The current state of Company Q’s attitude toward social responsibility is by far obsolete. The sheer fact that the company would rather throw away good product then help the community not only gives the community a clear view that they do not matter but it also shows that the company is more about their bottom line then fostering a community. Also the fact that Company Q has closed stores due to loss of revenue shows that they did not house products that section of the community caters to. A higher income section could well afford organically grown produce as well as high end cheeses where as a low income section would opt for more affordable products like boxed meals and generic brands. Company Q’s fear of employees stealing should not deter them from donating it should be a sign that their employees are hurting. For small companies to survive they need to treat their employees well and create a work community. One where everyone works together for the good of the company and the welfare of the people it serves. Company Q does not show any signs of this currently but not all is lost.
Even though Company Q is a smaller company with fewer resources than a large corporation they have an advantage in making social responsibility part of the company’s core mission by being able to interact with the community on a more personal level. Company Q’s workers will most likely live in the community they are working in. Being a smaller store they will have fewer employees cultivating a more intimate environment. Company Q needs to introduce new ways of thinking and get more involved into the community to turn their current trend of failure to have any social responsibility to one that promotes it from the inside out. Putting social responsibility into the company’s core values will be more than words but a call to action.
If you take care of your community your community will take care of you. While it is genuinely understandable that Company Q fears profit loss from high crime rate areas the solution is not to run but to build a stronger bond with your employees to create a shared value. A happy employee is a productive employee. If an employee is happy and feels like they are treated with respect then they are going to work extra hard and bear some of Company Q’s responsibilities to prevent profit loss. A happy employee wants to keep his/her job and will work hard to ensure this. If management says they have some concerns with profit loss due to theft and ask the employees to keep an extra eye out for anyone suspicious and report it immediately the store will ultimately see a turn around.
While you cannot prevent theft every time with large store involvement by visually showing strength you will prevent a good portion of it. Company Q’s community involvement doesn’t need to stop there. Management can develop an internship program for local youth. They can shadow members of the store to see how a business works from the inside and that the work they do and the decisions they make are important and it will show them their actions not only affect them but others as well.
Professor Christopher Koliba of The University of Vermont (Koliba, 2000) wrote “give young people the opportunity to participate in decision-making about meaningful issues can have an impact on their sense of responsibility, their ability to take a collective perspective, their pro-social behavior, their understanding of democratic values and processes, and their personal and political efficacy.” Professor Koliba goes on to explain that education plays an important role within the life of local communities to varying degrees. Research like this shows us that youth will flourish if given the right tools to do so. This will not only help them make better decisions but also give them the tools to influence their friends to do the same. Youth will usually listen more to peers than parents. Another great aspect of an internship program is the ability to gain work experience.
My last suggestion to Company Q to move the company to a more social responsible partner in the community is to conduct health related educational classes. Provide information on ways for families to provide nutritious meals without spending a lot. Many customers complained that not enough organic or health conscious products were available in the store. The company can get involved with local farms to not only provide a business to business relationship but this small business relationship does not endure large production costs and gives the store the ability to charge less for the fresher food. Also these local farmers would be great resources of information for the health classes.
They have first had knowledge on the importance of eating fresh foods. Also Company Q can expand the internship program to include the local farmers and if a member of your family volunteers a few hours of their time they can receive some of the product to take home thus taking off some of the financial burden of the high cost of food. While the current view of Company Q in the community may not be very high at the moment it has lots of room for improvement. I know if the company implements the suggestions set forth they will end up with a great foundation of social responsibility. The business will thrive giving the shareholders higher profits at the same time giving the community a trusted and socially responsible business.
Koliba, C. (2000, May 8). Democracy and Education; Schools and Communities Research
Project. Retrieved from http://www.uvm.edu/~dwey/articles/Democonc.html