Corporate Social Responsibility: Philanthropy or Commercial Interest?
In recent years firms have greatly increased the amount of resources allocated to activities classified as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). While the increase in the CSR budgets is viewed as a philanthropy, on the inside of the firm it is the managers that are willing to over invest for their own private benefit to be proceeded as good citizens. However stakeholders see the CSR budgets as a marketing plan to influence consumers to enjoy their products and maximize their profits and hopefully market shares.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a very controversial topic. A question that has been debated for the past few decades is; is it corporately viable to introduce social responsibility as a proposed addition to the work ethic of business organizations. As well as, if adopting the framework of corporate social responsibility would yield positive improvements for those organizations.
The discussions of the “social responsibilities of business” are notable for their analytical looseness and lack of rigor. What does it mean to say that “business” has responsibilities? Only people can have responsibilities. A corporation is an artificial person and in this sense may have artificial responsibilities, but “business” as a whole cannot be said to have responsibilities, even in this vague sense. The first step toward clarity in examining the doctrine of the social responsibility of business is to ask precisely what it implies for whom.
Although Milton Freedman believes that “there is one and only one social responsibility of business–to use it resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.”
Why let a factory that pollutes our environment get a way with it, if in return they could plant trees all over the country. That’s considered CSR. Sadly, I feel that CSR in Jordan is not a philanthropy, it nothing but a commercial interest. Corporations choose CSR to advertise their “good will” schemes; however they all go for SOCIAL CSR projects for the sake of the publicity rather than serving their environment, employees and their market place.
CSR refers to the corporation’s obligation to all its stakeholders. It stems from the desire to do well and get self-satisfaction in return as well as from societal obligation of business. This could be a strategic marketing activity in a way for a company to do well by doing something distinct from sales promotion, corporate philanthropy, corporate sponsorship, and public relations. Now, it is assumed to be the responsibility of the business houses too.
To put it in a nutshell, CSR and cause-related marketing result in increased sales, visibility, consumer loyalty and enhanced company image along with positive media coverage. Now companies have started focusing on society and its needs under the umbrella of CSR. However, their employees are NOT an integral part of this service. Companies in Jordan support giving back to the society, but have caused a conflict in the work place because their CSR policies do not support the welfare of their employees.
Before going Corporate on Social Responsibility, I believe, it should start individuals with the support of corporate teams. Your CSR is not about showing the public what your organization stands for through a well planned marketing media plan, or public relations out-reach, it’s great, and it makes a difference, but it is usually volunteers in my opinion that make CSR possible, they could be stakeholders or your employees themselves, getting people involved, making the spirit of giving back to society bigger and more authentic not planned with numerous press releases on the front page of local papers the next day.
Random as this may sound, in August of 2009 a non-for-profit organization called Nakhweh was launched, according to their website “Nakhweh.com is your means for giving back to communities in the Arab world. The website offers a variety of services to support nonprofit communities, initiatives and volunteers who are committed to social change.” In the spirit of CSR, Giving back to the society and making Jordan a better place, I urge all of you to volunteer… Let the scales of CSR balance between Commercial Interest and Philanthropy…
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