Business Success and Social Responsibility in an International Context
Social values are fundamental to the development of a healthy workplace culture (Desjardins, 2014). This is a fact that businesses aim at maximizing profits. But then there is a question of what are the limits of the business operations that decide the maximization of profit keeping in mind social responsibility and business ethics. Businesses have to obey by the laws put forward by legal authorities and there are penalties when these laws are not abided by. But business ethics are more of a matter of choice than something that is forced on organizations. Organization have the choice to either run programs related to Corporate Social
Responsibility (CSR). CSR might be seen as a time and money consuming practice by many but this is not what it actually is. Each organization can benefit from CSR programs by creating a positive impact on its present and prospective customers. These customers are the ones who bring in profits to these businesses. Business should have parallel strategies of economic progress and social responsibility in my opinion. In this paper I would be discussing different aspects of the business productivity and success related to its CSR programs.
Impact on Customers
In the present global world, the power has shifted from the producers to the customers (Raaij, 1998). In today’s market economy the “customer first” phenomenon is a decisive factor in a company success. Companies need to outreach their customers and ask them for guidance rather than just opinions. Customers on the other hand are more educated and aware of their environment than they were before. These customers are aware of the changes that are taking around them in the form of global warming, poverty around the world and the troubles people in war torn countries are facing. These customers want the big corporations to get involved in causes like protecting the environment and other social call. Internet has proved to be a medium that cannot be censored by governments and citizens of a country are able to get the firsthand information regarding corporations if they fail to follow ethical standards. Companies have to be vigilant and keep in mind what ethical and social standards their loyal customer want them to adopt to. This is why companies introduce CSR programs. These programs are not solely out of a pain for the society but to present a positive face in the eyes of their customers.
Research has indicated that the ethical behavior and addressing social responsibility issues by a company has a positive influence on customer’s purchasing behavior (Carrigan & Attalla, 2001). This is what companies want, to influence the purchasing behavior of their customers. If they can get this goal by offering something back to the same communities that their customers care for then be it. This could prove to be a competitive advantage from business point of view in favor of companies engaging in SCR programs.
Each business has humans working for them. Each employee spends a good amount of time at their job. The job experience and the identity of the business that the employee works for impact the identity of the same employee and their self-concept. The working environment that is in accordance with ethical standards helps the employees experience a good time. This has positive impact on their personality and working behavior (Somers, 2001. On the other hand if a fails to follow ethical standard, they fail to win the trust of their employees. In my opinion the welfare of the employees in an organization also comes under social responsibility of that organization. Different organizations must make sure that they provide the best possible working environment to their employees. They should have social welfare programs in place for their employees. Especially in developing and underdeveloped it becomes a primary responsibility of an organization to help its workers in regards to their health and education for their children because these employees do not get enough salaries to fulfil all their needs and the government on the other hand may or may not provide free educational and health facilities.
The condition of employees is related to the way they behave at work. So if the employees feel that they have been fairly treated at their work, they would be able to create a positive bond to their organization and would work from their heart. This would positively impact the productivity of the business and hence result in profitability.
Organization have a critical decision to make when they are producing goods for their customers. What would be the environmental cost of the product they are producing? Would it be environmentally sustainable? How are we going to protect the environment for our future generations? All these questions are of fundamental importance because the world environment is changing rapidly and global warming has emerged as a fact. No doubt that industry has been playing an important role in the present scientific age. New forms of cures are the product of technological advancement. But then there are companies who do not fulfil their social responsibility towards the shared environment and may produce wastes that endanger the ecosystems of a specific place in the short term and the whole of the environment in the long run. Businesses should not forget that they get all the raw material from the world that they might be destroying. For a sustainable economic growth, businesses must fulfil their responsibilities towards environment.
Businesses hire a large amount of people from the communities they operate in. These businesses operate among these communities. Therefore, for smooth operations, businesses introduce CSR programs to convey a message of welfare to these communities. These CSR programs help prevent community unrest where these communities may protest against the some or all operations of the businesses. This could result in halting the operations temporarily or permanent.
Helping host communities is a form of social investment. Businesses should not just enjoy the benefits that they get from the communities in the form of social support and employees. They should also play a role towards the development of these communities (Ismail, 2009). They should help in the establishment of educational and health facilities to help the community members get a god education and better health. If these communities prosper, the businesses working in them get fresh and innovative people working for them. Helping host communities is a form of social investment.
I would like to conclude my discussion by pointing out the relation between social responsibility of businesses and how it can impact them succeed. Businesses must be able to assess the needs of the customers, employees, environment and the communities they are present in. Then they must have programs that deal productively with these needs. They might need the expenditure of precious financial resource but they will surely have financial and social returns in the long term.