Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), also known as Corporate Responsibility, and Corporate Citizenship

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), also known as Corporate Responsibility, and Corporate Citizenship

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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), also known as Corporate Responsibility, and Corporate Citizenship

Because society is fundamentally based upon
performance and profit, it is necessary to impart a sense of corporate social
responsibility with regard to modern commerce. The ethical approaches of
purpose, principle and consequence are integral components of business social
performance; itemizing these contributions involves incorporating the
interests of ethics and morality within the corporate structure. These are
essential concepts that are often absent from a managerial standpoint.
Corporate social responsibility should exist within every company's
infrastructure; however, social integrity is not something that is often at
the forefront of modern day business dealings. Ethics, business and society
must work in tandem or there is no purpose for any of its existence. Unethical
practices are what create a climate of contempt and distrust, leading to
consumers harboring ill will. This is no way to run a business Ethics are
a necessary and critical ingredient in any successful enterprise1.
Establishing such ethical fortitude is not difficult if a moral and
conscientious outlook is maintaned . Ethical concerns run rampant among
various entities, posing questions along the way as to whether a particular
practice is deemed morally acceptable. Ethics sometimes get in the way of
resolving questions like: What is the ethical concern? Am I being true to
myself? Why is this bothering me? Is it my problem? What do others think? Who
else matters? 2 Establishing reasonable ethical guidelines, and therefore
appropriate corporate social responsibility, must come from a management
perspective. This the primary location where policy is derived. Utilizing the
insightful perspectives of Beauchamp et al (1996), which include purpose,
principle and consequence, there exist myriad ethical considerations in the
daily world of business, with each one presenting yet another moral dilemma:
Should the decision be made for company or personal gain? How many will reap
the benefit of individualized attention at the expense of all others? Is there
a time when an individual's interests supercede those of the masses? These are
ethical questions posed each and everyday throughout the global business and
social worlds; whether or not the right answers are acted upon is another
matter entirely. "Ethical problems of personal and public decision making are
not new. The need to undertake ethical reflection is part--indeed a central
part--of what it means to be human" (Mitcham, 1996, p. 314). Ethical
decision-making goes hand in hand with sound business judgment, yet this is
not a concept always followed. The very purpose behind ethical behavior has
some people stumped as to its true intention; while some believe it instills
the foundation of good business, others contend that it brings out nothing

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more than "an absolutist, rigid set of constraints that violate one's sense of
independent judgment" (Ruin, 1997, p. PG). In truth, ethics represent moral
perspective, which, while having a universal theme, is still quite
interpretational. In spite of the fact that each person reserves his or her
own value determination with respect to ethical behavior -- which stands for
"the character and values that determine the identity and goodness of an
individual or group" (Ruin, 1997, p. PG) -- there still remains a significant
void between what some consider to be morally acceptable and what others
believe to be otherwise. "We all have built-in ethical responses. We identify
certain actions as wrong, others as morally praiseworthy. The values of
honesty, promise- keeping, truth-telling, benevolence and justice, endure
because they are essential to the social fabric of human existence. Without
certain fundamental principles of fair dealing and mutual respect, business
would be impossible" (Ruin, 1997, p. PG). Establishing and maintaining
corporate ethics is indeed principle to continued success, both on a personal
and professional level. Beauchamp et al (1996) provide reminders that constant
nurturing of moral judgment and a specific code of ethics is in order as a
means by which to perpetuate the positive image necessary to uphold such
policy. "&The critics of principlism have failed to make a compelling case
against its theoretical or practical adequacy as an ethical approach" (Lustig,
1992, p. 487). The primary elements of such nurturing include having a clear
and concise forthrightness, which is substantiated by culture; appropriate and
applicable conformity with regard to difficult situations; managerial
involvement and awareness on ethics issues; a nurturing program that is
wholeheartedly supported by top management; and staff involvement. These
concepts, which are both interrelated and individual at the same time,
represent a complete quest toward ethical decision-making. "No one element can
create or sustain ethical management; and weakness in one element could
undermine the whole effort" (Ruin, 1997, p. PG). One can easily surmise from
Beauchamp et al (1996) that diversity is truly key to corporate social
responsibility; however, not all businesses are managed in such a manner. "It
is not our task to defend the validity of moral reasoning; its defense has
been the task of moral philosophers for generations, and we have nothing
original to add. We also find it unnecessary to point out the fallacies in the
line of argument regarding the claim that business has a special ethic."
(Quinn et al, 1995, p. 22). With the ever-changing workforce, it is imperative
that companies open themselves up to reorganization that previously had not
existed within the industry. Such applications of contemporary modification
include the continued application of ethical and moral decision-making
processes. These changes, however, are not only representative of the
perpetual flow of time; rather, they are also indicative of a more
compassionate view towards all components of the business world.
Distinguishing these moral and ethical actions presses one to determine if the
actions are right or wrong based solely upon to what one is accustomed. This,
then, begs the question that asks what denotes right and wrong? Unlike in
other social circles where ethical behavior is dependent upon the social
customs imbedded in such actions, Beauchamp et al (1996) indicate that there
exists a clear path of morality to follow when it comes to the corporate
world. Not to follow this path would reap severe consequences upon the
business that ignored the inherent responsibilities associated with corporate
commerce. "The moral argument that helps managers choose among competing
duties based upon the best consequences must inevitably oblige managers 'to do
that which is best.' Discussions about stock price movements, instrumental
ethics, and shareholder wealth obscure the true moral argument" (Quinn et al,
1995, p. 22). Determining what constitutes values is the fundamental purpose
of corporate social responsibility. Given the fact that all of humanity must
coexist on the same planet, there has to be a modicum of consideration with
regard to business values. If not, then there would be no sense of tolerance
or respect for individual life. People have to abide by an ethical code to
ensure proper behavior among the world s population. Yet, again, who is to
determine what this corporate ethical code will represent, and who is to say
that all commerce must follow it? Clearly, defining ethics is to define man s
proper values and interests, a concept that Beauchamp et al contends must
exist within the framework of all business infrastructures.

Beauchamp, T., &Bowie, N. E. (1996). Ethical Theory And Business. (Englewood
Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall).

Lustig, B. Andrew (1992, October). The method of 'principlism': a critique of the critique. The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, vol. 17, pp. 487(14).

Mitcham, Carl (1996, March). Technology and ethics: From expertise to public participation. The World &I, vol. 11, pp.

Ruin, Joseph Eby (1997, December). Importance of business ethics. New
Straits Times, pp. PG.

*PG denotes page number taken from an online electronic source. The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Oct 1992 v17 n5 p487(14) The method of 'principlism': a critique of the critique. (Principles and Patients) B. Andrew Lustig.
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