Corporate Social Responsibility
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY 6
Corporatesocial responsibility is a model by which companies self- regulatethrough internal mechanisms that are part of the business model.Corporate social responsibility ensures that companies monitor theiractivities to ensure that they operate ethically and legally. Thecorporate entity ensures that its activities adhere to standardprocedures so that the company has an enduring influence on the livesof the employees, stakeholders, society and its customers. Thecompany operates in harmony with the environment in which it existsthrough positive activities. Corporate social responsibility isconcerned with social good, as opposed to economic prosperity.However, critics argue that corporate social responsibility is alargely meaningless slogan, because it has not led corporations ingeneral to behave ethically or responsibly.
Mostcompanies purport to have corporate social responsibility policies asa way of reducing government scrutiny especially for multinationalcompanies. One of the tenets of corporate social responsibility is toensure that companies have internal mechanisms that ensure itcomplies with legal, environmental and social requirements. However,most companies especially multinational do not conform to theserequirements (Henderson 65). For example, multinational companiesoperating in China have been accused of mistreating their workersdespite having corporate social responsibility provisions in theirbusiness model. The corporate social responsibility provisions insuch cases are only a way of protecting the companies from governmentscrutiny.
Fairtrade is also a form of corporate social responsibility that ensuresthat companies offer the best prices for their raw materials. Fairtrade supports communities by offering healthy prices for companiesespecially in manufacturing companies. They ensure that the companyuplifts the lives of their communities by providing ready andfavorable markets for their products. However, multinationals havebeen accused of offering poor prices for raw materials especially inthird world countries so as to maximize their profits (Henderson157). The companies maximize their profits by offering low prices forraw materials and this is against the spirit of fair trade.
Moderncorporate social responsibility also incorporates environmentalmaintenance and protection. This is because corporate entities,especially in the manufacturing sector, have a huge responsibility inenvironmental pollution through toxic emissions. However, globalwarming is on the rise and it is driven by environmental pollution bymanufacturing industries, which purport to have corporate socialresponsibility as part of their business model (Henderson, 123). Thisproves that the slogans are just a way of endearing the companies tothe public, but they do not meet their slogans.
Additionally,most companies are now using corporate social responsibility as amarketing strategy. The companies purport to have corporate socialresponsibility as part of their design as a way of discreditingcompetitors. The companies study the activities of their competitorsand they use this as a strategy of gaining customers (Henderson 196).The companies use short- term strategies to gain and maintaincustomers in relation to their competitors. The short- termstrategies are a way of appealing to customers and they serve theimmediate needs of the community as opposed to long- term strategiesthat improve the livelihoods of the community. The companies do notengage in development projects as they may be costly and they maytake long to appeal to the community.
Anotherform of corporate social responsibility that is commonly abused bycompanies is the use of suppliers. Most companies, especiallymultinational companies often work with suppliers from their parentnations instead of local companies. The companies give a few, smallcontracts to local companies or local subsidiaries of companies fromtheir parent countries. This does help in promoting local companiesas a way of corporate social responsibility through economicuplifting (Henderson 182). This does not fulfill the expectations ofthe corporate social responsibility slogans, which are just a way ofpresenting the companies like socially conscious.
Anotherform of corporate social responsibility in modern times involvesemploying people from local areas so as to uplift the local communityeconomically. The companies employ people who are qualified atvarious levels of the business so as to improve the economic statusof the local community. However, most companies employ the localcommunity at the low levels of the company to act as tokens and earnfavor from the community (Henderson 201). The companies then employoutsiders at the higher levels of the company, which are often themost significant posts within the organization.
Ithas also been argued that multinational companies exploit weak laborlaws in third world countries by offering low returns for work. Thecompanies exploit their workers as the countries do not have strictlabor laws and the local communities are usually desperate for work.The companies employ people from the local community on poor laborterms and the workers work under poor working conditions that do notmeet international status. The companies then claim to practicecorporate social responsibility by employing people from the localcommunity.
Anotherform of corporate social responsibility involves offering highquality goods to its customers. Companies have the responsibility ofoffering high quality products as it is the responsibility of thecompanies to offer quality products. However, research shows thatsome companies offer substandard products to their customers as a wayof reducing cost and increasing profits. The practice of offering lowquality goods is prevalent in countries with poor monitoringstructures. Corporate social responsibility involves offering highquality products as it is a means of internal control practices(Henderson 193). The provision of poor quality products indicatesthat the companies only use the slogans for appeal purposes and notas a way of internal self- monitoring.
Theanalysis indicates that corporate social responsibility is notstrictly practiced especially by multinationals, which take advantageof poor labor laws and poor standards of monitoring in theircountries of operations. Most companies with national andinternational operations have corporate social responsibilitypolicies within their business models as a way of showing that theyare conscious of legal and social requirements of the countrieswithin which they operate. However, most companies do not havestandard operations because their core function is to make profits.Most companies will forego their corporate social responsibilities asa measure of improving profits and minimizing costs (Henderson 215).Additionally, companies use the slogans as marketing strategies andnot as a way of uplifting the social lives of the communities intheir environment.
Inconclusion, corporate social responsibility is a mostly meaninglessslogan, because it has not led corporations in general to behaveethically or responsibly. Companies do not use these slogans toimprove their operations and the lives of the communities in whichthey operate. Instead, most companies use corporate socialresponsibility slogans for public relations benefits and as marketingstrategies. Companies often choose profitability over socialresponsibility and the need for making profits supersedes that ofacting responsibly. Multinationals have been known to violate laborlaws, environmental laws and fair trade policies so as to minimizecosts.
Henderson,D. (2001). MisguidedVirtue: False Notions of .New York: Institute of Economic Affairs.