Businesses are considered as individual entities that exist in the society that is capable of creating changes that could and would affect the human communities they are involved with (Kim, 2010). This is the reason why recently, the concept of corporate social responsibility has been taken quite seriously by many companies in the past few decades (Fooks, et al, 2013), but has also been underestimated by some companies. Businesses that have embraced change administrational changes to create a valuable foundation of their organization’s values and moral standing often finds it more challenging to meet higher standards of ethical, moral and valued expectations compared to the early 1900’s (Carrol, et al, 2010). However, those who have not incorporated such an important principle in their operations of business practices have questioned the viability of responsibility in a corporate sense, and this has stemmed from a belief of changing standards and importance in the business world (Hillendbrand, et al, 2013). The following research shows both sides of the argument, as well as an analysis and discussion of which view corporations should take.
Changing Ethics, Morals and Values
As change constantly redesigns workplaces and places corporations in new spheres, it also alters the framework through which businesses embrace such changes in the mindscape of the market. Ethics, morals and values are changing in the world today, as can be seen by the shifting standards, both in terms of the political and corporate sense of the word (Valentine, et al, 2010). Although it is true that these three virtues hold fast through the test of time, the way that many executives are choosing to apply limited ethical standards, morals and values have spiralled companies into fraud and debt (Hillendbrand, et al, 2013). Recent cases in point include JP Morgan-Chase and the Wall Street Journal insider-trading dilemmas, both companies that had originally committed to high standards of corporate social responsibility or CSR (Carroll, et al, 2010).
Often, cynical business decision-makers have undermined former standards of highly prioritized ethics, morals and values due to three reasons (Fooks et. al., 2013). Firstly, declining political authority in middle management gave way to gaps in corporate social responsibility policy (Lindgreen, et al, 2010); and lack of leadership involvement also added insult to injury. Secondly, breaking up of legal authority in the business itself led to issues in relation to observance of legality in the working environment (Kim, et al, 2010); which was also quickly adopted by employees across the organization. Thirdly, key stakeholders perception of control was ultimately removed (Fooks, et la, 2013); mainly due to the fact that changes in the business market where not having a significant impact on higher emphasis on ethics, morals and values. Unfortunately, companies who followed these three steps found the organization as a whole suffering from public outcry and internal failure.
In addition, some businesses have taken the traditional aspect of ethics, morals and values as an unattainable standard that is only marginally punishable by law (Fooks, et al, 2013). This is actually a common myth, as seen by the many class-action lawsuits taken by companies against companies, the public shareholders against corporate giants, and also small businesses within the business market itself (Kim, et al, 2010). It is sometimes argued that stakeholders do not require a change in the law to remain viable; and vice versa (Carroll and Shabana, 2010). However, the onus is often transferred to the company, in a holistic sense, to take corporate social responsibility as a concept and rather, making it into a practical reality. This particular matter engages businesses in the specific course of distinctive existence in the society as entities that have direct effect on others and not just as mere units of profiting from what the society earns.
General Public Perception of CSR
Within society, however, the general perception tends to favour corporate social responsibility, especially when the practical efforts of corporations are seen and felt within the community, and also on a global scale (Kim, et al, 2010). The implications of this can be identified by considering the vast differences that are being made, highlighted by the importance of the triple bottom line (people, planet and profit), and customer feedback as illustrated when businesses reinvest back into society (Carroll, et al, 2010). This triple bottom line has even taken more of an importance in a corporate sense than before, as many large and small organizations have adopted it into corporate documentation, public releases and special reports (Kim, et al, 2010). As such, it has become more acceptable in the eyes of the public and internally within the company to highlight changes and promote these changes accordingly.
Considerably in the United States, most companies who have embraced such change have been able to do so on a larger scale, and has been quickly adopted by companies in Asia and also Europe (Fooks, et al, 2013). These changes have been replicated throughout the business world, and more organizations are realizing the powerful impact it holds for the future as well as the present. It has continued to shape corporate social responsibility into more of a continuing endeavour than a mere fad or limited policy (Kim, et al, 2010). At present, the American society of business operators specifically respond to the need of creating the foundations of their organization based on the values that the society responds to, Relatively, this includes creating a blueprint of the activities they are to engage in and how each form of act represent their consideration over the responsibility they have towards the community they are co-existing with (Lindgreen, et al, 2010). As a result, corporate social responsibility has moved from an ideology to a reality, and many consider it necessary for similar organizations to follow suit (Lindgreen and Swaen, 2010). This has been the case for countless companies, who have embraced corporate social responsibility and allowed it to transform the company culture into more of an organic than rigid structure. By doing so, ethical standards have been raised, moral acknowledgement has grown, and value-added development for changing the lives and environment of those surrounding the organization, not just within the company, but also to an outsider approach, has proved quite beneficial (Carrooll, et al, 2013). Lastly, such an approach has made corporate social responsibility more of a positive approach than a negative, unreachable overtone. Research shows that corporate social responsibility has increased trust and support of organizations in the wider community (Hillenbrand, Money, and Ghobadian, 2013).
This has been achieved by demonstrating what real corporate social responsibility should illustrate; improving company policies to reflect better working environments, ensuring that employees are provided with positive support mechanisms and reinforcement on-the-job, and allowing environmental sustainability to influence every aspect of the business on a wider level. This also has positive benefits for the company as well.
It is argued that by doing so, a corporate culture is strengthened by ethical values and positive business practices, yielding more favourable employee work habits (Valentine, 2011). By doing so, both the community at large, and the company itself moves forward to a positive advantage. Corporate social responsibility association and participation leads to identification with the firm (Kim et. al., 2010).
In summary, it can be seen that corporate social responsibility remains an important concept in the roles of many corporations in the business world. Although those against the concept have criticized it as an unattainable standard, these companies have paid the price in more ways than just financial hardship. Nevertheless, the unchanging significance of the ideology that has become a reality for many organizations has shown increasing benefits for both the community and the company at large. In terms of internal and external advantages, corporate social responsibility is a responsibility that needs to be taken seriously by those who aspire to be leaders in the business market, even though ethics, morals and values continue to change, the fundamentals remain the same, both for the present and the future. In this case, it could be understood that the current situation in the American business society creates a definite outline on how modern organizations tend to create a stand in relation to how they are able to manifest their role in the society as entities of effect. Realizing what impact they can impose on the community specifically makes it easier for new organizations to take the lead in creating responsible notes on how to define their standing in the society. Older organizations are taking the challenge to make changes, to adjust and to make sure that they serve what the society needs and expects rather than simply focusing on their personal organizational desires.
Carroll, A. and Shabana, K. 2010, ‘The Business Case for Corporate Social Responsibility: A Review of Concepts, Research and Practice.’ International Journal of Management Reviews, vol. 12, June 7, pp.85-105. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-2370.2009.00275.x/full. (Retrieved on September 18, 2013).
Fooks, G., Gilmore, A., Collin, J., Holden, K., and Lee, K. 2013, ‘The Limits of Corporate Social Responsibility: Techniques of Neutralization, Stakeholder Management and Political CSR.’ Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 112, June 9, pp.283-299. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10551-012-1250-5. (Retrieved on September 18, 2013).
Hillenbrand, C., Money, K., and Ghobadian, A. 2013. ‘Unpacking the Mechanism by which Corporate Responsibility impacts Stakeholder Relationships’. British Journal of Management, vol. 24, June 1, pp. 127-146. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8551.2011.00794.x/abstract. (Retrieved on September 18, 2013).
Kim. H., Lee, M., Lee, H., and Kim, N. 2010, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility and Employee-Company Identification’. Journal of Business Ethics, vol 95. June 2, pp. 557-569. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10551-010-0440-2. (Retrieved on September 18, 2013).
Lindgreen, A., and Swaen, V. 2010, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility.’ International Journal of Management Reviews, vol. 12, June 5, pp. 1-7. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-2370.2009.00277.x/abstract?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false. (Retrieved on September 18, 2013).
Valentine, S., Godkin, L., Fleischman, G., and Kidwell, R. 2010, ‘Corporate Ethical Values, Group Creativity, Job Satisfaction and Turnover Intention: The Impact of Work Context on Work Response’. Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 98, June 6, pp. 1-26. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10551-010-0554-6. (Retrieved on September 18, 2013).