Among the ten commandments of corporate social responsibility, which two commandments do you think are the most important to human resources and why?

The two most important commandments from a human resources viewpoint are 7, Thou shall monitor the changing social environment, and 8, Thou shall establish and enforce a corporate code of conduct. This is because normal social behavior changes quickly, and it is important for all employees to be aware of the boundaries within which they should conduct themselves in the workplace.

Expert Answers

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The Ten Commandments of Corporate Social Responsibility proposed by L. D. Alexander and W. F. Matthews are as follows:

1. Thou shall take corrective action before it is required

2. Thou shall work with affected constituents to resolve mutual problems

3. Thou shall work to establish industry-wide standards and self-regulation

4. Thou shall publicly admit your mistakes

5. Thou shall get involved in appropriate social programs

6. Thou shall help correct environmental problems

7. Thou shall monitor the changing social environment

8. Thou shall establish and enforce a corporate code of conduct

9. Thou shall take needed public stands on social issues

10. Thou shall strive to make profits on an ongoing basis

Several of these are clearly irrelevant to human resources, which is not directly concerned with profits, and only tangentially with environmental policy. Numbers 7 and 8, however, are both highly relevant to human resources management.

In the first place, it is important to monitor the changing social environment because new human resources issues arise all the time as society changes. To take one obvious example, a comment that was regarded as acceptable twenty or even ten years ago could easily cause friction in the workplace now. The same is true of many ethical concerns.

To avoid such issues, it is essential to ensure that employees are clear about where the boundaries lie. This is where the corporate code of conduct is of vital importance. Many managers think of these codes as primarily guiding conduct outside the firm, but those responsible for human resources management will want to ensure that clear guidelines are issued and observed within the organization as well. Although these are the two most important commandments, various other principles stated here, including commandments 1 and 5, are obviously also of importance in running a human resources department.

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