Corporate Social Responsibility (Business Ethics) - Essay Example

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Corporate social responsibility is an important but "evolving" concept and thus while it may be easier to define it; it is certainly difficult to explain the motives of a company behind adoption of this strategy. It is believed that firms are not always interested in long term image enhancement that results from CSR but some are simply looking for immediate financial gains accruing from spending on community projects…
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Corporate Social Responsibility (Business Ethics)
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Download file to see previous pages Barnard (1938) had similar argument in mind when he said: "It seems to me inevitable that the struggle to maintain co-operation among men should as surely destroy some men morally as battle destroys them physically." (p.278) Such moral beliefs and values gave birth to the organized concept of CSR.
Interestingly not everyone feels the same way. While many support the concept of CSR, there are some thinkers including the well-known economist, Milton Friedman who did not agree with the idea of investing in community work. We shall discuss Friedman later in the paper with greater detail.
Ethics has always been an integral part of the way human beings are expected to think and behave. For this reason, it has entered the field of business and commerce as well. Many philosophers have posed the question: "why does a person behave ethically". In the same vein, we can ask, why must a firm behave ethically The answer can come from religious, moral as well as purely capitalist sources. It is believed that man is expected to behave ethically because it is the "divine command", one's duty, or in the words of Kant, an action is considered right only when it is based on a sense of duty. Hence there can be many reasons for explaining the expectation of ethical approach. People like Benjamin Franklin who were more morally inclined felt that "business is the pursuit of virtue". That is however a very simplistic way of explaining the expectation of ethics and may not be easily accepted by capitalistic circles. Jackall (1988) on the other hand feels that there is no real morality existing in the firm. The morality we find in a modern firm is based on "that right thing" which people above you want from you.
Corporate social responsibility, while it may be immensely critical, doesn't always come with a serious concern for better image in the country. It is usually connected with a desire to perform better in the financial area. In other words, financial gains are an important concern when CSR is being adopted. In many cases, it has been expected to lead to higher market share. We must make it clear here that these are expectations and actual effects may differ from firm to firm. Some studies have some that in many firms, managers are more likely to adopt and integrate CSR in company's motto and policies if this investment is likely to result in monetary benefits. Managers are willing to invest in CSR related projects because it is expected to result in better financial health and greater monetary situation for the firm. Lydenberg et al. (1986) maintain that "Companies fight hard for even a small percentage gain in market share for their products. If and when corporate managers become convinced that their company's social record affects market share, they will be forced to take social initiatives seriously."
Social responsibility has also become a buzzword because of the availability of large variety of similar goods. When a product comes into the market, it has to fight very hard for consumer's attention because there are several other rival goods competing for the same. A marketing and design consultant (Neuborne, 1991) states: "There was a time when you bought a product just for its price or performance...but with the number of products ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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