A Discussion on Archie Carroll’s View of Corporate Social Responsibility

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A Discussion on Archie Carroll’s View of Corporate Social Responsibility 1 By Rodolfo Arango

Archie Carroll’s hierarchical chart depicting the four components of his view on corporate social responsibility is sketched out as a pyramid for ease of use and understanding. The pyramids wide base, and the foundation of this theory, represents “economic responsibility” the basic building block for a positive corporation. This layer of the pyramid makes the distinction that it is the responsibility of an organization is to fulfill its financial obligation of producing revenue for its investors. The next layer up on the pyramid represents “legal responsibility” or the fact that a business is expected to obey the laws in its country of origin, because the laws in a society's classify what is acceptable behavior. The third layer up represents “ethical responsibility” which begins to turn our model into a less clearly defined structure. Definitions used today for this layer tend to be somewhat opaque due to new processes and technologies that are influencing the way society functions. At its most fundamental layer, this is the obligation to do what is just and fair, and to avoid harm to employees, consumers, the environment. The top layer, the “discretionary responsibility” layer represents the pinnacle of corporate social responsibility, the expectation that a business is supposed to be a good corporate citizen. This peak layer is where business is expected to contribute financial and human resources to the community and to improve the quality of life. This point of the pyramid, by design, should be the shining point of business acumen, but it also carries a similar opacity than that previous ethic layer but for different reasons to be discussed at the end of this essay. It is these last two top levels where today’s corporations are leveraging efforts to produce meaningful and directional guidance. In order for this effort to work the solutions and contributions by companies at the top of the pyramid must be earnest and unique. Each corporation, defined by its own products, people and communities must in turn define their corporate direction at the ethical and discretionary levels of responsibility. There are some basic principles that can assist in better understanding these last two levels in order to build and define a company’s ethical and discretionary views.

A Discussion on Archie Carroll’s View of Corporate Social Responsibility 2 By Rodolfo Arango

Legal responsibilities support ethical views concerning what is fair or just by a society. These legal rulings were enacted by related unfair practices and unjustified acts that became prohibited by society and were thus encoded into law. Therefore ethical responsibility represents what a community’s employees, consumers, or shareholders regard as fair, just, or moral rights. For example the civil rights movement was not on congress’s agenda to sign into a law until mass civil demonstrations across the United States made it an issue that was not to be ignored but rather discussed, resolved and committed into our doctrine as the law. So it is plain to see that changing ethics or values precedes the establishment of laws because they become the driving force behind the very creation of the laws. This creates a dynamic evolutionary process between our layer of “legal responsibility” and its overlying layer of “ethical responsibility”. Our ethical views are rapidly changing as our society as related developing norms change. These new moral struggles become unified and manifest into demands by citizens that they be standardized into laws. This dynamic interplay between the middle two levels is constantly pushing “legal responsibility” to expand regulatory policy while at the same time placing higher expectations on corporations to operate at levels above those required by the law. It is important to understand that activity at the ethical layer be monitor and periodically...
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