The Corporate Social Responsibility:
A Review of Literature
Yassin H. Yassin
UNDP, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Business organisations strive to survive by the efficient use of the factors of production and other facilities of the society. This process puts organizations in an interdependent relation with the government, the community at large and the environment. Such interdependence gives rise to a series of broader responsibilities to society in general (Mullins, 2005). Mullins further illustrates that the social responsibilities are both internal and external to the organisations.
Presently, there is an increasing concern with the social ...view middle of the document...
There is an obvious controversy as to whether the customer is right in the goods and services they choose to buy from a company. It is true that sometimes customers do not recognise the long-term harmful effects of their choices such as in the case of tobacco, milk products for babies and expensive stereo equipment in the cars when safety equipment are relegated to optional extras (Palmer and Hartley, 2002). However, it is equally true that there is no ethical basis to judge whether provision of such goods and services is right or wrong.
Galbraith (1977) says the ‘customer is the king’ is no more than a myth. He maintains that the modern organisation exercises power to the extent of shaping tastes of consumers to its products. But this power is often buried down to leave nobler causes to surface. He likens this myth with the root cause of colonialism. For colonialism, we saw, was possible only because the myth of higher moral purpose regularly concealed the reality of lower economic interests. And the same is equally true with the moral cause of the business organisation.
Mullins (2005) argues that the responsibilities to consumers may be seen as no more than a natural outcome of good business. However, there are broader social responsibilities including:
a) providing good value for money;
b) the safety and durability of products/services;
c) standard of after-sale service;
d) Long-term satisfaction – serviceability, adequate supply of products/services, and spare parts and replacement parts.
e) Fair standards of advertising and trading; and
f) Full and unambiguous information to potential consumers.
2. Employees: social responsibilities of the firms towards their employees extend beyond the terms and conditions of the contract to include: justice in treatment; democratic functioning of the organisation; training in new skills and technologies; effective personnel and employment relations policies and practices; and provision of social and leisure facilitates (Mullins, 2005).
Today, in increasing competitive markets, customers take into consideration the ethics of the employment practices exercised by a firm when evaluating alternative products (Palmer and Hartley, 2002).
3. Local Communities: firms often try to be seen as friendly to their neighbourhood. Although this might be considered a genuine concern or just an attempt to buy favour. In both cases, one might argue, the organisations will adopt a proactive tendency to community rather than to wait for long and be reactive.
4. Governments: Governments depend on the private businesses to get a sizable portion of revues through taxation. In addition, governments also depend on the business organisations to take greater roles in society and to achieve several economic and social objectives such as the regional economic development, training and limitations on the sales of tobacco, for instance.