Corporate Social Responsibility

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Customers are the end users of a company’s goods and services (1). They are possibly the largest stakeholder group that can be greatly affected by corporate social irresponsibility. They depend on businesses to meet their expectations, and businesses depend on them to bring them revenue. When customers place a value on a company’s goods and services, they trust that the business will give them what they are paying for. If the company does not perform to customers’ expectations, they will place a reputation on the company, and possibly spread that reputation amongst other customers of that same company. An example of how a customer can be affected by corporate social irresponsibility is the Odwalla Inc. e. coli outbreak. In 1996, there were many bottles of apple juice infected with bacteria that was manufactured by Odwalla Inc. (2). Nearly sixty-six individuals were infected with the bacteria and there was one death of a sixteen month old girl (2). Odwalla wanted to be known individually for being a natural juice manufacturer, but since this unfortunate incident they have begun to pasteurize their apple juice similar to most other companies in their market (2). The families that were affected are most likely boycotting the Odwalla Inc. products, along with their friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. Even the customers that were not directly involved with the e. coli poisoning will think twice before purchasing apple juice from Odwalla. Although Odwalla agreed to pay for the surviving victims’ medical bills (2), some will suffer kidney damage for the rest of their lives. Another example of how social irresponsibility can affect customers is by being taken advantage of through a company’s technological know-how. One of our group members brought their computer to a Compaq store to get fixed. She didn’t know anything about computers then, and was not exactly sure what was wrong with it. The Compaq computer technician looked at it, and wrote a report on what needed to be fixed, however the report contained huge technical words that she didn’t understand! After taking the same report to another computer store, the technician had told her that those terms don’t even exist! She was misled by Compaq into paying for “fake technical problems” that don’t exist. It is very easy for technological companies to cheat customers out of their money because most people are not t...

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...the customer. With this in mind, if there is a problem or a defect with a product, often times the customer will first complain to the retailer from which they bought it from, and the retailer would have to deal with arranging a new product to be sent from the manufacturer. Therefore, retailers could realize sales returns, a bad reputation, and overall customer dissatisfaction all at the expense of a socially irresponsible company that supplied them with faulty merchandise. An example of this would be the Source Perrier case in 1990 (6). Perrier bottles of water were found to be contaminated with benzene, a chemical that causes cancer in animals (6). At first, Perrier did not own up to this incident and claimed that the “contamination resulted from an isolated incident” (6). Soonafter, more contaminated bottles were found overseas, which forced Perrier to recall the bottles of water all around the world (6). Wholesalers, retailers, and distributors of Source Perrier water was greatly affected by this. Sales dropped tremendously. Until this incident, Perrier was the leading imported water company, so retailers had huge amounts of stock that was recalled which were a waste of costs.

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