People were always concerned with their responsibility to society. Various theories continue to highlight ethics as a foundation for benefiting the community. Ethics also plays a significant role in the establishment of businesses, as companies are encouraged to remember that they can influence people and environments that they control or utilize. The concept of corporate social responsibility encompasses this process and its positive or negative outcomes.
It is a movement concerned with the company’s awareness of the impact that they have on communities, resources, and the environment. This paper aims to investigate the topic of ethics and corporate social responsibility as well as explore examples of ethical problems and possible methods of solving them.
Ethical theory can be implemented in many areas of an individual’s life. In business, ethics are centered on the themes of harmful and beneficial actions of business owners and stakeholders. Ethical companies choose approaches that do not cause harm to people and environments involved in the business’ operations.
Corporate social responsibility highlights the importance of developing a system that encompasses such concepts as an individual’s health and safety, economic development, proper working conditions, social and economic sustainability, clean environment, and human rights. According to Tai and Chuang, organizations that want to follow the principles of ethics and CSR should remember that their responsibility to the society should be valued higher than their desire to gain profit (117).
Moreover, such organizations should strive to exceed the established standards and ethical norms and move towards further improving sustainability. The desire to be socially responsible can be fulfilled in a number of ways. First of all, many companies are becoming more transparent than before, disclosing their financial and legal information (Cheng et al. 1). Such an approach to CSR makes organizations more open in the eyes of the public and positively affects the company’s internal structure.
The ethical movement encourages companies to choose practices and resources that are not damaging to the environment as well. Thus, such companies invest in environmental sustainability and decline old practices that may have harmed the planet. For example, the focus on “green” goods can be seen as a product of corporate social responsibility. Other ways for an organization to adhere to the principles of CSR include high levels of corporate engagement in the company’s operations, the focus on social cohesion, and the legal responsibilities of a company (Doh et al. 304).
Many businesses also begin to distinguish and reevaluate the roles of stockholders and stakeholders, namely employees, local communities, suppliers, and local environments (Srivastava 69). Such a difference notes that the significance of stakeholders and their values, beliefs, and decisions is as important to the business as the influence of stockholders. The concentration of organizations on building societal value is what defines ethics and CSR the best (Srivastava 69).
Ethical problems have become more and more discussed by various specialists and individuals. The most common problem that many businesses encounter is the difficulty to stay transparent and remain profitable without gaining a poor reputation. I encountered this problem, as well. In my experience, the issue of transparency can significantly affect the company’s state and operation. The necessity to disclose information is a process that may lead to various complications.
For example, the rising environmental concern of society significantly affects all aspects of a business and influences its ability to utilize some practices. Clients are not satisfied with the amount of information that they were exposed to before and ask for more data to be provided (Mackey 70).
In my case, the clients asked me to provide information on the environmental impact of our company. I was supposed to reevaluate the information that was given prior to the situation and decide whether any changes had to be made. In the situation, I was not able to make the correct decision and react appropriately. I failed to deliver the required data to the clients. Thus, the situation was not resolved according to the CSR principles. I am not content with my decision. Moreover, I realize that transparency is one of the pillars of corporate social responsibility, and it is reasonable for clients interested in ethical improvements to ask appropriate questions.
Looking at this situation now, I understand that I should have done my best to provide customers with the necessary information. In my opinion, this decision would be adequate for the situation, and I have no other possible solutions to this problem. This experience taught me that the field of ethics is constantly evolving and that the values and goals of the companies always change. While the desire to be profitable and efficient remains the same, the operations and processes of the company may be influenced by exterior reasons.
The role of individuals contributing to the company’s success should not be undermined. Moreover, the values of the company should adhere to societal expectations and be progressive in order to increase sustainability. Ethical, societal, and environmental concerns should be viewed not as obstacles but levers that help move organizations forward.
All in all, ethical philosophies and approaches continue to change the way businesses determine their mission and objectives. The shift toward corporate responsibility as well as environmental, economic, and social sustainability impacts the companies and their owners. In order to follow the principles of CSR, the companies should be transparent, sustainable, and community-driven.
Cheng, Beiting, et al. “Corporate Social Responsibility and Access to Finance.” Strategic Management Journal, vol. 35, no. 1, 2014, pp. 1-23.
Doh, Jonathan, et al. “Guest Editors’ Introduction: Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Developing Country Multinationals.” Business Ethics Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 3, 2016, pp. 301-315.
Mackey, Steve. “Virtue Ethics, CSR and ‘Corporate Citizenship.’” Journal of Communication Management, vol. 18, no. 2, 2014, pp. 69-72.
Srivastava, Garima. “Business Ethics and CSR Strategies: Root to Business Sustainability.” International Educational Scientific Research Journal, vol. 2, no. 7, 2016, pp. 68-69.
Tai, Fang-Mei, and Shu-Hao Chuang. “Corporate Social Responsibility.” iBusiness, vol. 6, no. 3, 2014, pp. 117-130.