Introduction Today globalization and highly competitive marketplace are forcing companies to employ new strategies and tactics so that they can satisfy the new demands of 21st century consumers. It is not enough for a company to offer the best product or provide the best service. In addition to that, human ambition has led to different problems: from increased pollution and global warming, to false advertising and scamming, to income inequality, and many more alike. Such issues increase concern, and the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility becomes imperative.
It is not only about abiding by the law, but also about positively influencing the people. Corporate social responsibility is sometimes a selfless act: the act of doing good without expecting anything in return; it is about being a responsible citizen and being aware of the negative consequences of a negative action. However, despite having positive meaning, there are many opponents to the idea of companies engaging in Corporate Social Responsibility. Moreover, there is moral and immoral approach to Corporate social responsibility.
In this report, both approaches will be compared, highlighting the moral approach to Corporate social responsibility. Ethics Theories and Corporate Social Responsibility So many practices and actions can fall under Corporate social responsibility, but they all can be categorized into two – “the musts” and “the electives”. A business must be honest and truthful in regards to disclosing information to public, it must be unbiased and just in relations to its employees, it must be responsible in regards to preserving the environment, it must take corrective actions if a mistake is made, and so forth.
At the same time, it can choose to engage in philanthropy (giving away money to charities), it can choose to engage in volunteering activities, contribute in government campaigns, and aid in overall prosperity of its environment. Nevertheless, there are corporations that the immoral approach to Corporate social responsibility, justifying their actions through Ethics philosophies. Deontological Theory of Ethics and Corporate social responsibility “Do ends justify means or do means justify ends?
” is the dilemma that we all face in our lives. Proponents of Deontology support “means justify ends”, it is not the consequences of an action but rather the action itself that has to be moral and right. According to the writings of Errol Mendes (2007), “all human beings are moral agents with ability to demonstrate moral choice and therefore can claim rights, observe duties and determine their own moral actions”. Based on this theory, practicing corporate social responsibility by moral approach, i. e.
doing the ethical/right things. The downside to supporting Corporate social responsibility through Deontological theory is that some companies use it as an excuse to cover their bad actions: they claim to have chosen the moral approach and considering every individual but not focusing on the consequences. Consequential Theory of Ethics and Corporate social responsibility Proponents of Utilitarian Theory believe that any action is justified as long as it has greater result for greater number of people.
Based on this theory, corporations can argue that sometimes they have to make sacrifices in order to get the best results for more people at the end. Immoral practices such as animal testing and child labor are in fact justified by Consequentialists. Mendes (2007) stated that businesses use this philosophy as an excuse to rationalize harmful corporate conduct. The Moral Approach In order to answer the question of what is the moral approach to corporate social responsibility, we must also look into the immoral approach that has created so much skepticism about Corporate social responsibility in the first place.
One of the strong cases against Corporate social responsibility is the insincerity and hypocrisy of engaging in socially responsible activities. Nowadays, especially in the Western developed countries, consumers place more and more importance on Corporate social responsibility, and they prefer to purchase from companies that are socially responsible, even if their prices are slightly higher. Unfortunately, companies take advantage of that and sometimes make false claims in regards to their Corporate social responsibility practices.
Moreover, some companies are actually engaged in Corporate social responsibility activities only for the sake of publicity and positive image. For example, according to Forbes article Is Corporate Social Responsibility Hypocritical Window Dressing, corporate philanthropy and social responsibility are just “disingenuous marketing”, and often consumers ask themselves “is this really to do the good or just for the image and making money?
” One of the most important moral approaches to Corporate social responsibility is to make sure that any act of Corporate social responsibility doesn’t hurt the profitability of shareholders of the company. After all, any entity exists for profit, and apart from being responsible businesses, they don’t have to be a part of any charitable activities. Unless the shareholders agree to it, no business entity should engage in Corporate social responsibility that would affect profitability of the shareholders and the overall business. That is the moral approach to Corporate social responsibility.
Conclusion Corporate social responsibility has become the new tool for marketers, especially in the Western society where consumers are more and more demanding. So it is not surprising that people would be uncertain about sincerity of corporations that engage in corporate social responsibility. Furthermore, people argue that businesses exist to make money and they are already helping people and communities by providing jobs, paying taxes and providing people with goods and services. So this raises a question – is there really an immoral approach to corporate social responsibility?
Is hidden agenda or insincerity of doing corporate social responsibility considered immoral approach? Even if it helps a lot of people? A deontologist would say yes, but a consequentialist would say no. That is the challenge – is there a right answer or is it just another question of ethics that is subjective? REFERENCE/BIBLIOGRAPHY Carroll, Annie (1991), The Pyramid of Corporate Social Responsibility: Toward the Moral Management of Organizational Stakeholders, Business Horizons Elisabet Garriga and Dome`nec Mele?
(2004), Corporate Social Responsibility Theories: Mapping the Territory, Journal of Business Ethics 53: 51–71, 2004 Mendes, Errol (2007), The Moral Argument against the Business Case for Corporate Social Responsibility: A Call for a New Moral and Spiritual Approach http://www. ucalgary. ca/christchair/files/christchair/Mendes-detailed-paper. pdf Semeniuk, Joanna (2012), The alignment of morality and profitability in corporate social responsibility, Journal of Philosophy, ESJP no. 2, 2012 Wikipedia (2013), Corporate social responsibility, viewed in May 2013 http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Corporate_social_responsibility.
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