Business landscape in the 21st century is becoming more aware of its impact on the communities around them and the world at large. Corporate social responsibility and ethical behavior are expected from companies who wish to achieve success in the international arena. Therefore, corporate responsibility is one of the staples of culture in large and successful companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google, Tesla, and others.
However, corporate responsibility cannot be achieved without personal responsibility. It is up to every individual manager and employee to behave ethically in order for the larger vision to be achieved. Self-reflection is an important part of assessing one’s own actions and finding opportunities for improvement. The purpose of this reflection paper is to analyze one’s own strategies and practices through the prism of CMI (Chartered Management Institute) code of conduct.
Behaving in an open, honest, and trustworthy manner is the foundation for building a relationship between employers, employees, and customers. Trustworthiness includes personal responsibility for one’s own decision-making, professional integrity, truthfulness in conversations, resistance to acts of bribery and corruption, as well as compliance with all relevant laws and regulations of a specific country (CMI, 2014). Corporate social responsibility is directly related to the concept of trustworthiness. The government and the society need to trust a company to not take advantage of the publicity and special access to needy populations, while the recipients of acts of kindness must be sure they are not being used.
In general, I would say I am a trustworthy individual. However, there are times and incidents during which I act in an untrustworthy manner. An example of such a situation would be when I fail to complete a relatively benign promise in time. This could occur either through my own negligence or through a series of factors outside of my control. Most of the time, I simply choose to do it later than promised because the task is neither urgent nor powerful enough to be given priority.
Although such a minor breach of ethical behavior seems harmless, it may translate into negative consequences for the company, should I fail to complete my duties even after postponing the task in question. Not knowing the full picture might cause wrong judgments and translate into a major failure, loss of money and profit, loss of face, and negative consequences for other employees and the community. Practicing trustworthy behavior at all times is the most appropriate course of action.
Protecting the Best Interests of Stakeholders
Being dedicated to serving one’s stakeholders over selfish personal interests is a concept that places long-term growth and reputation buildup over short-term objectives. It is also closely related to the ethical concept of trustworthiness discussed in the previous section. It involves safeguarding and showing good faith when dealing with confidential information, supporting the organization’s vision and mission, being honest with customers, and developing relationships based on the quality of service, trustworthiness, and respect (CMI, 2014). This idea can be applied to persons and organizations. Acting in the interest of all stakeholders is a primary requirement for a company that seeks to pursue corporate social responsibility (McWilliams & Siegel, 2001).
I have no issues with protecting the interests of the company’s customers and clients. Doing otherwise is not only unethical but also illegal, in most cases and scenarios. However, I often have trouble discerning between the good of the company and the good of the community. The debate between corporate social responsibility (SCR) and competitive advantage comes into play (Crowther & Seifi, 2018). As a manager, I might outsource certain tasks and operations to cheaper third-world agents rather than hiring domestically. While it improves the competitive advantage of my company, it also reduces the overall wealth accumulated in the community and hurts domestic markets (Unit, 2015). It is difficult to strike a balance between SCR and objectively better economic choices.
Developing and Maintaining Professional Knowledge and Competence
Personal and professional growth is considered the ethic responsibility of every employee. In order for organizations to survive in the ever-increasing competitive environment of the globalized economy, a process of continuous improvement is a necessity (CMI, 2014). As a professional, I am ethically obligated to produce the best possible service for my customers. However, the issues of personal interest versus corporate interest come into play. I was hired to perform a certain job, at a certain quality, for a certain pay. Self-education and continuously performing above the call of duty does not offer short-term compensation, especially on dead-end jobs. However, it does offer long-term job security and career opportunities.
Creating a Positive Impact on Society
This ethical responsibility is a contentious one (Karnani, 2010). Some theorists of the free market, such as Milton Friedman, would argue that capitalist enterprises are already having a positive impact on the society by providing jobs and tax revenues, meaning that the only other prerogative of their existence is serving the interests of shareholders (Cord & Hammond, 2016). The principles of SCR, however, state that the rich and wealthy have a higher moral responsibility to the communities around them and the society in general. Once more, my personal dilemma lies in determining how much SCR I can perform as a manager without sacrificing my company’s growth.
Respecting the People
Respect and good manners have a positive effect on relationships with customers and coworkers alike. The ethical reasoning for remaining respectful relates to the common good of the company and the community in general (CMI, 2014). It helps reduce turnover, promote a healthier climate, improve the quality of work, and reduce corporate losses. My personal failure in regards to this ethical duty involves losing patience with some of my customers and co-workers. I should work on the remaining collected and calm at all times in order to benefit my company and perform efficient work.
Upholding the Reputation of the Profession and the Company
This ethical duty revolves around all of the matters described above (CMI, 2014). The reputation of a professional and a company is connected, as an employee serves as the company’s representative when performing work or dealing with a customer. However, upholding this reputation is harder when the worker or the manager is not in direct contact or when the responsibility is spread among many people. For me, it is sometimes hard to perform above minimal level, when I know that individual effort would not be seen or recognized. I must work on improving my understanding of collective effort and finding inner motivation.
Reviewing my performance against the CMI code of conduct helped me spot various weaknesses in my ethical behavior at work. Having a set of rules to abide makes decision-making easier. In my point of view, a manager must never lose focus on their work and purpose, and always put the collective benefit in front of personal profit. Corporations must do the same in regards to communities and the environment, in order to promote wealth, health, and long-term stability.
Chartered Management Institute (CMI). (2014). Code of conduct and practice. Web.
Cord, R. A., & Hammond, J. D. (Eds.). (2016). Milton Friedman: Contributions to economics and public policy. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Crowther, D., & Seifi, S. (Eds.). (2018). Redefining corporate social responsibility. New York, NY: Emerald Group Publishing.
Karnani, A. (2010). The case against corporate social responsibility. The Wall Street Journal. Web.
McWilliams, A., & Siegel, D. (2001) Corporate social responsibility: a theory of the firm perspective. Academy of Management Review, 26(1), 117-127.
Unit, B. (2015). Corporate social responsibility. Web.