Ethics. Corporate Social Responsibility Worldwide

Modern business is in its infancy, and its development and strengthening will largely depend on how timely and adequately it perceives the basic principles of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Only in this case it can become the engine of positive changes in socially significant spheres of society, create and maintain decent working conditions for the personnel employed at its enterprises. The importance and priority of the problems of corporate social responsibility are due, firstly, to the high degree of economic development of the leading countries of the world, which create financial possibilities for maintaining modern standards of the quality of life of the population. Secondly, the increasing role of intangible factors of economic growth associated with the need to invest in human capital as a key condition for innovative economic growth based on the potential of intelligence, education, and creativity of workers. An important reason for increased attention to the development of the social functions of the business community in the world was the revision of traditional views on the concept of social policy in the direction of expanding the range of its subjects and a significant reduction in state intervention in solving many socio-economic problems.

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Despite the relevance of the phenomenon of corporate social responsibility, not only in the United States but also in countries around the world, there is still no clear interpretation of it. Thus, in the West, the term corporate social responsibility is most often viewed as an element of sustainable development. For example, the European Commission defines CSR as a concept that reflects the voluntary decision of companies to participate in improving the life of society and protecting the environment (Kim & Kim, 2018). In the West, CSR is increasingly interpreted as an attempt to solve social problems caused by corporate activities. Therefore, CSR problems in developed countries are initiated directly by society and people.

MENA region
Fig. 1. MENA region (“MENA Regions Country,” n.d.)

In the MENA region, approaches to the definition of CSR have certain specificities. Social responsibility of business is interpreted differently: it is occasionally specific, and sometimes too broad. For example, the Algerian company Sonatrach applied the CSR principles, and it provided all employees with medical insurance and full social package, which is not common for the given location (Jamali, Lund-Thomsen, & Jeppesen, 2015). In a specific sense, corporate social responsibility includes the obligations of an enterprise to effectively carry out the functions of creating value added, to completely fulfill the socio-ecological and economic requirements established by laws, ethical norms, and rules adopted in society.

The traditional interpretation of corporate social responsibility in the specific sense implies timely payment to employees’ salaries, tax payments, compliance with legislation in the field of environmental protection, occupational safety and health of employees, ethical behavior within the framework of existing laws. Consequently, the initial segment of the formation of the system of social responsibility of business is social and labor relations and accompanying economic and political circumstances. From these positions, the corporate social responsibility acts as a method of civic solution of employee and labor conflicts, containing a mechanism for achieving cultural stability of society. For example, in Israel, the process of creating legal frameworks and tools for implementing the interaction of government and business within triplet continuously forms new methods of managing organizations in the modern developing conditions (Jamali et al., 2015). The triplet includes the government, trade unions, and entrepreneurs.

In a broad sense, corporate social responsibility is a voluntary contribution of business to the development of society in the social, economic and environmental spheres. It is often not directly related to the main activity of the company and going beyond a certain legislative minimum and ethical standards adopted in society. This is a burden to business partners and employees, to local communities and the general public. The highest form of social responsibility of business is its inclusion in the system of a social partnership (Kim & Kim, 2018). There is a revision of the obligation of business, government, and society in solving socially significant problems, eradicating cultural dependency, creating mechanisms of public control over the state’s fulfillment of its social obligations.

Many Russian corporations have already begun to introduce the principles of social responsibility in production and business activities. However, they use them exclusively for personal purposes, and not in the public interest. Nevertheless, there are quite a few companies that have realized the effectiveness of system social policy. The largest of them spend up to 17% of the profit on social goals, which is Gazprom (Jamali et al., 2015). The main principles of the company’s activities in the framework of corporate social responsibility are openness, consistency, significance, and the avoidance of conflicts. Companies based on these principles often have considerable difficulties.

The modern Central Asian business often lacks a clear understanding and conscious acceptance of the fact that social responsibility business is not something exceptional, caused by special circumstances, but a rule that follows from the essence of a large corporate business. Business cannot act in isolation from society, because it is part of the community itself. For instance, the company in Central Asia Tengizchevroil is the leader in CSR implementation in the given region, but the current national and political system diminishes the practice of full corporate social responsibility (Jamali et al., 2015). A large company is a socio-economic institution that occupies a leading position in countries with market economies. Unlike small and medium-sized businesses, large companies often act as city-forming ones.

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These institutions group both inside and around large masses of interested people who form an interdependent system of relations, which can either support a business in a difficult moment or, conversely, deprives a company of the opportunity to act. The presence of social ties once again confirms the fact that a corporation is an important public institution that is included in the system of social relations, which largely determine the socio-economic development of individual actors of society, and if the corporate sector is taken as a whole, then the whole nation (Kim & Kim, 2018). The corporate sector and the state share responsibility not only for social and labor relations but also for the welfare of society as a whole.

In conclusion, a socially responsible company has the capacity to attract and retain talented professionals. In addition, it has the confidence of investors and has the opportunity to receive long-term investments. At the same time, corporations need to make more efforts to establish effective partnerships with other companies, public, and civil organizations, government agencies to develop collective systemic approaches to corporate responsibility. More attention should be paid to such an important issue as the formalization of disclosure of information about its social activity. This can be done primarily through a social reporting mechanism.

References

Jamali, D., Lund-Thomsen, P., & Jeppesen, S. (2015). SMEs and CSR in developing countries. Business & Society, 56(1), 11-22.

Kim, M. C., & Kim, Y. H. (2018). CSR and shareholder value in the restaurant industry: The roles of CSR communication through annual reports. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, 60(1), 69-76.

MENA Region Countries [Image]. (n.d.). Web.

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