Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), in my opinion, is most accurately illustrated in Archie Carroll's (1951) Four-Part Model of CSR which includes the following pyramid style of responsibilities:
Philanthropic Responsibilities-according to Greek philosophers the term "philanthropy" means "love for your fellow human." The context of this meaning is used by organizations at their full discretion to "improve the quality of life of employees, local communities, and society in general. This aspect of CSR addresses a great variety of issues, including matters such as charitable donations, the building of recreation facilities for employees and their families, support for local schools, or sponsoring of art and sports events. " (Henningford et al, 2006)
Ethical Responsibilities-This is where organizations are urged to do what is right, just, and fair according to all professional areas of conduct within the corporate framework.
Legal Responsibilities- "The legal responsibility of corporations demands that businesses abide by the law and 'play by the rules of the game'. Laws are understood as the codification of society's moral views, and therefore abiding by these standards is a necessary prerequisite for any further reasoning about social responsibilities. In some sense, one might consider legal responsibility as a truism, which corporations have to fulfill just to keep their license to operate. However, one only needs to open the business pages nowadays to see that the ongoing coverage of corporate scams, scandals and lawsuits reveals that abiding by the law, not bending the rules and not cutting corners, can hardly be taken for granted in today's business world." (Henningfold, et al, 2006).
Economic Responsibilities- Organizations have responsibilities with their shareholders to ensure that shareholders have an adequate return on their investment (ROI). Employees expect to be fairly compensated for services rendered or jobs performed within the confines of a safe and adequate working environment. Consumers demand high-quality product for a good yet reasonable price. This segment of CSR is a continuous cycle within supply and demand.
Each of the aforementioned responsibilities are either required by society or expected by society. When our country is faced with a horrific circumstance beyond our control, citizens all over the world seek aid from organizations that are in a position to help where help is needed. Every organization plays a significant role in societal issues and are otherwise obligated to quickly react to a serious issues and to adjust to a rapidly changing environment. For ex, when an organizations witnesses a major catastrophe of natural causes or otherwise, organizations are often required to act accordingly or develop an action plan that will enable the injured party to make a smooth transition. Some organizations partner with other organizations in an effort to build a strong consensus geared towards a common objective of answering the call of nationwide philanthropy. For instance, during the disaster facing Japan, most organizations were obligated to raise funds to assist in relief efforts. The Telecommunications industry broadened the scope of donations by allowing cellular phone users to text their donations and permitting their wireless provider to deplete their account for the donations specified. This is a prime ex of what CSR is all about: building a unified community with a firm foundational approach of applied ethical conduct. Several years ago, I worked for a well known fast -food restaurant chain and was able to work closely with one of the daytime shift managers. Every morning before the restaurant opened, a man knocked on the back door of the facility, the manager would gather all of the food they had available prior to the start of the day and gave it to the man. I was surprised by this and asked the manager what that was all about, and he stated that the man and his family were homeless, and the manager felt that as a result of the company throwing all the food away, he could do some good by giving it to someone who was in need right now and to throw food away that was not spoiled or tainted was a ridiculous waste. His exact words were "the true essence of CSR begins in our own backyard first." For decades fast- food restaurants throw tons of food away for the reason that they can't serve food past a certain time period according to state regulations. For ex, if a sandwich was prepared at 10:00 a.m. and no one ordered that particular sandwich for several hours, the organization would be obligated to discard the sandwich. I found that the shift supervisor was utilizing his CSR by looking out for those who needed immediate assistance in his own "backyard." Organizations place great emphasis on CSR, without really internalizing what the term actually means. CSR is more than an organizational "buzzword," it is a method in which an organization maintains a professional, yet compassionate code of conduct that has the best interest of the stakeholders and stockholders at heart. The bottom line is to make sure that everyone who has invested interest in the company is obtaining adequate results in terms of fulfilling the needs of patrons and keeping current on upcoming trends.
"Carroll and Buchholtz (2000: 35) offer the following definition: 'Corporate social responsibility encompasses the economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic expectations placed on organizations by society at a given point in time."(Henningfold, Pohl, Tolhurst, 2006). In recent news, at a well known clinic in the state of Nevada, a physician (Dr. Kaplan) knowingly reused needles on various patients infecting them with Hepatitis and HIV. Organizations regardless of the industry have an obligation to engage in preventative measures to prevent scenarios like this from occurring. CSR, in essence is the habitual act of discovering ways to employ innovative methods of enhancing the scope of responsibility and implementing risk mitigation techniques as a means to restructuring the organizations culture.
"The term stakeholder refers to all those that affect, or are affected by, the actions of the firm. How corporations manage their interactions with stakeholders powerfully contributes to business success or failure. Building positive, and mutually beneficial relationships across organizational boundaries is a growing part of management's role." (Lawrence, and Weber, 2008).
To take a stakeholder perspective over a stockholder perspective would be imperative if a leader were inclined to be more focused on overall responsibility. A stakeholder is focused wholeheartedly on CSR whereas, a stockholder focal concern is placed on profitability and revenue generation. Stockholders override CSR with adding or creating value to an organization. A stockholder is concerned with how an organization can gain capital to an already lucrative organization or otherwise. Stakeholders on the other hand measures success based on the satisfaction from communities within society. If consumers, employees, and various individuals approve of the organization's overall mission, vision, and values, and their method of integration, then stakeholders considers their level of approval as a "job well-done." If the public, in general are satisfied with the company, stakeholders are pleased with the results of their invested interest. Stakeholders are important for the reason that they play an active role in the innovative processes of generating ideas, collaborating on methods of improvement, and create an open dialogue with management to offer feedback, concerns, and/or suggestions. For centuries stakeholders have taken on the role as an inactive and/or silent partnership role when engaging in potential business relationships. Fortunately, the paradigm has shifted to expand the nature of stakeholder involvement to a more reactive and proactive approach of relational engagement. Currently stakeholders are able to express their concerns as to the direction of the company and are advantageous to monitor stakeholder interest to ensure CSR maintains an integral part of forward movement.
In today's society organizations are faced with adjusting to a ever-changing marketplace. Consumers are quickly changing the way in which they conduct business. Business transactions have dramatically changed in which case all business transactions are conducted primarily online. Advancements in technology has set the standard and the pace for most organizations. The current organizational culture dictates how organizations operate. As time progresses, more and more organizations rely on social media as a venue to advertise, promote, and offer freebies online as a way to generate buzz, with this method of revolutionized changes, organizations must work towards adjusting CSR initiatives to meeting an overwhelming need of social responsibility, especially in terms of online business transactions. The changes within organizational culture enabled a company's responsibilities to grow. An organization's current CSR initiatives still remain, however, the organization now has more of an obligation to ensure that consumers have a safe online shopping experience. Organizations must implement preventative measures to ensure consumer safety. In addition to heightening the level of online security, organizations must develop environmental friendly tactics for the "green initiative," i.e. making sure every product is environmentally safe, and make sure that the organization is doing their part to reduce waste of resources by recycling paper or plastics; arranging organizational car pool to prevent unnecessary pollution; or invest in company hybrid vehicles. As previously mentioned CSR is a four-part model that includes; philanthropic, legal, ethical, and economical responsibilities, however when expanding CSR within the confines of the online network, a fifth edition should be added to this hierarchical infrastructure, i.e. environmental. Organizations all over the world have an obligation to reduce waste.