Corporate Social Responsibility: An Ethical "Best Practice"

  • 2013
  • Bachelor of Science in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis

Corporate Social Responsibility: An Ethical "Best Practice"

Author:
Sean Johnson
Abstract:

Currently in academia and industry, a debate exists on what ethical responsibilities a multinational corporation owes to its various stakeholders and a proposed dichotomy has emerged. One side contends that the corporation's only ethical responsibility is to its shareholders while the other side counters that the overall good of all stakeholders must be the corporation's final ethical arbiter. This study proposes that the dichotomy is a false one as both sides are correct. Short-term profit at the expense of the social license to operate will have a significantly negative impact on the ability to generate long-term profit and is, therefore, not in the organization's self-interest. Except in the most extreme of circumstances, corporate-community interactions do not represent a zero-sum game. By recognizing that the dichotomy does not exist and true corporate self-interest is ethical, as represented by mutually beneficial arrangements between all stakeholders, industry can redouble its efforts to solve the real problem: the failure represented by conflict is a failure to understand and engage the nuanced complexities of the operational social context and maintain a social license to operate.