How relevant is fulfilling social responsibilities and ethics for a business?How relevant is fulfilling social responsibilities and ethics for a business?

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justaguide eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Business firms in today's world have to tread a very careful path. The primary objective of a business has always been to make the most profit for its shareholders; but now they are also expected by society to fulfill other responsibilities.

Corporate social responsibility consists of a broad spectrum of activities that businesses must do for their primary and secondary stakeholders in addition to their owners. Some of these include taking care of employees, customers, the environment, etc.

As businesses have grown large they have come to acquire a lot of power and resources which various sections of the society expect them to use for societal benefit even if it is not directly related to earning profits.

Maintaining a high standard of ethics is just one of the aspects of the social responsibilities of businesses. This includes strictly following rules and regulations, creating policies that would be able to serve the task of benefiting the society in a better way and desisting from trying to find loopholes and acting a morally unethical manner.

Corporate firms today have also realized the importance of pursuing activities that fall in the realm of corporate social responsibility and how this ultimately benefits the companies themselves in the long run.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is not.  Or at least, it is not unless it can help a business make money the way that Wal-Mart's efforts to "go green" have helped to reduce its costs.

Businesses are made to make money.  Their function is to make as much money as they can within the law.  If societies want businesses to have social responsibility, they must impose that on the business.  They must either A) make laws telling businesses how to act or B) use consumer pressure (boycotts, etc) to tell businesses how to act.

But the only purpose of a business is to make as much profit as it legally can.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is true that there are more people today that are considering a company's ethics when they shop.  However many people will still shop where they can afford, no matter how bad the company is.  Companies get bad PR, but stay in business.  Wal-mart has constantly been bombarded with negative press, yet more people are shopping there.  While people may want to vote with their pocketbooks, the truth is that when people are hurting their ethics become less important than feeding their families.

lrwilliams eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that it has become more important in recent years. With the awareness of the consumer in regards to going "green" and other social issues involved in the manufacturing process. Large corporations have at least got to show consumers that they are trying to be socially conscious.

goldenegg12 | Student
How relevant is fulfilling social responsibilities and ethics for a business?

How relevant is fulfilling social responsibilities and ethics for a business?

 Many business people who have got involved with CSR have found it gratifying and as more businesses recognize that they do have to consider the impacts they create on society, CSR careers are becoming a necessity. One scheme I know that prepares people for CSR careers is called 'On Purpose'. It runs in the UK and HEC Paris MBA Saskia Green joined the leadership programme with an ambition to harness the power of business for good. Each year, On Purpose places its associates and fellows on one-year, full time, leadership programmes that combine paid work placements with weekly training and regular one-to-one coaching and mentoring. Saskia is currently on a six-month placement with the Corporate Social Responsibility division of global bank Santander, working on boosting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and social enterprises. You can read her interview on BusinessBecause where she spoke on working with Santander, and why people shouldn't be cynical about banks' CSR efforts.


xetaalpha | Student

It isn't? Even after Lehman, the economic collapse, and all that we're going through, you really think corporates should just be money minting machines. If there isn't a rule made yet, you don't need to bother to try to act in a moral way.

Well, I'm an Objectivist at heart, you don't need to live your life for the sake of others. But if you know that something you're doing will lead to problems in the future, you shouldn't. You don't have to make your workers miss their pay just to contribute funds to the PETA, but if a few thousand can get a scholarship started at a public school you should do it.

I find it tough to believe that you just brush aside CSR as totally irrelevant.