Ethics

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Social responsibility

Carroll proposes that the managers of business organizations have four responsibilities: economic, legal, ethical, and discretionary.

1. Economic responsibilities of a business organization’s management are to produce goods and services of value to society so that the firm may repay its creditors and shareholders.

2. Legal responsibilities are defined by governments in laws that management is expected to obey. For example, U.S. business firms are required to hire and promote people based on their credentials rather than to discriminate on non-job-related characteristics such as race, gender, or religion.

3. Ethical responsibilities of an organization’s management are to follow the generally held beliefs about behavior in a society. For example, society generally expects firms to work with the employees and the community in planning for layoffs, even though no law may require this. The affected people can get very upset if an organization’s management fails to act according to generally prevailing ethical values.

4. Discretionary responsibilities are the purely voluntary obligations a corporation assumes. Examples are philanthropic contributions, training the hard-core unemployed, and providing day-care centers. The difference between ethical and discretionary responsibilities is that few people expect an organization to fulfill discretionary responsibilities, whereas many expect an organization to fulfill ethical ones.5

Social responsibility

A corporation’s task environment includes a large number of groups with interest in a business organization’s activities. These groups are referred to as stakeholders because they affect or are affected by the achievement of the firm’s objectives. Ethics

Stakeholder analysis is the identification and evaluation of corporate stakeholders. This can be done in a three-step process.

The first step in stakeholder analysis is to identify primary stakeholders, those who have a direct...
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