Companies can engage in CSR activities even while they are acting in unethical ways. For example, Enron was a champion of community involvement, but used off-balance-sheet partnerships to bilk investors and eventually ruin the company. Similarly Parmalat helped many Parma people and gave $2 million to restore the sixteenth- century Correggio frescoes at Parma Cathedral. But he diverted hundreds of millions from publicly held Parmalat to family owned companies like soccer team Parma AC and Parmatour . Companies can say one thing a nd do another .
Bullet 1 from Fleming, John E. (2004). Corporate citizenship revisited. AOM Newsletter , 35(1): 4. A 2002 U . S . poll conducted by the Wall Street Journal/NBC showed public esteem for business leaders dropped following reports that companies like Enron, Andersen, and others. Fifty seven percent of respondents said corporate standards and values dropped in the past 20 years compared with 38% who said they were the same. This compares to 1998 when respondents’ reports were 53 – 42%. They proportionately said government should regulate business, and that has occurred, for example Sarbanes-Oxley. From: Harwood, John. (2002, Apr il 11). Public’s esteem for business falls in wake of Enron scandal. WSJ , D5. Corporate scandals in Japan (former Mitsubishi Motors exec utive arrested on suspicion of professional negligence re: defective truck parts); Citibank turfed from Japan for irregularities. Corporate scandals also in Europe: ABB and Barnevik pay; hold kickbacks to suppliers; also make this a worldwide phenomenon .
On the left side of the continuum we see that the objective is to maximize firm’s (or individual) gains to the exclusion of all else (an example is Tyco whose CEO and CFO faced trail for larceny—converting $600 m of company assets to their own use); on the right is objective to balance social (CSR) and profit objectives .
Th ese may be activities you’ll see in your firms . Integrative philanthropy— Avon Products Inc. “ T he company for women" donates funds to breast cancer research. In Seattle, FareStart partners with Consolidated Restaurants; Pharma companies align with Operation Smile, AIDs donations .
Incorporate values in belief statements: McDonald's: “ We believe that being a good corporate citizen means treating people with fairness and integrity, sharing our success with the communities in which we do business, and being a leader on issues that affect customers ” (McDonald's Corporation, 1992). Act on values: Starbucks put resources into integrating values . Primary stakeholders are internal to the company such as owners, employees, labor unions, customers and suppliers (Clarkson, 1995). Secondary stakeholders operate external to the firm; they could be nongovernmental organizations, social activists, community groups, and governmental organizations . REI definition of social responsibility: “ Achieving commercial success in ways that honor ethical values and respect people, communities, and the natural environment ” includes ethics, community investments, corporate governance, environmental health and safety practices, sustainability, sourcing practices. Matt Hyde, Sr VP of Merchandizing and Logistics at REI said the only way we can be CSR is if we pursue commercial success — it ’ s a given that you have to make money (Nov ember 1, 2004) .
If national practice is bribery, then most companies in that nation will use bribery . If a top manager is unethical, then he/she sets a lead that others follow . When managers behave unethically, employees can be demoralized, lose faith in the organization, and even leave their jobs. Others might follow-the-leader themselves and engage in unethical behaviors. High demands for performance and profitability led Enron employees first to cut ethical corners and finally to break laws as well. According to one Enron controller, the logic was as follows: "If your boss was [fudging] and you have never worked anywhere else, you just assume that everybody fudges earnings. Once you get there and you realized how it was, do you stand up and lose your job? It was scary. It was easy to get into 'Well, everybody else is doing it, so maybe it isn't so bad.'"
Most firms are developed within a nation, borrowing their ethical practices from them . When they go international, they face new ethical challenges . NIKE Inc. was "founded on a handshake" with implicit belief that "business with all of our partners [would be] based on trust, teamwork, honesty and mutual respect. We expect all of our business partners to operate on the same principles." Nike discovered that their overseas subcontractors were not treating workers with respect, and this suggests that Nike's view of these principles and what they meant did not result in desired subcontractor behavior.
C reate a cohesive ethical program that meets multiple and sometimes conflicting demands.
F undamental honesty and adherence to the law . P roduct safety and quality, workplace health and safety precautions C onflicts of interest E mployment practices F air practices in selling and marketing products or services F inancial reporting S upplier relationships P ricing, billing, and contracting T rading in securities and/or use of insider information P ayments to obtain business A cquiring and using information about others S ecurity and political activities E nvironmental protection I ntellectual property or use of proprietary information (Business Roundtable, 1988).
Accountants have a professional code of ethics that companies rely on .
a. M aintaining or creating the opportunity for business activities . b. A ll firms should be operating according to the same principles; this produces the "level playing field" upon which many organizational leaders prefer to play . c. E thical codes are needed and are possible in a world that is interdependent on many other dimensions of business activities . d. T hey reduce operating uncertainties and, e. G rowing public interest in a global code of ethics suggests that if businesses don't develop such codes, they will be developed by other bodies that may be unfavorable to business interests.
G lobal rules are likely to emerge from a negotiation process ; they are unlikely to reflect values and habits consistent for all cultures. To the extent that these rules are developed by firms from the Westernized countries, they may not incorporate concerns for much of the world. Second, global ethics may be viewed as an end point rather than a beginning point for developing global ethics. Organizations may hide behind global codes, claiming that the absence of rules means that all behaviors are acceptable as conditions change. Organizations may/will find loopholes then use the rules in defense . A global code of ethics also may serve to depress innovation, since some will hesitate to act in the absence of clear guidelines. However, a static set of guidelines is unlikely to keep pace with globalization.
CORPORATE SOCIALRESPONSIBILITY (CSR) AND ETHICS
Definitions and Relationships Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the process by which businesses negotiate their role in society In the business world, ethics is the study of morally appropriate behaviors and decisions, examining what "should be done” Although the two are linked in most firms, CSR activities are no guarantee of ethical behavior
Recent Evidence of CSR Interest An Internet search turns up 15,000 plus response to “corporate citizenship” Journals increasingly “rate” businesses (and NGOs) on socially responsive criteria: Best place to work Most admired Best (and worst) corporate reputation
Reasons for CSR ActivitiesCSR activities are important to and evenexpected by the public And they are easily monitored worldwideCSR activities help organizations hire andretain the people they wantCSR activities contribute to businessperformance
Corporate Social Responsibility Continuum Do more than required; e.g. Integrate social engage in objectives and philanthropic business goals Fight social giving responsibility initiativesMaximize firm’s Balance profitsprofits to the and socialexclusion of all objectiveselse Do what it takes to Lead the make a Comply; industry profit; skirt do what Articulate and other the law; fly is legally social value businesses below required objectives with best social radar practices
CSR are Grounded by Opposing Objectives(Maximize Profits to Balance Profits with SocialResponsibility) and so Activities Range Widely Do what it takes to make a profit; skirt the law; fly below social radar Fight CSR initiatives Comply with legal requirements Do more than legally required, e.g., philanthropy Articulate social (CSR) objectives Integrate social objectives and business goals Lead the industry on social objectives
Businesses CSR ActivitiesPhilanthropy give money or time or in kind to charity Integrative philanthropy—select beneficiaries aligned with company interestsPhilanthropy will not enhance corporate reputationif a company fails to live up to its philanthropic image or if consumers perceive philanthropy to be manipulative
Integrate CSR GloballyIncorporate values to make it part of anarticulated belief systemAct worldwide on those values Cause-related marketing Cause-based cross sector partnershipsEngage with stakeholders Primary stakeholders Secondary stakeholders
Business Ethics DevelopmentThe cultural context influencesorganizational ethicsTop managers also influence ethicsThe combined influence of culture and topmanagement influence organizational ethicsand ethical behaviors
The Evolving Context for EthicsFrom domestic where ethics are sharedTo international where ethics are not sharedwhen companies: Make assumptions that ethics are the same Ethical absolutism—they adapt to us Ethical relativism—we adapt to themTo global which requires an integrativeapproach to ethics
Emergence of a GlobalBusiness EthicGrowing sense that responsibility for rightingsocial wrongs belongs to all organizationsGrowing business need for integrativemechanisms such as ethics Ethics reduce operating uncertainties Voluntary guidelines avoid government impositionsEthical conduct is needed in an increasinglyinterdependent world—everyone in the samegameCompanies wish to avoid problems and/or be good
Ways Companies Integrate Ethics Top management commitment in word and deed Company codes of ethics Supply chain codes Develop, monitor, enforce ethical behavior Seek external assistance
External Assistance with EthicsIndustry or professional codesCertification programs, e.g., ISO 9000Adopt/follow global codes Caux Round Table Principles
Reasons for Businesses to Engage in Development of a Global Code of Business Ethics Create the same opportunity for all businesses if there are common rules Level the playing field They are needed in an interconnected world They reduce operating uncertainties If businesses don’t collaborate, they may not like what others develop
Four Challenges to a Global Ethic Global rules emerge from negotiations and will reflect values of the strong Global rules may be viewed as an end rather than a beginning Rules can depress innovation and creativity Rules are static but globalization is dynamic