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Business Ethics - Term Paper Example

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This paper "Business Ethics" examines the linkage between company’s effort to craft and execute a winning strategy and its social responsibility – the company’s duties to conduct its activities and demonstrate responsible behavior as a citizen, attending to the needs of all the stakeholders…
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Business Ethics
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Download file to see previous pages However, as big corporations are being washed out with the erosion of public/stakeholder trust due to unethical and socially irresponsible behavior, today, corporate strategists realize that a perceptible commitment to ethics and corporate social responsibility (CSR) has clear implications for the corporate bottom line, and integrating it as a part of corporate strategy would significantly improve business performance. [Hopkins, 2003; Houck and William, 1996]

In doing so, it shall attempt to analyze what ethics and social responsibility mean in the corporate strategy context, the debates surrounding the relevance of social responsibility, and also examines the significance of ethical and socially responsible behavior by corporations for survival and success. It shall also look at ways to incorporate ethics and social responsibility into corporate strategies for ensuring the long-term success of corporations.

The environmental movement of the 1980s and 1990s, which exposed many unethical corporate practices by companies such as Nestle, Shell and the rising cases of corporate scandals in the recent years signifying unethical and irresponsible behavior by top officials, such as those at Enron, WorldCom etc., have brought about the significance of ethics and social responsibility as a legitimate topic in the formulation and implementation of business strategy. [Hopkins, 2003] While the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, as management imperatives, business ethics, and corporate social responsibility is distinct concepts, though with inevitable overlaps. It may be worthwhile to clearly understand the two precepts before attempting to analyze their significance in creating winning strategies.

Ethics in business, an age-old concept, advocates ethically appropriate behavior by businesses to the stakeholders directly concerned with the business enterprise, viz. managers, consumers, investors/owners, and employees. [Hopkins, 2003] Ethical behavior in business extends to all segments of business management at the enterprise level including finance and accounting, human resources management, sales and marketing, production and intellectual property. While a consensus on the definition has not been achieved, corporate social responsibility is stated to be "concerned with treating the stakeholders of the firm ethically or in a responsible manner." [Hopkins, 2003; p.1] Corporate social responsibility, a more inclusive concept business ethics, extends beyond the enterprise level to all stakeholders, what Hopkins describes as, "the seven azimuths", within which the enterprises trade and operate viz.: owners/investors (shareholders or stockholders); management; employees; customers; the natural environment; the wider community (including government); contractors/suppliers. [Hopkins, 2003, p. 3] CSR as a winning business strategy concerns with the responsibility of the company to each of these seven groups; it may include the responsibility to competitors as well. Aspects of social responsibility include investment in community outreach, creation, and maintenance of employment, employee relations, ethical competition, human rights, financial performance, and environmental responsibility. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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