Corporate Social Responsibility

Topics: Ethics, Business ethics, Morality Pages: 26 (10147 words) Published: January 23, 2000
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY By Lori S. Mohr-Corrigan, For The Paper Store - © October 1999 VISIT -- for more information on using this paper properly! Because society is fundamentally based upon performance and profit, it is not unusual to find that it is necessary to impart a sense of corporate social responsibility with regard to contemporary commerce. The ethical approaches of purpose, principle and consequence are integral components of business social performance; itemizing these contributions finds one incorporating the interests of ethics and morality within the corporate structure, essential concepts that are often absent from a managerial standpoint. Chapters two and three of Beauchamp and Bowie's Ethical Theory And Business address the very issues of corporate social responsibility that should rightly exist within every company's infrastructure; however, the authors' enlightening contentions enable the reader to realize that social integrity is not something that is often at the forefront of modern day business dealings. Ethics, business and society must work in tandem or there is no purpose for any of its existence. Unethical practices are what harbor ill will and create a climate of contempt and distrust, which is no way to run a business, be it personal or otherwise. "…It is a necessary and critical ingredient in the successful enterprise" (Ruin, 1997, p. PG). Beauchamp et al (1996) clearly imply that establishing such ethical fortitude is not a difficult objective if one maintains a moral and conscientious outlook. Ethical concerns run rampant among various entities, posing questions along the way as to whether a particular practice is deemed morally acceptable. "Ethics sometimes get in the way of resolving questions like: What is the ethical concern? Am I being true to myself? Why is this bothering me? Is it my problem? What do others think? Who else matters?" (Ruin, 1997, p. PG). According to the book's article on this matter, establishing proper ethical guidelines -- and therefore appropriate corporate social responsibility -- must come from a management perspective, which is the primary location where policy is derived. Utilizing the insightful perspectives of Beauchamp et al (1996), which include purpose, principle and consequence, there exist myriad ethical considerations in the daily world of business, with each one presenting yet another moral dilemma: Should the decision be made for company or personal gain? How many will reap the benefit of individualized attention at the expense of all others? Is there a time when an individual's interests supercede those of the masses? These are ethical questions posed each and everyday throughout the global business and social worlds; whether or not the right answers are acted upon is another matter entirely. "Ethical problems of personal and public decision making are not new. The need to undertake ethical reflection is part--indeed a central part--of what it means to be human" (Mitcham, 1996, p. 314). Ethical decision-making goes hand in hand with sound business judgment, yet this is not a concept always followed. The very purpose behind ethical behavior has some people stumped as to its true intention; while some believe it instills the foundation of good business, others contend that it brings out nothing more than "an absolutist, rigid set of constraints that violate one's sense of independent judgment" (Ruin, 1997, p. PG). In truth, ethics represent moral perspective, which, while having a universal theme, is still quite interpretational. In spite of the fact that each person reserves his or her own value determination with respect to ethical behavior -- which stands for "the character and values that determine the identity and goodness of an individual or group" (Ruin, 1997, p. PG) -- there still remains a significant void between what some consider to be morally acceptable and what others believe to be otherwise. "We...
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