Free Ethical Issues and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Essay Sample
Reflection on Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility
Ethical issues and corporate social responsibility (CSR) have become critical in business as stakeholders expectations evolve. Companies that wish to remain sustainable and profitable for the long haul must accept CSR and ethics as essential parts of their operations. This paper will reflect on the various concepts and activities covered in the course, their impact on my understanding of ethics and CSR and the differences among CSR, legality, and ethics in business.
CSR is a business approach that encourages organizations to consider their impact on the society and the environment within which they operate. It encompasses variables such as economic, environmental, and social benefits. As such, CSR focuses on how enterprises affect their environment and ways through which they can limit their negative consequences. Legality, on the other hand, refers to the laws and regulations that each nation creates to guide enterprises on how to conduct business. Ethics refer to the principles and moral problems that emerge in the corporate environment. Week one activities set the foundation for my understanding of ethics, especially when I participated in the creation of the class code of ethics. The complexities that emerged as the students attempted to include various contributions outlined the issues people in corporations face when making ethical decisions. Although CSR, ethics and the legality have become pivotal to corporations strategies, only the legality is a must to observe.CSR and ethics are optional because there is no external body to enforce them in case companies decide not to incorporate them into their operations. Despite the CSR and ethics being optional, the failure to observe them leads to the demise of businesses. After several scandals rocked companies that violated ethical standards, the line between ethics and legality has become thin as the enactment of laws that demand the establishment of ethical codes of ethics has taken place. The case of Enron in week two is a superb example of unethical decisions that led to strict legal requirements for corporations to strengthen their corporate governance structures. I realized that although unethical conduct may offer short-term gains, such benefits are not sustainable and may eventually transform into failures. Such a lesson is vital because it will empower me in my future endeavors in business to ensure the application of ethics in every aspect.
At the beginning of the course, my understanding of CSR was narrow. I thought that CSR was providing finances to communities to improve the livelihoods of the citizens. However, after going through the classes, I realized that it was difficult in practice than it sounded in theory. One crucial takeaway lesson from week three is the holistic approach that companies should take when it comes to CSR. As such, corporations should go beyond legal compliance and deal with ethical values as well.
When I started the lessons, ethical decision-making seemed like an easy task. However, after week four readings and activities, I learned that it requires various considerations and a structured approach. It dawned on me that the complexities surrounding ethical decision-making in organizations necessitate the use of a framework to ensure that the outcome is accommodative of all the concerns and reflect an objective process. The ideal process involves the consideration all facts, the identification of ethical issues, the effects of decisions on all stakeholders, and the determination of the appropriate action.
Initially, I thought ethics in business meant doing the right thing, which was easy to accomplish. However, I realized that there exist ethical dilemmas that are tedious to solve and require rigorous decision-making processes. For example, in week five, I learned about the existence of many ethical theories that seems to contradict each other, which complicate ethical choices. As such, my lesson at the end was that combining various ethical approaches can help make an inclusive moral decision.
Another vital lesson from the coursework was that groups could compromise personal ethical decisions. For instance, the line experiment in week six revealed that although individuals had made the right choice, they later changed their views because the majority of their group members had different perspectives.
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In week seven, the coursework enlightened me that CSR entails social issues affecting communities, their economic well-being, and environmental conservation. However, corporations may choose all, two or one of these elements of CSR. The knowledge about the choices impacted me the most because it will help me identify the most committed firms. Those with more components of CSR are likely to have serious commitments than those with one or two.
Week eight learning taught me a valuable lesson that being fair, diverse, and non-discriminatory is part of the process to ensure the workplace is ethical. Additionally, it became evident that ethics and CSR do not only apply to external stakeholders but also internal ones such as employees.
One of the activities in week nine was the social responsibility project. While participating in it, I improved my understanding of how CSR connects to business objectives. It became clear that corporations with a robust CSR program have motivated and loyal employees who are less likely to leave. Such companies also become favorite work destinations for the best talent.
Week ten lessons enlightened me on the privacy issues the use of technology can create when monitoring employees. I realized that although it is right for employers to monitor their workers to ensure appropriate use of resources and optimal performance, some of the technological use violates their rights privacy. For example, tracking heart rate, sleep patterns, and alcohol consumption while not at work is unethical.
In week 11, I learned unethical aspects that can emerge in marketing include selling faulty products, inflating prices, targeting vulnerable populations and using false advertisements. Such lessons are invaluable in my preparation for future work as I strive to promote ethics in the organizations for which I will work.
I also learned that CSR is not just a requirement to satisfy stakeholders welfare. For instance, companies that benefit most from implementing CSR are those that go beyond the expectation and make CSR a measurable business outcome. Such an approach shows a genuine concern to impact the society positively. One of the companies that I learned about in my week 12 activities was the Laughing Man Coffee. The company exemplifies the ideals of CSR. The founder, Hugh Jackson views giving back to the society as a vital part of his business. He has aligned his personal values with the companys CSR, which ensures that the existence of the company is the embodiment of the values that drive his life. Consequently, the genuine concern for CSR is likely to result in customer satisfaction, loyalty, and high profitability. The lesson from the company is that for CSR to work, it must genuinely attempt to solve societal problems.
In conclusion, the coursework improved my understanding of CSR, ethics, and legality tremendously. Case studies such as that concerning Enron highlighted the impact of ethical decisions on organizations. Additionally, I gained new insights on how embracing the totality of CSR can be beneficial. Exposure to a decision-making model was another lesson from the semesters work. The complexities of ethical theories, their impact on decisions, group impact on the individual decision and various components of CSR became apparent by the end of the coursework. Consideration for internal stakeholders, the connection between CSR and business outcomes, the impact of technology on ethics, ethical issues in marketing and genuine implementation of CSR were some of the lessons that improved by knowledge of the course concepts.