Many debates have taken place over the topic of corporate social responsibility since the late 20thcentury. Initially, Bowen (1953) wrote an influential book titled Social Responsibilities of the Businessman which delineated the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Many believe that social responsibility is vital to the success or failure of a multinational corporation.
More specifically, social responsibility is the process whereby people function as good citizens and are sensitive to their surroundings from a political, economical, environmental, technological, and social perspective. For example, a multinational corporation that pollutes the host country’s environment is not operating in a socially responsible manner.
It is a reality that many businesses are facing a number of challenges in their approach to CSR. The argument that a firm has social responsibilities has been accepted on a global level. Over the years, many researchers have conducted studies on this indispensable topic. Some researchers explain how society and business, social issues management, public policy and business, stakeholder management, corporate accountability are just some of the terms used to describe the phenomena related to corporate responsibility in society.
As corporations and organizations become more powerful both nationally and internationally, it is imperative for managers to take into consideration the impact of CSR on all aspects of a nation. Furthermore, managers should not think CSR as an extra activity but as an actual way of doing business. They should not consider it as an optional activity but as part of management’s operations. The companies should also show in their balance sheets the amounts they have spent on social obligations.This paradigm shift from focusing merely on profits to focusing on CSR for managers is a notion that should be addressed not only in management education but also in management training.
Tensions often exist in firms between commitments to social responsibility and commitments to maximize profits for shareholders. Some managers traditionally focused on the profit dimension; the new challenge is to integrate the social and ecological dimension in the strategy of the company. The social dimension includes a variety of aspects concerning the impact of company operations on human beings inside and outside the organization, such as good labor relations, health and safety, etc. The ecological dimension relates to the effects of company operations on the natural environment.
In order to promote the importance of CSR, organizations should implement CSR trainings and more importantly, CSR should be one of the core values of an organization.
Task: Drawing on the material in the background readings and doing additional research, please prepare a 3- to 4-page paper (not including the cover and reference pages) in which you:
Explain the short-term and long-term implications of CSR.
Discuss how Timberland has embraced CSR. Provide examples.
What recommendations do you have for companies who have not yet embraced CSR?