Case 7

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Was the lunchtime initiative in 1999 during the Kosovo crisis, a sign for this vast multinational to serve the challenges of diversity internally and externally?

The lunchtime initiative during the Kosovo crisis in 1999 was a great opportunity for Microsoft to change both internally and externally. In 1999, Microsoft’s share price dropped after Anti-trust law suits and a reputation of being a company that destroys small businesses with monopolistic policies. At that time Microsoft had a Community Affairs department, but they didn’t have a corporate social responsibly strategy. At lunchtime in 1999, some employees for Microsoft at the European office in Paris were talking about the refugee crisis in Kosovo, Serbia. The Microsoft employees thought that there was definitely a way to help the suffering refugees. Microsoft teamed with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to help with developing a modern registration system for the displaced refugees of Kosovo. This was the beginning of Microsoft new CSR strategy. Internally, employees thought patterns started to change to become more socially conscience. Microsoft began worrying about its corporate citizenship. Externally, Microsoft’s new corporate social responsibility strategy along with its vast company resources, allowed it to create the innovative solution that was so valuable to refugees in Kosovo and around the world. Microsoft’s partnership with the UNHCR also led to great publicity. Revenue more than doubled after the announcement of the partnership due to all the good publicity. The lunchtime initiative served to shape Microsoft into the socially responsible company. It allowed Microsoft to be a pioneer in corporate social responsibility. If Microsoft didn’t change its reputation after 1999 it would not be the company it is today.

External resource: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/features/2000/jul00/07-06unhcr.aspx
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