Question OneTheoretical foundations of corporate social responsibility According to Jamali & Mirshak (2007), corporate social responsibility (CSR) has many definitions. First, CSR refers to the manner in which a corporation balances its social, economic, and environmental duties in its activities in order to handle shareholder and other stakeholders’ needs and expectations. The term has various names including corporate ethics, corporate responsibility, corporate citizenship, corporate accountability, stewardship, sustainability, as well as triple-E bottom line, which entails ethical, economic, and environmental (Nobel 2011). CSR is an overall management issue, which is vital to all business aspects, and it is incorporated in the organization’s operations via its culture, values, strategy, decision-making, as well as reporting approaches (Jenkins 2006).
CSR has major issues in its definition including the need for the corporations’ responsibilities should exceed the profitable production of service and goods. Secondly, firm’s responsibilities should help in solving vital social concerns, particularly those it jointly created. Thirdly, corporations should widen its scope beyond shareholders. Fourthly, firms should beware that their effects exceed mere marketplace operations. Additionally, firms serve various human values, instead of solely focusing on economic benefits (Ma 2012).
Various theoretical foundations exist regarding CSR. These theories are in form of social, personal, and amoral views. To start with, the amoral vie represents a conservative business view, as well as the corporation’s role. Legal recognition and free market defenders theorists are part of people supporting the view, as well as those believing that CSR is inexistent. For many years, several theorists have asserted this view, and many people within the business society hold it. Additionally, the amoral view entails activities lacking moral quality; that is it lacks restraints, moral standards, or principles.
It is distinct from immoral, as the immoral describes actions lacking moral standards or that fail to conform to commonly established or accepted conduct. On contrast, amoral entails actions that lack good or bad morals. Secondly, personal view describes the corporation’s nature when determining its accountability. The issue involved here is whether the businesses are fully-fledged moral persons or moral agents. It view corporations as collectives, which operate as individuals, as legal persons who can be held liable for their activities (Tumay 2009).
Those asserting that organizations are persons allege that firms are accountable for their activities in a manner similar to the natural individuals’ actions. Thus, a corporation may be morally accused just as the natural individuals. A powerful counterargument alleges that the firms are not natural individuals. Those people advocating for the view claim that it is impossible to inflict punishment or moral sanctions on firms as corporations. It is possible to punish or blame the employees or managers of the organization, but not the business itself.
It is appropriate to impose certain punishments including fines on shareholders or transferred to consumers as costs (Birch, 2003). This debate does not solve the controversy about whether a corporation is a moral individual or a social institution. Those people holding that corporation are socially responsible for its effects on society, and it is morally liable for its activities in the social arena. On the other hand, those that do not believe that a corporation is a moral individual say that the society should change their views on the corporation.
In fact, the personal view symbolizes a middle ground between the social views and the amoral views. It leaves the question unresolved. Nevertheless, the arguments supporting the handling of corporations as individuals yield the next theoretical foundation of CSR, which is the social view (Wheeler, Colbert & Freeman 2003).