutts, 2003, p. 345). They do start initiatives that will be beneficial to them. This way, customers will be more fulfilled by knowing that the brand which they use most is helping the society in return. This will help in creating customer loyalty (Ditlev-Simonsen and Westop, 2013, p. 144).
In order for CSR to be ethical and accepted by the society, the company should follow the three major dimensions of CSR. They are the social dimension, the environmental dimension, and the economic dimension (Farache and Perks, 2009, p. 241). Two of the dimensions have a direct impact on the customers. A company should think of an initiative that will benefit the environment. It should not be harmful in any way otherwise; the customers will not accept it. This means that the company will also not be accepted by the customers. Socially, the company should think of a nice gesture to benefit the environment. Some companies have sponsored non-governmental organizations that fight for the welfare of the society. This way the community will benefit from the diverse actions from the non-governmental organizations. Economically, the company should set aside enough capital for CSR. It should not exploit consumers.
Ditlev-Simonsen and Wenstøp (2013, p. 144) say, “A majority of people want companies to take broader social responsibility (Mbare, 2007), but this attitude is not reflected in consumers’ purchasing patterns. This is a disturbing fact. When shopping, it is the wallet that decides (Devinney et al., 2006). We tend to buy the least expensive products, irrespective of the potential environmental or societal impacts.”
The above statement implies that consumers have a role to play in promoting corporate social responsibility in business. Consumers are supposed to question methods of products even if they provide the most affordable products. The truth is that some of the most affordable products have the most negative impact on the environment.
When thinking of CSR, ethics should come first; the company should not be selfish and think of benefiting itself. Customers play a big role in the growth and success of the company. If they find out that the CSR gesture was not genuine, they might think of going against the company, which can bring it to a downfall. Many companies use CSR as a marketing tool. This has worked for other companies, but the company should also try other marketing activities so that the company can benefit from all sides. CSR initiatives are practiced within or around the target markets. These are the customers, which help in the growth of the company and should also be the ones to benefit from such initiatives either directly or indirectly.
Ditlev-Simonsen, C. D. and Wenstøp, F., 2013. How stakeholders view stakeholders as CSR motivators. Social Responsibility Journal, 9(1), 137-147.
Farache, F. and Perks, K. J., 2010. CSR advertisements: a legitimacy tool?. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 15(3), 235-248.
Needle, D. (2010). Business in context: An introduction to business and its environment. Andover: South-Western Cengage Learning.
Sarbutts, N., 2003. Can SMEs “do” CSR? A practitioner's view of the ways small-and medium-sized enterprises are able to manage reputation through corporate social responsibility. Journal of Communication Management, 7(4), 340-347.