Corporate Social Responsibility: A Force for Good

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Business as a Force for Good

While it is true that the sole reason for business existence is to make a profit, businesses are incorporated to provide certain goods and services. This bridges the gap existing in the society. Businesses are the basis of prosperous society; corporations create resources that allow social welfare and development. They have an opportunity to use their scale and expertise to shape the global systems and mitigate complex problems. The transactions between businesses, society and the public good thrive on a wide range of ethical, social and legal issues. Nonetheless, there has been a discussion within capitalism centering on outlining what businesses exactly are and what are their obligations to the society as well as many stakeholders participating in business systems including customers, shareholders, employees, suppliers and communities (Crane et al., 2015: Crane et al., 2015). Revolving around this discussion, this paper aims at proving that business is a force for good not only for business owners and shareholders but also to the society at large.

The Focus on Serving Customers

The primary focus of any business is on serving customers. The activities that businesses engage in, they do it for the ultimate benefit of the consumers. Among the stakeholders of any business, customers surpass others because they are the main drivers of profit. Without customers to subscribe to an entity's offerings, its objectives are bound to fail. For this reason, businesses have continuously and significantly invested in building and maintaining an effective customer-organization relationship. Such relationship is not only based on the provision of goods and services, but there are also other activities that businesses engage in aimed at enhancing the overall consumer and society welfare. Such activities and programs include corporate social responsibility (CSR) whereby an entity takes more deliberate actions by positioning social matters within its business domains where strategic, operational and investment decisions are made (Samuelson & Birchard, 2003).

Social Responsibility of Business

Social responsibility of business in a free-enterprise system aims at promoting desirable societal benefits such as providing employment, eliminating discrimination, avoiding pollution, and contributing to the communal programs (Friedman, 2007). Critics have argued that social corporate responsibility programs are merely for publicity because businesses are not humans to have responsibilities. However, corporations are artificial persons with artificial responsibilities such as social conscience to its surroundings. Corporations through their executives undertake social activities for the betterment of society as a way of giving back to the community from which it derives its profits and inputs (Freeman, 2010). Corporations rely on the society for its well-being and survival, hence the need for reciprocating mutual relationship. As such, it can only be fair to state that business is a force of good driving social transformation.

Corporate Social Responsibility and Value Creation

Corporate social responsibility increases awareness of the role of business in society and the importance of acting in harmony with social norms and values. CSR ensures that an organization conducts its activities in line with social expectations and needs, helping the firm identify itself with the society it is operating in (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2014: Samuelson & Birchard, 2003). Businesses that are perceived to be sensitive to the needs of society gain acceptability in the society as well as its products. In addition to enhancing the overall value of its customers and society, such an entity gains a competitive edge over competitors. This will enhance the returns of a corporation which will effectively increase the income of employees. Increased income will improve their welfare including purchasing power and society at large. The fruits of improved performance of a firm are usually reflected among all stakeholders, subsequently driving the goodness in all domains including society.

Listening to Stakeholders and Responsible Business Practices

Effective CSR enables an entity to listen to its corporate stakeholders which is not a mere managerial skill but a competitive necessity. Listening to stakeholders enables a corporation to take more responsibility for the way its business decisions affect the quality of people's lives. Even though the discussions about competitive positioning and cost reduction are routine, listening entities analyze the implications of an organization's actions to employees, society, and other constituents (Spitzeck & Hansen, 2010). To corporations, listening, understanding, and responding to the interests of various stakeholders is not just about being responsible or charitable; it is part of thinking about business activities in a way that recognizes the interdependence of commercial and social objectives, and it encourages executives to address them together (Calton & Kurland, 1996). Consequently, CSR will not allow corporations to treat employees as machines but will view them as an integral component of a corporation.

Corporate Actions Within the Regulatory Framework

Some critics argue that certain corporations have grown to be evil rather than the good they were intended. They argue that these corporations are to blame for particular events such as the financial crisis of 2008 in the U.S whereby wealthy finance capitalist stole public funds through corporations. The resultant of such crises is austerity measures which greatly hurt the poor and middle-income earners (Truscello & Gordon, 2013: Haiven & Khasnabish, 2010). These critics argue that the actions of such corporations end up hurting the employees and forcing them to work hard for little pay. However, this argument is misinformed because corporations cannot be wholly blamed for crises such as the 2008 financial crisis. These corporations carry out their businesses within a particular regulatory framework. Such framework empowers the certain authority to constantly regulate the activities of the corporations. This indicates that if corporations failed at all leading to 2008 crisis, then the regulatory authority failed in its mandate necessitating the government to activate austerity measures.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is evident that business is a force for good in the society. Through an effective corporate social responsibility program, an entity can instigate public engagement and communication initiatives to ensure that the public understands its activities which aim at contributing positively to the societal benefits and avoid critics overblowing potential risks (Barnett, Henriques & Husted Corregan, 2018). It would make a firm more transparent and prevent the public from responding negatively to a profit-making aspect of the firm. Nevertheless, addressing health, environmental, employment, and security risks is paramount, this alone will not lead to broad public acceptability unless innovation is demonstrated through products, processes, and services that bring clear public benefits as well as the solutions to compelling problems that are more effective and safer than existing solutions (Marris, 2015).

References

Barnett, M. L., Henriques, I., & Husted Corregan, B. (2018). The Rise and Stall of Stakeholder Influence: How the Digital Age Limits Social Control.

Calton, J. M., & Kurland, N. B. (1996). A theory of stakeholder enabling: Giving voice to an emerging postmodern praxis of organizational discourse. Postmodern management and organization theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 154-180.

Carroll, A., & Buchholtz, A. (2014). Business and Society: Ethics, sustainability, and stakeholder management. Nelson Education.

Crane, A., Henriques, I., Husted, B., & Matten, D. (2015). A new era for business & society.

Crane, A., Henriques, I., Husted, B., & Matten, D. (2015). Defining the scope of Business & Society.

Freeman, R. E. (2010). Strategic management: A stakeholder approach. Cambridge university press.

Friedman, M. (2007). The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. In Corporate ethics and corporate governance (pp. 173-178). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Haiven, M., & Khasnabish, A. (2010). What is the radical imagination? A Special Issue. Affinities: a journal of radical theory, culture, and action.

Marris, C. (2015). The construction of imaginaries of the public as a threat to synthetic biology. Science as Culture, 24(1), 83-98.

Samuelson, J., & Birchard, B. (2003). The voice of the stakeholder. STRATEGY AND BUSINESS, 97-106.

Spitzeck, H., & Hansen, E. G. (2010). Stakeholder governance: how stakeholders influence corporate decision making. Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society, 10(4), 378-391.

Truscello, M., & Gordon, U. (2013). Whose streets? Technology, anarchism and the petromodern state.

October 24, 2023
Category:

Business Economics

Number of pages

5

Number of words

1271

Downloads:

42

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