Strategy and Social Responsibility

Introduction

Global business is the modern form of business in this 21st century. Global business involves the interaction of people from different cultures, societies, and diverse background. This paper will therefore try to identify different theories which govern ethics in a business setting, managing across cultures and across a diverse workforce in a global setting. Finally, it will bring a summary of all these issues.

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In the case of business ethics for instance, businessmen or women are expected to adjust their behaviors to suit their business deals because the ethical nature of those they must interact with may be different from those existing in their own society. Though these values may be different, they are sometimes good and right and they can be borrowed in the business organization. Interactions are good for developing the intercultural understandings. It is important for a human resource manager to create a climate of humanness and equality in the business.

Corporate social responsibility is defined as the norms or standards of behavior that guide moral choices about the conduct of the personnel in a business organization and the relationship with its external publics. In essence the main goal of corporate social responsibility is to ensure that there is enough safety of the employees, management and the external publics from suffering the consequences from the business activities of the particular organization.

Corporate Social Responsibility and Modern Business Organizations

Business ethics along with social responsibility defines what the organization ought to do in the management of the business in order to be seen as responsible not only by the employees but by external publics and other stakeholders of the organization. Further research reveals that, the social responsibility of a business organization towards the society merits considerations in all the faces of strategic management, whereby the organization must exercise strategic planning through environmental and organizational appraisal in order to provide answers to what an organization might do and what it can do (United Nations, 2001).

The span of corporate social responsibility in the modern business environment is extensive and can be measured from different perspectives. In this case the organizations’ management should ensure that several ethical considerations must be balanced for the business to be successful in its operations and relations with its employees and the surroundings of its business, this includes;

Corporate communication; which is considered as a process that is used to facilitate the exchange of information and knowledge of the enterprise with its internal and external publics as well as other individuals that have a direct relationship with the organization. This practice is normally applied in the internal communications management as from the sharing of the knowledge to decision making with employees, suppliers, investors and the firms partners. The corporate communication is normally used to build the firm’s reputation among its stakeholders. This communication involves the following: change management, issue management, corporate social responsibility, crisis communication and internal relations.

The objectives of corporate communications is to inform and influence other people, promote policy change, raise funds, to monitor progress and to revise plans and to leave experience documented for the future of the firm. An enterprise needs a good internal communication system for it to build a consistent messages and analysis of its progress, to provide accurate and timely information to those who need it and to enable it develop an institutional memory and experience (Mahoney, 1999).

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The firm should also design management structures which help in the flow of information, meaning it should avoid overloading managers and expecting them to be the providers of information and lastly the firm should have written records including the assumptions that they make about their work this point makes it clear that one should not assume that everyone else in the company thinks in the same way he does whereby one should make sure that key decisions are recorded such as points of agreement reached during project meetings.

Another corporate social responsibility issue in business is the social reaction of the organization that is; the manager should create a positive work place environment that will have its employees engaged and encouraged to attain high performances. The respective managers should do this by setting the right expectations from each department of the organization; for instance. The manager should encourage the workers into productive work by rewarding the best performance through increment of the payment thus recognition of the workforce hard work applied by the employee. For any business organization to maximize the individual performance, the manager should have job security concerns for his employees, under which when an employee is confident of his or her job security at the workplace, his performance is far much better than a case where he or she is not sure of being retained in the next year.

The managers’ impact on employee satisfaction is great and immeasurable. It is therefore important that managers look for convenient, cost-conscious and appreciated ways of motivation in order to build a dynamic, committed and workforce that will result in better productivity. In various business organizations, we find that, many employees are neglected and are most often demoralized, not motivated in performing their duties in the particular organization, therefore business managers need to find a way that their employees are enabled to get a frequent and significant recognition from their employers. Therefore, the manager should come up with a system to re-examine the performance of his employees. This system should include a precise communication that will bring understanding between the employees and the management team, under which the employees will appreciate the principles on which they are appraised thus, encouraging justice and equal opportunities in the organization (Kotler and Armstrong, 1999).

The success of an organization basically depends on the employees using their full skills and knowledge in their production therefore these employees require motivation. The employee Motivation normally involves, the compensation system which is the activity of giving the employees what they really want most from work, it therefore makes the manager get his expectations from the employees, this expectations may include, production of quality goods and services. Motivation enables the employees to have their goals in the organization achieved; they will have a positive perspective on their position in the organization (Corporate Social Responsibility, 2008). Motivation also creates the influence to change and build employees self-esteem and capacity to work. The managers have the responsibility of motivating workers, when the organizational structure is experiencing changes, the manager should come up with a plan that will define the environmental factors that will be able to bring an atmosphere of integrity, honesty, and confidence to the employees.

Corporate social responsibility can also be considered in the dimension of social responsiveness that is the organization must respond to the needs of the community. Therefore the management should adopt a process that is meant to define the actual tactics to be utilized in achieving its goals. The appropriate process is known as the marketing mix, it carries four elements which include; Product, this is where organization’s aim will be to define the characteristics of its products that will enable the goods to meet the consumer needs, Price, which is the decision on how the company should price its products, Promotion, this is a process through which the organization should make its products known to its customers and lastly the Place, an element which is the mechanism through which the goods of an organization will be moved from the organization to its consumers.

For the organization to achieve recognition of its products through which its marketing opportunities have chances to enlarge, then it should be able to have its target consumers, this is normally achieved depending on the following factors; the consumers desires and preferences for its products, geographical factors, location, gender and also age, these factors should be determined before the organization make a decision on a particular market segmentation which will later give its products a marketing opportunity. This segmentation should match differences in the buying behavior of the customers under which the firm should consider the product competition in the market, by stating plans on how organization will overcome the competitors’ strength through which it analyzes the number of competitors, their size, location and their strengths and weaknesses in the market (Cullen and Parboteeah, 2005).

Under market segmentation, the firm should be able to state what the customers seek in its products, whether it is the quality, price or convenience, through this it will be able to identify the needs and the benefits that its customers will gain from the products. For the firm’s marketing mix the following elements can be applied: product-it should ensure that before the product is promoted into the market, the characteristics of the products should be well defined to meet the needs of the consumers, the packaging of the product should be attractive to entice the customers to buy the product, the quality of the product should be perfect that is it should be the quality that matches with the prescription of the product in the market so that it can maintain its consumers who are not misled with the misrepresentation of the qualities with its competitors.

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Public relations should be considered as another ethical issue applied in business. It is the process of correcting the reputation of the organization to the targeted consumers with the current issues of the organization. This normally involves the evaluation of public and personal opinions over a particular issue, formulation of procedures related to communication between the organization and consumers, and co-ordination of communication programs within and external the particular departments of the organization. The use of public relations is, to enhance a positive awareness of the organization to the public. Public relations-this should be applied in the firm which will lead to a sustained and a planned effort in establishing and bringing understanding between the organization and its consumers.

The other ethical factor to be considered in business is culture, which means the environment surrounding an employee at work; this is meant to shape the relationship of an employee and his work in an organization. Culture represents an employee’s personality that carries principles, attitude, fundamental interests, knowledge, and background that create a person’s behavior.

Culture is particularly inclined by the organization’s management team due to the roles in decision-making and strategic direction they impose in the organization. The manager should put in mind that culture is learned thus employees are capable of learning how to perform, employees value rewards that are not associated with behaviors since they have different needs, shared rewards from co-workers or have their most important needs met in their departments or project teams (Kaliski, 2001).

Corporate Social responsibility and Ethical theories

It should clearly be noted that corporate social responsibility borrows a lot from business ethics and therefore several ethical theories aids firms in practicing what is regarded to be best policies that fits both internal and external business environments. Such theories include the following;

Consequential theory

This theory simply means the consequences that an action produces. Normally, the ratio of the evil to good that the action produces influences how the action is judged, whether moral or immoral. This has to do with the non moral consequences of the action done. The person involved usually defines what is evil or good and what is right or wrong. Good and evil, right and wrong. Impersonal egoism stipulates that people have to act in their best interests as long as it is for the best of others in terms of long term purposes. Personal egoism stipulates how an individual should act but not how others should act. This means that he or she should act to his or her own long term interests. Ethical egoism doesn’t stipulate how others have to act but how an individual has to act in a way that his or her actions produce what are in his or her own best long term interests. Therefore, this theory guides organizations in choosing the right practices and policies to be implemented.

Situation Ethics theory

There are no absolutes to this theory and therefore organizations’ decisions are made basing on the ‘middle ground’. There are guidelines that govern this middle ground decision making. These include the Sophia, agape and kairos techniques. The agape means absolute love; Sophia is the guidelines in general while kairos means the moment the action took place (Berman and Evans, 1998).

Utilitarianism theory

Utilitarianism holds that, the moral worth of a practice or an action is determined solely determined by the practice or action of the organization or individual involved. What is pleasurably happy is intrinsically good in some way. In this case, promotion of the best long term interests of the people is the moral standard of the organization. Most people look at that other things such as knowledge, beauty and power as intrinsically useful for the business growth. Critics however point out that it is difficult to quantify happiness or measure cost benefits of their actions.

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Values Clarification theory

It emphasizes that what is important is awareness of organizations own values and beliefs. In this case the beliefs themselves are not as important as the awareness of the whole organization. This implies that a value is not what someone ought to do but what he wants to do. In other words, what he or she likes to do literally equate feelings of the values.This theory puts much emphasis on the person’s feelings within the organizational structure. It projects that there are no ethical absolutes or moral absolutes but only relativity in issues in the organization. This is what one can term as philosophical relativism; i.e. what is right or wrong in a context is relative to the individual inside or outside the organization. It uses the Socratic Method to solve ethical issues and questions within the organizations

Teleological theory

It consists of guiding principle-the good life-in which acts are evaluated in terms of fulfilling this principle. Teleological theory involves the inclusion of norms and pluralities that are always governing an organization. This is the area of human experience. This means that an action that is not good in one of the absolutes will always remain to be evil even in the other absolutes such that the absolutes never conflict with each other in this theory. It therefore means that things are done because they are right and not because they give us some amount of pleasure. Otherwise people just do what is right and leave the results to God who is sovereign and knows the future. After the consequences of the actions are finally out, they cannot be narrowed down to the individual who is believed to have been the course (Barnett, Bass, Brown and Hebert, 1998).

Public relations should be considered as another ethical issue applied in business. It is the process of correcting the reputation of the organization to the targeted consumers with the current issues of the organization. This normally involves the evaluation of public and personal opinions over a particular issue, formulation of procedures related to communication between the organization and consumers, and co-ordination of communication programs within and external the particular departments of the organization. The use of public relations is, to enhance a positive awareness of the organization to the public. Public relations-this should be applied in the firm which will lead to a sustained and a planned effort in establishing and bringing understanding between the organization and its consumers.

The other ethical factor to be considered in business is culture, which means the environment surrounding an employee at work, this is meant to shape the relationship of an employee and his work in an organization. Culture represents an employee’s personality that carries principles, attitude, fundamental interests, knowledge, and background that create a person’s behavior.

Culture is particularly inclined by the organization’s management team due to the roles in decision-making and strategic direction they impose in the organization. The manger should put in mind that culture is learned thus employees are capable of learning how to perform, employees value rewards that are not associated with behaviors since they have different needs, shared rewards from co-workers or have their most important needs met in their departments or project teams.

Business ethics is crucial to any organization and therefore the management should give much attention in ensuring that the business is conducted in a fair and an objective manner. This means the needs of the community should be met while the organizational goals are achieved without much difficulty.

Recommendations

All organizations if it needs to cope up with changing markets and increased competition in the current business world must fully adhere to the concept of corporate social responsibility. The organization policies and guidelines on corporate social responsibility must be technologically dynamic so that it can be modified as long as the technology changes.

Motivation creates the influence to change and build employees self-esteem and capacity to work; under this the managers have the responsibility of motivating their workers, when the organizational structure is experiencing changes, the manager should come up with a plan that will define the environmental factors that will be able to bring an atmosphere of integrity, honesty, and confidence to the employees

It is evident that the world economic order is ever changing and business organizations ought to change tactics by strictly following corporate social responsibility and ethical ideals that are recommended in the particular industry instead of only concentrating with merely the product or service that it offers to the market.

It should be noted that in this competitive business world, any business firm should conduct itself in a good manner which in the long run will lead to its clients being happy with their undertakings thus reaching out to a larger market share. In essence, any business firm that wishes to succeed in its undertakings ought to provide services and products that are of good quality, generally acceptable to the members of the public as well as meeting the set standards set by the local bureau of standards body

It is not ethically good for business firms to engage in deceptive behavior for instance by firms producing products that make the clients to believe that they will be satisfied but in the real sense they will not be satisfied. Such marketing activities are considered misleading since the clients will not reap the benefits that they were earlier meant to get when they first heard of the product. In business context deception by business firms may be through distortion of information regarding the product, exclusion of certain features as well as practices of marketing that are regarded to be deceptive or confusing among other deceptive actions. Many businesses are engaged in deceptive conducts by giving out information of products to customers which are not true as per say and customers always should try and safeguard themselves against such practices in order to be fully aware in the market. However, it should be noted that such responses by the customers can only be witnessed when clients shift from using the product reported to be misleading and trying other products that provides same purpose.

Conclusion

Corporate social responsibility along with business ethics is crucial to any organization and therefore the management should give much attention in ensuring that the business is conducted in a fair and an objective manner. This means the needs of the community should be met while the organizational goals are achieved without much difficulty.

Social responsibility is the in-thing for any business organization in the contemporary world. Organizations therefore have to consider ethical practices that will immensely contribute to meeting the needs and expectations of the society surrounding it as well as attaining there formulated objectives.

Reference

Barnett, T., Bass, K., Brown, F. & Hebert, J. (1998): Ethical Ideology and the Ethical Judgments of Marketing Professionals: Journal of Business Ethics, pp 719-720.

Berman, B. and Evans, R. (1998): Retail Management: A Strategic Approach: 7th Edition, New York. Prentice Hall, pp 56-78.

Corporate Social Responsibility, (2008): Web.

Cullen, J. and Parboteeah, K. (2005): Multinational management: A strategic Approach, 3rd Edition Mason; Thomson South-Western pp 43-67.

Kaliski, B. (2001): Social Responsibility and Organizational Ethics. Business and Finance, 2nd Edition, New York: Macmillan, Vol 1. Pp 44-79.

Kotler, P. and Armstrong, G. (1999): Principles of Marketing: 8th Edition. New York, Prentice-Hall, pp 72-132.

Mahoney, A. (1999): Talking about Ethics: – Association Management, March issue, pp 44-45.

United Nations (2001): Global impact: corporate leadership in the world economy. United Nations office, New York pp 45-76.

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