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Business and Corporate Social Responsibility Research Paper

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Companies that engage in socially responsible investing use positioning to exert pressure on businesses to adopt socially responsible behavior themselves. To do this, they use media and Internet distribution to expose the potentially harmful activities of organizations. This creates an educational dialogue in the public by developing social community awareness. This kind of collective activism can be effective in reaching social education and awareness goals. Integrating a social awareness strategy into the business model can also aid companies in monitoring active compliance with ethical business standards and applicable laws. (Davis, 2014) e.g. Walmart has displayed in its stores, which stresses the importance and global need for safe drinking water. (Walmartstores.com, 2014).


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Business and Corporate Social Responsibility Research Paper

Bussines and Corporate Social Responsibility

1.

0 Introduction:
Corporate Social Responsibility means the way in which business firms integrate environmental, economic and social concerns into their culture, values, strategy, decision making and operations in an accountable and transparent manner and, therefore, leading to better creation of wealth, an improved society and better practices in the business organization.

Activists, the media and governments all over the world have become adept by holding their organizations or enterprises to account for the social impacts of their actions.
Companies, businesses and corporations concerned with social responsibility align with appropriate institutions to create a better environment to live and work. For example, a corporation or business may set up a foundation to assist in learning or education for the public. This action will be viewed as an asset to all of the communities that it serves, while developing a positive public profile (Davis, 2014). 'In 2003, Philips and Caritas Austria (a Catholic relief, development and social service organization) founded the Philips Pupils Fund of Caritas. The fund, which is managed by Caritas, provides financial support to socially disadvantaged school children in Austria. Each year, Philips Austria donates 70,000 EUR to the fund. Additional donations come from Philips employees and business partners. Philips also offers 'future vouchers' to the children supported by the fund offering to help them in the future e.g., by finding an apprenticeship position upon graduation.' (Weber, 2008, pp. 247--261) This is a prime example of community development.

It is in this response that the use of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has emerged to be one of the inescapable top priorities for various business leaders or managers all over the globe. However, the fact remains that many current approaches to Corporate Social Responsibility are quite disconnected from the initial strategy of various companies or firms using it. In order for business enterprises to contribute significantly towards their key competencies, then they should treat Corporate Social Responsibility as something that is central and vital towards their business strategy.
There are many different definitions and interpretations for corporate social responsibility, but all with considerable common ground. Different societies have different perceptions of what corporate social responsibility is but all definitions refer to the way in which the core business is managed. (Weber, 2008, pp. 247--261)

The aim of this research paper is, therefore, to explain the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility in business organizations and ascertain how various organizations apply it to achieve various objectives of their business firms (Banerjee, 2007, p90-150).
Companies that are socially responsible often act to remove production practices that could cause harm to the public, even if the law does not require them to do so. This is a voluntary action that companies take upon themselves in an effort to be more socially responsible. (Weber, 2008, pp. 247--261) A company, for example could educate the public on how to stay protected from harmful substances as part of a hazard control program. A chemical plant could implement a checklist for a safety inspection to help staff to handle substances that could be potentially dangerous to them. A company could gather information on local residents to determine the way the noise pollution that the business creates that affects them and adjust their activities or takes steps to soundproof or lessen the noise accordingly. (Davis, 2014) Wal-Mart is working to lessen the amount of waste generated by their facilities. They are looking for new solutions for excess materials and food. They are also working with suppliers to improve the packaging of their products. 'The majority of their excess food is donated to 'the Feeding America program' which delivers the food to food banks in all states. In 2009, more than 127M pounds were donated, which then got distributed to people across the nation. Wal-Mart has also improved their recycling and waste redirection efforts. In 2009 they redirected more than 64% of waste generated' (Walmartstores.com, 2014).

1.1 Research Objectives:
The research paper addresses four specific research objectives among them the roles played by business education in the development of key Corporate Social Responsibility skills, the impact of customer perception on loyalty basing on Corporate Social Responsibility, how corporate social responsibility is capable of enhancing corporate reputation and some of the main strategic decisions which are faced by various business organizations in their strive to improve or enhance their performance of Corporate Social Responsibility. These research objectives are, therefore, clearly analyzed through addressing the following research questions.

Philanthropy is when a company makes a monetary contribution that will provide aid to local charities, organizations that are health or education related to help less fortunate, impoverished communities. This can help in many ways, such as providing people with the skills necessary to be marketable and therefore aiding in reducing poverty and help the environment. E.g. the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donates computers to various schools as well as funds work on vaccines preventing HIV (Davis, 2014). Another example is Goldman Sachs, which 'committed $100 million over five years to one such initiative, '10,000 Women,' which provides a mix of practical business education, support services and access to capital for under served women business owners in more than 20 countries' (Eckhart-Queenan, 2010)


1.2 Research Questions:

    1. What are some of the roles played by business educations towards the development of principal or key CSR?
    2. What impact does customer perceptions have on loyalty which are based on CSR?
    3. How can CSR enhance the reputation of various business enterprises?
    4. What are some of the strategic decisions that are faced by business enterprises when trying to enhance or improve their performance of CSR?

2.0 Literature Review:
(21) Roles played by business educations towards the development of radical or key CSR:
According to CEEMAN, an International management development association, social competencies are building for students in various business schools all over the world. These business schools offer relevant educational concepts with an aim of building the trainees’ or students social competences.

Often corporate responsibility is referred to as CSV or creating shared value, which refers to the way in which social well-being and corporate success are related/connected. A business needs a healthy, educated workforce to strive. Businesses must thrive so that they may help develop society and help them to survive. By doing so, they created shared value. (Davis, 2014)

This is done through covering the principal methods and approaches which are used in enhancing the trainees’ social, corporate responsibility levels in the course of their professional training as future business managers or leaders.
In Chapter 3, we explore what drives firms to combine poor environmental performance with communication about positive environmental performance, resulting in “greenwashing”. Although some explanation of firm greenwashing has been put forth, a comprehensive analysis of the determinants of firm greenwashing is lacking. Drawing from existing work in management, strategy, sociology and psychology, we propose a comprehensive framework that examines the external (both institutional and market), organizational and individual drivers of greenwashing and then use this framework to develop recommendations for managers, policymakers, and NGOs to decrease greenwashing.


Through the exploration of various issues, which are related, to academic activities of business organizations and through the teaching of various socially significant business disciplines, this ensures that these students who will become business leaders or managers are not only equipped with knowledge on improving their managerial culture but also enhances their understanding on the crucial role played by CSR in business enterprises.
Although, Corporation Social Responsibility can come across as an idealistic idea, especially as it is voluntary process and lack regulation and therefore subjected to abuse of power by decision making companies in the social domain, it actually produces favourable results if applied positively. Corporations and governments are powerful and influential institutes and can therefore make a significant difference to society. This difference whether these institutes impacts positively or negatively, will depend on the contribution to better thinking about what is Ethically right or wrong. This knowledge can produce decisions and behaviours that are recognised by stakeholders as unethical and help managers assess the changes needed to manage CSR. A good CSR framework aligns community efforts and charitable efforts with core business strategy, expertise and market needs. This in turn helps build up a company's social capital and is likely to bring returns including financial returns.

Goldeye (2011, p 1) concludes that the social aspect is one of the leading professional competence of any business manager or leader since it is through it that a leader’s activities can be assessed through the effectiveness of such a leader’s interaction with staff, owners, the state and business partners.
(22) Customer perceptions on loyalty based on CSR:
According to Crespo, H, et al (2005, p.1), customer loyalty and valuation of various business services is profoundly influenced by Corporate Social Responsibility. It was ascertained that Corporate Social Responsibility had a lot of influence on the customers’ behavior. This was done through the identification of the various dimensions of social responsibility from the point of view of consumers and the weight of each of the dimension in the global construct of social responsibility.
Corporation Social Responsibility must first be sold as a developing a value proposition to its own board, as it plays an important role in helping to shape and develop the value proposition. A value proposition being the corporeal results a customer gets from using the company's products or services. Aligned with social dimension, this helps provide guidance and direction to utilise the energy and enthusiasm for CSR. By identifying where companies can be socially responsible while continue to pursuit long term competitiveness of its business, companies can utilise the wider community with its own set of expertise. This framework should whilst reinforcing its core business strategies also attempt to transform value chain activities. This is important as local customers are an important source of sales and improving a company's reputation, the company itself will find it easier to recruit workforce and lead a better local authority relation. The best way to assess whether CSR is working and related to the corporation is to set CSR measurability and performance metric (differ for every company). An example of CSR metric are Key Performance indicators (KPIs) using a balance score card to measure factors such as environmental performance and benchmarking against other companies in the same industry spectrum.

It is not, however, easy for consumers or customers to memorize and acquire information regarding a company’s social responsibility.
Luo, X and Bhattacharya, C (2006, p 1-10) argued that it was ascertained that for instance, in the mobile telephone services sector, their existed an extraordinarily strong relationship between the consumers or the clients who consumed the services and the firm due to the inseparability, intangibility, perishability and heterogeneity compared to other tangible products and, therefore, the user, not only approaches the purchase in a different manner but also establishes a stronger and direct cordial relationship with the service providers. It was from this study that it was confirmed that the multidimensional nature of CSR had an immense influence on the perception of users or customers.
There are a number of valid reasons for this question, including that CSR is a good business Ethics. Business ethics regards what is morally right and wrong with a company's activities and behaviours. The likelihood of company to transact without creating some sort of environmental or social impact is very small, might this be of positive or negative impact. A key point of CSR is that it recognises the responsibility that companies have to take into account of those impacts. CSR is a framework for thinking about business ethics, making ethical decisions and working within the law, it says a company responsibilities reach further than just making a profit. Another reason is that CSR means engaging with Stakeholders (people whose lives and livelihoods are impacted by the company's activities). CSR in this case means that a company will make a decision with society (the Stakeholders are a broad and varied group) expectations in mind. Furthermore, the corporation will recognise not only the opinions but also the values that are important to the Stakeholders and will actively engage with its Stakeholders to understand their aspirations, goals and concerns.

There was, therefore, a direct existence of relation between the perception of customers and in service valuation and social responsibility.
(23) How CSR enhances the reputation of various business enterprises:
According to the article by the Harvard Law School on Financial Regulation and Corporate governance, it was ascertained that activities, which were related, to Corporate Social Responsibility had a greater potential in the creation of various forms of value which were distinct to the customers. It was through the perception of customers towards this value that can mediate the relationship between a company’s CSR activities and its subsequent performance in finance.
Regardless of whether business or government, leaders in all sectors have an opportunity to improve current issues and solve business problems. Community needs can be opportunities to utilise business technology and provide collaborative efforts to serve community needs. The Internet revolution has provided the public the chance to empower themselves and with this in mind customers, empowered by the internet, are researching corporate citizenship. The times of word-of-mouth and traditional media sources, such as television, is being surpassed by the number of growing search engines, and the number of customers using the Internet to research companies through independent sources is growing. Corporations should look for new ways to inform consumers about their social responsible actions and should realise that a great number of consumers will be sceptical and will check up on any claims. A company with good CSR policies, which demands that commercial success, be gained through positive practices that aim to promote general welfare, such as more jobs, better salaries, environmentally responsible activity and local interaction, tend to do a lot better then companies who do not. Success, after all, is not only measured in monetary terms but also the corporation's impact on the community, on its customers and on the environment.

It is also through this article that it can be established that CSR increases a business firms’ profitability due to increased loyalty of the clients, lower risks in reputation during crisis and willingness of paying the premium prices (Chandler, 2010, p48-50).
There are many different ways a corporation can support a social initiative and still make profits. A good example is the Marriott Corporation (ref), who was motivated by a desire to help the community while still helping the bottom line, by training and hiring 6000 persons on welfare. Marriott was still able to cut costs and increase productivity. It can be in a company's best interest to provide a needed service within a low income area. By incorporating a service that improves the resources and infrastructure of a community, it can offer an economic return for the organisation through recognition or direct community investments. In this sense, a business has an obligation to both profit and serve the community, for all stakeholders involved. This shows that when a company practice in good CSR, it gains better reputation and brand image meaning an extension of better sales, more investors and customer loyalty plate form. This is supported by the survey done by Hill & Knowlton/Harris (2001) showed that 91 % of all customer survey said that they would switch to other companies, if the corporation had a negative image.


The adoption of Corporate Social Responsibility by business organizations is beneficial because it leads to improved financial performance by the company, increased customer loyalty and sales, reduced regulatory oversight, workforce diversity, decreased liability, access to capital and product safety, more ability in attraction and retention of employees by the company, lower operational costs, greater quality and productivity and enhanced brand reputation and brand image among others (Joyner and Pyane,2002, p 297-311).
The dawn of social media’s widespread acceptance has created an immense number of opportunities for organizations of many sorts. One such opportunity is a new way to increase the awareness of a firm’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts among a target market or community, which entails certain advantages in terms of firm’s activities or marketing efforts, publishing photos, text, videos, or other materials via social media platforms), but also provides firms with a unique opportunity to publicize its efforts to engage “private governance” - whereby firms institute de facto standards that impact the public’s quality of life in a positive manner. Hence, social media outreach efforts to promote awareness of a firm’s CSR campaigns can greatly improve the impact that these campaigns have. It also provides a means to diversify a firm’s methods of gaining feedback on the perception and efficacy of its CSR efforts.


(24) Strategic decisions that are faced by business enterprises when trying to enhance or improve their performance of CSR:
Various business enterprises have been faced with an uphill task in making decisions of whether they should adopt and implement the use of Corporate Social Responsibility in their enterprise. However, majority of the business firms have fully supported the adoption and use of Corporate Social Responsibility because of the various benefits that arise as a result of its application. Business firms who have failed to adopt and apply the use of CSR within their midst have attributed this failure to lack of funds toes enable the use of various strategies and poor management or leadership styles of the business managers or leaders.
One interesting aspect of this is that consumers have uploaded content relating to this effort to social media sites like YouTube , where years after the CSR campaign began, consumers are still engaged in discussions about these advertising techniques do not maximize exposure. The participatory aspect of social media platforms allows for the public to play an active (if indirect) role in facilitating discourse regarding private governance efforts, thus integrating elements of participatory democracy into these CSR strategies. In any case, social media platforms provide a powerful means for firms to reach out to the public and establish their position as a leader in private governance efforts - which can help build brand affinity among consumers, and build social capital for the firm’s representatives and employees that are present in the communities that its CSR efforts target.

3.0 Research Methodology:
Research methods refer to particular strategies, which are used, by researches in the collection of evidence that is vital for building and eventual testing of the theories. There exist various research methods that can be used by the researcher in the collection of data and information regarding Corporate Social Responsibility.

Such feedback can be solicited (in response to a query from the firm), or unsolicited/spontaneous. A good social media strategy implementation assigns resources within a firm to collecting feedback on social media platforms, soliciting additional feedback where appropriate, and archiving feedback for future research and analytics usage. Though the information that is collected from social media platforms in this manner is not as controlled or reliable as information that is collected in more formal surveys, this method does entail certain advantages: it is an extremely low-cost means to collect primary data concerning public opinion and customer feedback, it is much faster than a large survey effort, and it promises extended opportunities for interaction with members of the public or consumers (for the purpose of obtaining additional clarity regarding their prior statements).

For instance, we have got experiments which are commonly used in exploratory research. The use of experiments as a method of data collection is expensive also time consuming and therefore it cannot be effectively be as method of data collection in Corporate Social Responsibility.
With regard to the benefits and drawbacks of CSR, there are varying arguments. It is argued by some experts that CSR does not benefit shareholders as it jeopardizes the financial performance of the company. The proportion of profits that would otherwise be distributed to shareholders by way of dividends is spent in CSR activities which are not profitable or revenue-generating. These activities are considered to be merely an expense for the corporation. Since the primary purpose of a commercial organization is to generate value for its shareholders, it is only acceptable that the organization engages in activities which generate profit. On the other hand, other experts argue that CSR should be considered as ‘extended marketing’. Although it does not generate any profits directly, it does help the organization in strengthening its goodwill in the market which stabilizes, and at times, expands the consumer base of the organization resulting in greater revenues and therefore larger profits.

In order to find the empirical relationship that exists between the various parameters in a research, the use of observation as a research method is deemed to be appropriate though it is also expensive and time consuming.
Although CSR is largely unregulated, corporations have acknowledged that carrying out CSR activities reflects positively on their brand image. In case of financial reporting, companies are required to follow strict standardized requirements; however in case of CSR, there are no strict regulations which make CSR mandatory. Despite the lack of regulations, the regulatory authorities encourage companies to engage in CSR as expenses incurred under CSR are deductible for tax purposes depending upon local laws. In the race to outrun their competitors, corporations conduct bigger and bigger CSR activities to earn higher goodwill among consumers. Corporations benefit from CSR as well because consumer prefer carrying out business with companies which have a positive image in the market.

The use of existing data can also be used as a method of data collection though its accuracy will depend on the experience of the researcher using it.
Surveys are the best research methods that can be used in the exploratory or empirical research in business studies and in Corporate Social Responsibility.
Education is another critical factor that should be considered in the design of corporate social responsibility programs. Basic education is widespread, but opportunities for learning continue to elude many. Over one hundred million children are not in school, with ninety seven percent of these being in developing countries. One in every five adults globally is illiterate, which are staggering figures given the widespread opportunities to learn available today. Corporate are faced with the challenge of promoting education by setting up schools, and funding educational development programs. Education can also be encouraged by taking in interns and trainees and giving them an opportunity to learn the tricks of the job, which will enable them compete fairly in the corporate world (Crowther and Rayman-Bacchu 169).

In order to obtain research results, some specific group of people, like for instance business leaders or managers tasked with the responsibility of adopting CSR in an organization can be interviewed or given questionnaires.
Corporate social responsibility is no longer defined by how much money a company contributes to charity, but by its overall involvement in activities that improve the quality of people’s lives. Corporate Responsibility has come up as a significant subject matter in the international business community and is progressively becoming a mainstream activity. There is mounting recognition of the momentous effect the activities of the private sector have on the workforce, clientele, the society, the environment, competitors, business associates, investors, shareholders, governments and others groups. It is also becoming progressively clear that organizations can contribute to their individual wealth and to overall community wealth by taking into account the effect they have on the entire globe when making decisions (Anderson 5).

The use of questionnaires was, therefore, highly recommended in ensuring that the objectives of this research study were achieved because they have also been deemed to be appropriate in other previous works.
An additional way that social media can expand the impact that a CSR effort has is by transcending the barriers that are associated with the use of traditional media. For instance, publishing information in newsletters, newspapers, or other community-centric publications alone may have been a sound strategy in the past, but today will necessarily limit the exposure that CSR efforts attain. As readership of these traditional forms of media continues to drop, they cannot be depended upon to achieve the kind of exposure that many firms desire. Hence, they must become part of a more well-rounded strategy that ensures that demographics that increasingly avoid print media (especially younger people) are also exposed - which means turning to social media.

Questionnaires were distributed to various business managers and leaders responsible for CSR and were requested to fill in the appropriate information.
In order to achieve the various objectives of this research paper, a suitable research method was…

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There are several factors which explain the growing interest in corporate social responsibility. The first factor is the new concerns and expectations of citizens, consumers, public authorities globalisation and industrial change. The second factor is the increasing influence of social criteria on the investment decisions of individuals and institutions, as investors or consumers. The third factor is the growing concern about environmental degradation. This is a particularly important concern given the fact that environmental conservation has become an increasingly significant for everyone in society today. With multi-corporations raking in millions, it is only justified that they give back to the community. The wanton disregard of the environment by a few companies when it comes to handling of industrial waste, the use of recyclable paper or sheer indifference when it comes to environmental protection is shocking. As aforementioned, corporate social responsibility involves activities that give back to the community, or ensure fairness in the running of activities (Crowther and Rayman-Bacchu 69).

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