Social Responsibility Attitude and Business Ethics

Although corporate social responsibility (CSR) is evolving into a mainstream issue for many organizations largely due to the mounting recognition of the need to effectively address non-market forces arising in the business environment, it is increasingly dawning on scholars and practitioners that the concept’s proliferation in business is more catapulted by the personal beliefs and value orientations of the people running the business (Tandon, Mishra, & Singh, 2011). As postulated in the literature, it is these personal beliefs and values that function to project an organization’s attitudes toward CSR initiatives (Wagner, Lutz, & Weitz, 2009). In this light, the present paper evaluates Company Q’s current attitude towards social responsibility, before recommending some actions that the company could take to improve its attitude.

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Company Q’s Attitude

From the presented scenario, it is evident that managers of Company Q do not believe that engaging in socially responsible activities could have a positive bearing on the firm’s competitiveness and economic wellbeing. The lack of commitment in social responsibility is reinforced by the management’s decision to close several stores in crime hotspots instead of collaborating with communities to address the issue, and also by refusing to donate day-old products to the local community’s food bank. As a matter of fact, the reason provided by the company’s management for refusing to donate the products (employee fraud) demonstrates a company that lacks a shared sense of purpose, as employees should be at the core of the company’s efforts in entrenching socially responsible practices. As indicated in the literature, it appears that the company is yet to see any value in directing attention and resources to the social problems affecting the community, such as insecurity and lack of food (Tandon et al., 2011). Consequently, it is plausible to argue that the company’s materialistic attitude towards business is blurring its capacity to engage in CSR initiatives.

Recommendations

The company can undertake several actions to engage the community more and improve its attitude towards social responsibility. The first action should be for the company to engage its employees in an honest conversation about individual drivers of CSR with the view to not only encouraging open dialogue on the issue, but also facilitating a shared sense of purpose (Linnabery, Cottone, & West, 2013). This way, the deeply entrenched suspicion between the management and employees will be successfully addressed to enable engagement in donating day-old products to the food banks in need.

The company also needs to develop and align its CSR activities not only with the strategies and objectives of the organization, but also with the meaning and purpose of organizational employees and other stakeholders. As it stands now, the company does not value social responsibility as a main driver towards achieving successful economic returns and other benefits. However, available research demonstrates that contemporary customers like to be associated with socially responsible organizations (Wagner et al., 2009), thus the need for the company to align its CSR activities with business processes to attract more customers and remain competitive.

Lastly, the company can decide to roll out training programs and induction courses targeted at creating awareness amongst managers and employees on the need to embrace social responsibility initiatives and how to go about engaging the community in such initiatives. Instead of relocating from crime hotspots, for example, the company can train its employees on how to engage the community in making the neighborhoods safer for business. Exposure to knowledge on CSR initiatives will go a long way in dealing with the ignorance demonstrated by the company, particularly as it pertains to the importance of social responsibility.

References

Linnabery, E., Cottone, D., & West, K. (2013). Making corporate social responsibility work: Recommendations for utilizing the power of a shared purpose. Industrial & Organizational Psychology, 6(4), 377-379.

Tandon, A.K., Mishra, S.K., & Singh, E. (2011). What discriminates the prospective manager’s attitude towards corporate social responsibility? An insight from psychological variables. IUP Journal of Corporate Governance, 10(3), 52-70.

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Wagner, T., Lutz, R.J., & Weitz, B.A. (2009). Corporate hypocrisy: Overcoming the threat of inconsistent corporate social responsibility perceptions. Journal of Marketing, 73(6), 77-91.

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