Corporate Social Responsibility and strategic thinking if applied well to the internal and external processes of an organization can be a great source of opportunity, innovation and competitive advantage to the organization. British Airways has a code of conduct which spells who its stakeholders are as well as obligations the company and stakeholders have towards each other. Stakeholders at the British Airways include; customers employees, shareholders as well as the community in locations where British Airways has or maintains operations.
British Airways has an obligation to maintain ethical business standards such as transparency, accountability as well as upholding the dignity of all stakeholders. British Airways appreciates the importance of its stakeholders and as a result all the actions the company undertakes are regulated to ensure that they do not have adverse effects on social, financial, environmental, economical impact on the stakeholders. British Airways shareholders who include suppliers, employees, government regulators as well as members of community where British Airways operate are important to the company in that they are affected by the company’s actions.
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To ensure that British Airways meets its obligations to the stakeholders British Airways endeavors to comply with industry regulations such as the relevant legislations in terms of safety, and discrimination legislations occupational health, employment related laws, as well as environmental protection . By complying with the above legislations as well as the various applicable laws such as legal, tax and regulatory obligations in all jurisdictions where the British airways has business interest the company ensures adherence to its corporate social responsibility policies.
Corporate Social Responsibility is the implementation of policies and strategies by an organization aimed at improving the internal and external processes through bringing together all stakeholders in a given organization . British Airways must constantly employ strategic thinking so as to come up with measures to counter the threat of competition, the threat of insufficient resources, the threat of negative political environment, the threat of negative economic and social policies as well as the threat of keeping in step with the demands of the customers.
Strategic thinking leads to preparations about the future of British Airways in regard to the environment . Strategic thinking results into problem solving techniques, which analyse challenges facing the organization to make sure that such challenges do not impede the success of the organization. At British Airways strategic thinking looks at the opportunities available to an organization and maximizes the opportunities to its advantage.
For British Airways strategic thinking is inseparable with corporate social responsibility in that it focuses on creating the right environment for all stakeholders in the organization such as shareholders, customers, partners, distributors, suppliers, employees, management as well as the local community . Strategic thinking is a proactive means of overcoming organizational challenges such as management issues, human resource challenges, threats such as the threat of competition, the threat of market as well as other types of threats.
Therefore strategic thinking must be viewed as a way of overcoming the numerous challenges facing the modern day organization. Strategic thinking is made to prepare the organization to deal with change both in the short term and in the long term. It ensures that the steps taken in British Airways are both practical and commensurate with the capability of the organization in terms of resources available. In essence strategic thinking is a means of responding to business realities as depicted in the performance of British Airways.
For an organization like British Airways which has to respond to fresh security concerns in the post 9/11 era, strategic thinking can be applied to all aspects of the organization at all levels from leadership to the bottom line. In addition, strategic thinking is applied to counter challenges facing any department in British Airways. It can also be organized around units or teams in the organization as long as there has been carried out a proper needs analysis to warrant change at the individual level in the organization.
Strategic planning like corporate social responsibility is aimed at improving and adding value to all levels of organization. As a result, everyone in British Airways benefits from the efforts of strategic planning. Just as corporate social responsibility results into changes in mega, macro and micro levels of planning, the changes occasioned by strategic thinking aim at solidifying such planning efforts.
Therefore, strategic planners in the British Airways work hand in hand with the corporate social responsibility department so as to realize the desired effects of all the changes an British Airways initiates towards improving business processes in the organization. Although most people fail to realize opportunities corporate social responsibility initiatives can bring about, those who plan around corporate social responsibility tenets quickly reap the benefits resulting from a more coherent staff, a more loyal clientele, a more cooperative suppliers and a supportive community, dedicated work force as well as good leadership.
The efforts corporate social responsibility planners initiate goes a long way into determining the kind of business environment present in an organization. An empowering business environment results into efficiency given the fact that there is an increased cooperation and collaboration between staff and management as well as the external stakeholders whereby all feel that their needs are well taken care of. In this way, corporate social responsibility opens up opportunity for increased dialogue, increased cooperation as well as an opportunity for broader participation by all stakeholders in the decision making process.
This has seen British Airways continue positing annual profits for decades as well as emerging as one of the market leaders not only in the British domestic market but also in the European regional markets. The fact that corporate social responsibility policies touch on issues which have a bearing on the level of motivation of staff means that it is a great avenue for empowering employees and making them to explore their full potential.
If employees feel that their needs are being met by British Airways, they are more likely to give their best and therefore are likely to be more innovative in their duties. Therefore at British Airways, corporate social responsibility policies are tailored to empower the employees to be more innovative, and therefore to exploit their talents and dedicate their energies towards productive activities which improve job performance. Corporate social responsibility is no longer an option of organizations.
How well articulated the corporate social responsibility policies of an organization are goes a long way in determining the publicity such an organization gets from the media . It is increasingly evident that how corporate social responsibility is utilized by an organization can give competitive advantage to an organization or take away competitive advantage from an organization . British Airways invests millions of dollars annually on corporate social responsibility to ensure they have the public on their side.
Such efforts have included sponsoring bursary schemes to promoting nutritional dietary programs. Business leaders understand that they do not have to be pressured so as to initiate corporate social responsibility. On the contrary, business leaders such as British Airways understand the place of corporate social responsibility in modern business and therefore put in place the necessary policies to address concerns of all stakeholders.
It is clear that corporate social responsibility is a recent concept in terms of how seriously organizations have been treating their stakeholders. Today, organizations are under pressure to publicly display their budget allocations for corporate social responsibility and therefore the corporate social responsibility of organizations are no longer a choice but an obligation organizations must fulfil. British Airways has a policy of openness and transparency which requires the company to display its budget allocations on the issue of corporate social responsibility.
Organizations cannot afford to plan without taking to consideration corporate social issues therefore corporate social responsibility policies have to be sustainable as well as responsive to the needs of all stakeholders. In a nutshell, corporate social responsibility requires organizations to integrate business processes into social issues by making sure that they have in place strong social agendas for their employees, shareholders, partners, and the communities in which they operate. Therefore every single decision an organization makes must add value to the above named stakeholders.
Anything short of that can negatively affect the organization . British Airways has used corporate social responsibility to the organization’s advantage when it comes to entering into new markets. This is because of the fact that new customers are likely to be won if they perceive the business as morally responsible, ethical, supportive and mindful of their welfare. Corporate social responsibility can no longer be viewed as a constraint or a single gesture of good will as it was in the previous century.
While in the past building community school was the best thing most organizations could do to the local communities, today, that has significantly changed and corporate social responsibility has been viewed as a large-scale initiative aimed towards social betterment. Corporate social responsibility is today embedded in practices aimed at sharing the success of an organization fairly amongst all stakeholders. Putting in place good corporate social responsibility policies is a powerful tool for marketing and popularizing a business.
Although the activities and gains of good corporate social responsibility may not be tangible or quantifiable, a keen look at the impact corporate social responsibility has on the performance of the organization clearly demonstrates how corporate social responsibility can make or break an organization. Increased customer awareness has made it that organizations can no longer act recklessly as was the characteristic in the past century when some organizations would act in ways which were directly in contravention with not only the law but morals of the communities they were located in.
Today, the reputation of any organization is largely impacted by the nature of corporate social responsibility such organization upholds. This clearly shows that corporate social responsibility is not a constraint but rather an avenue of improving the performance of any given organization. The above has led British Airways to analyze its obligations to stakeholders by developing the right corporate social responsibility policies so as to be able to survive in today’s business environment.
It is very likely that the future of British Airways will largely depend on the quality of corporate social responsibility initiatives such companies put in place . Organizations, which have successfully integrated corporate social responsibility into their marketing initiatives, have benefited from utilizing cost of corporate social responsibility activities . This has also served to save the marketing costs by merging the budgets of the two departments therefore saving costs by avoiding duplication.
In conclusion, corporate social responsibility if strategically applied to business processes, highly results to improvement of business processes as the case for British Airways has clearly demonstrated. An organization can only benefit from corporate social responsibility by tapping the potential of all stakeholders and strategically aligning all activities and initiatives to match the goals and objectives of the organization. Finally, corporate social responsibility and strategic thinking are gradually taking a leading role in the strategic planning of organizations than it was the case in the past.
Hence, the reason why organizations must treat corporate social responsibility as an investment rather than a constraint. References Andrew Pendleton. (2001). Employee Ownership, Participation & Governance: A Study of ESOPs in the UK; Routledge. Roger, Cowe. 1999. Boardrooms Discover Corporate Ethics. Guardian Weekly. P 27; Shell, Profits and Principles-Does There Have to be a Choice? (London: Shell International 1998). http://www. volere. co. uk/stakegoalsscope. htm Accessed on 22/05/2007
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