Tips, advice and musings to help you improve your management
and leadership skills
February 10, 2016
Whether you are flipping through a business magazine, or reading the latest industry articles online, you undoubtedly come across certain organisations that stand out from the rest.
It is hard enough to keep a firm in business and profitable, much less to make it the envy of industry peers. Learn More
November 11, 2015
In today’s transparent world, it is more important than ever for an organisation to run its business ethically.
That requires not only specific policies to be put in effect, but the participation of every single employee, from the CEO to the janitor, to act according to the set upon rules and regulations. Learn More
January 30, 2015
It is important for managers to assess their company’s contributions to their communities.
Philanthropic initiatives that give back don’t only benefit local communities and organisations, but also the organisation, as well. When businesses give back, whether through volunteering or donating, they promote their services and name in the community, thus increasing their customer base and sales. There is no better marketing for an organisation than supporting its community. Learn More
We’ve spent quite a bit of time this week reviewing not only the different types of social responsibility, but how it’s perceived by the public as well. Some people support it and others are against it. We’re going to look at one more aspect of corporate social responsibility before giving it a rest for a bit, and that is how organisations actually approach the issue themselves.
You’re going to find that most organisations take one of 4 approaches. They’ll either:
Companies who stand in the way of, or obstruct, social responsibility are usually those with the most questionable ethical practices. These organisations won’t take responsibility for the harm they’ve caused the environment and might even attempt to bribe others to support them, even if their goals don’t have the welfare of the general public in mind.
Organisations who take a defensive stance will make the smallest contribution to the public or environment that is possible but insist that they are in business to turn a profit, no support others. For example, in the US many casinos place advertisements about the addictive hazards of gambling within their buildings, which shows they care about the public at large. But do they? Those same casinos with buildings in other countries may not be required to place the same signs – so they won’t.
A company that merely accomodates social responsibility will particpate actively, but only when asked. In short, someone from the charitable organisation needs to physically knock on the door, pinpoint a contact, and make a plea. They’ll usually be met with a positive response, but would not have received the same support had they waited for the corporation to act first. In other words, don’t hold your breath waiting for these companies to wake up.
Proactive organisations are the best to deal with. They have strong missions and goals that support not only their own agendas but the public at large. One of the best examples is the McDonald’s corporation and it’s support of the public through the Ronald McDonald House and several other organisations have followed suit.
What type of stance does your organisation take towards social responsibility? As a manager, are you supportive of the stance your organisation takes?
The other day we began discussing social responsibility and the different types of people that an organisation might have to answer to during the course of operation: organisational stakeholders, the environment, and the general public. I hope you really won’t be surprised to hear that while many people support corporate social responsibility, others do not. Let’s take a brief look at why.
Those who argue that social responsibility should exist are usually advocates for the environment or for society. They claim that many of the problems in the world today are caused by large organisations. Some of these problems include pollution and unemployment. Supporters claim that organisations should be held just as accountable as individual members of society, all of which make contributions to the overall welfare of the public. They also argue that most organisations have a profit margin that puts them in a position to make a larger contribution than the average individual.
Those who are against social responsibility make valid points as well. They feel as though the purpose of a business is to help owners earn a profit and that businessowners should have a choice as to how they spend that money. Others are afraid that businesses, many of which seem to have an incredible amount of power over society to being with, will only become more powerful if they are allowed or forced to make visible social contributions. It’s also unfair to ask a company to make a quality decision about which charitable organisations to support knowing that so many exist.
Do your management training courses cover the importance of social responsibility in the workplace? If not, consider whether or not they should. Your management teams and employees should have a clear vision of your social goals and missions. Having one will make it much easier for them to respond to critiques or questions if a client should ever pose one.
Every company, no matter what its size, has a certain level of social responsibility (whether the CEO’s want to admit it or not). Everything you do has an impact on society as a whole, whehter that impact is small or widely recognized. It’s important to understand the different types of corporate social responsibility, of which there are three main categories:
Organisational stakeholders are people, whether individuals or other organisations, who are directly impacted by the actions a company takes. Organisational stakeholders are made up of creditors, suppliers, employees, owners, the government, and a number of others. The actions a company often focus on their main stakeholders and how they would respond. For example, a company that considers their customers amongst their main stakeholders would always strive to treat them as fairly as possible.
The natural environment is another area in which organisations have social responsibility. Responsibility towards the environment pertains to matters concerning pollution, the disposal of waste, and anything else that might impact the world we live in. Many companies now have departments dedicated towards making sure their operations have as little impact on the environment as possible.
There are a few people and organisations who believe that major corporations should be responsible for the general welfare of the community at large. This means hosting events for the public, making financial contributions to charitable organisations, or helping to improve the public education system.
Some of these areas of social responsibility, such as general welfare, are the subject of considerable controversy. In the coming weeks we’ll take a closer look of the arguments for and against social responsibility as well as how companies can approach their goals as they apply to social responsibility.
In the meantime, take a step back and look at your organisation. Are you, as a manager, an organisational stakeholder? What about your employees and customers? Does your organisation take your concerns into consideration? Share your thoughts. I’d love to hear what you think!