Essay assignment question
It is sometime suggested that CSR activities are increasing strategic in that it affects that core business of the firm and its growth, profitability and survival?
Drawing on an example of a corporation/company (National/ International), discuss this in the context of business strategies, in particular on the issues of competitive advantage and firm performance. Introduction In this essay, we will discuss why organizations began CSR and how it is or can be or why should it be implemented.
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CSR usually get started off either as an integral part of the business strategy or corporate identity, or it can be used as a defensive policy, with the latter being used more often by companies targeted by activists. Rationale for CSR implementation is based on either a moral, a rational, or an economic argument (Werther & Chandler, 2006). Campbell (2007) which is a representative of a group of studies that create testable propositions related to the conditions under which organizations will move toward CSR.
Studies show that corporations’ level of social responsibility as being influenced by factors such as financial conditions of the firm, health of the economy, and well-enforced state regulations. Reason why companies take on CSR is also being discussed in the literature in terms of the specific initiatives under which CSR may fall. Ways of describing these rationales varies, from the more skeptical view of cause-related marketing to a more generous attribution of genuine socially responsible business practices (Kotler & Lee, 2005).
To ascertain how CSR is implemented in organizations, some researchers uses a developmental framework to show change in awareness, strategy, and action over time, and posits stages of CSR from elementary to transforming (e. g. , Mirvis & Googins, 2006). Jackson and Nelson (2004) take more of a how-to approach, offering a principle-based framework for mastering what they call the “new rules of the game. ” Examples of principles include harnessing innovation for the public good, putting people at the center, and spreading economic opportunity where in this essay will discuss on how Toyota Motor Corporation applies this.
CSR of Toyota motor corporation
Many companies have established their corporate identities using branding through CSR, which has eventually becoming a focal point of their success and competitive advantage (Werther & Chandler, 2006). Toyota Motor Corporation recognizes corporate social responsibilities and emphasis on safety, the environment and education to offer to people the tools needed to make a difference to help and protect the environment. The company operates under the guidance of a global earth charter that promotes environmental responsibility throughout the organization worldwide.
Toyota becomes the leader in leading the industry to lower emissions and improving fuel economy vehicles. Not only did Toyota create the world's first mass-production gas/electric hybrid car, they are also working ahead in the development of future fuel cell vehicles. (Toyota. com 2011) Toyota Motor Corporation’s commitment to preserving the environment doesn’t stop at just their vehicles. Two of their manufacturing plants have been designated as zero landfill producing operations. Green” complex in California has one of the largest commercial solar panel systems in North America which conserves more than 11 Million gallons of drinking water annually through special pipelines that supply recycled water for cooling and landscaping. (Toyota. com 2011) In addition, contributing to their dedication in environmental preservation, Toyota has also developed strong partnerships with organizations such as The National Arbor Day Foundation and The National Environmental Education.
The corporation partners with organizations, schools, universities and other businesses to support programs that help make the world a better place. Toyota Motor Corporation has a variety of national programs like Toyota Driving Expectations Safety Program, Toyota Youth For Understanding Summer Exchange Scholarship Program, Toyota International Teacher Program, National Center for Family Literacy, Toyota Community Scholars, United States Hipic Chamber of Commerce Internship Program and others.
Strategic Models of CSR Strategic planning as opposed to operational planning concerns the general long-term planning of a Toyota Corporation with the aim to gain economic advantages in the competitive market place. Operational planning in contrast incorporates concrete short- or medium-term activities in line with the strategic goals of the company (Wohe 1993: 141).
A strategic plan usually consists of an analysis of the firm and its environment, the development of strategic goals and alternative strategies, the assessment, evaluation and selection of strategic alternatives, and the implementation, evaluation and control of the strategies (Grant 2005, Hopfenbeck 1997: 40) in which Toyota Corporation did when they came up with their CSR It has been demonstrated by Porter and Kramer that a strategic approach to CSR can incorporate competitive advantages for Toyota Corporation but even more importantly, it allows for an integrated and effective implementation of CS.
Following this argumentation, an inclusive strategic model of CSR was developed combining central ideas of CSR theory with the classical model of strategic planning using narrow view and boarder view. Narrow view On the contrary, supporters of narrow view in CSR claim that Toyota corporations have just one objective- make money. They believe that caring for the environmental, society and other problems are the responsibilities of government and non-profit making organizations sponsored by governments.
A bright supporter of the narrow view is as mention in Milton Friedman theory that those who claims that diverting corporations from the chase of profit makes our economic system less effective.
Friedman states: “The stockholders or the customers or the employees could separately spend their own money on the particular action if they wished to do so. The executive is exercising a distinct "social responsibility," rather than serving as an agent of the stockholders or the customers or the employees, only if he spends the money in a different way than they would have spent it” ( M.Friedman 1970). Another defender of narrow view in corporate social responsibility is famous economist Adam Smith, whose “invisible hand” argument states that if every member of society in a free market economy strives to promote his own economic interests they are led to promote the general good. This may be a good argument in other eras of economics, but using this argument to justify for support of the narrow view will reasonably arise criticisms. The hand-of-government argument of the narrow view states that businesses should have no social role other than making oney. According to inept-custodian argument business executives lack moral and social expertise, and can only make economic decisions. To ask executives to take charge of non-economic responsibilities is equal to putting social welfare in the hands of inept custodians. Broader view Supporter of broader view believe that Toyota Corporation have other obligations apart from pursuing profit because of their great social and economic power, Toyota corporations must carry social responsibility towards society and wider community.
Businesses cannot make decisions which are made solely with economic point of view, because Toyota Corporation are interrelated with the whole social system. Business activities have deep implications for society. As a result, society expects Toyota Corporation to pursue other responsibilities as well. A social contract between society and business represents a unstated understanding within society about the proper goals and responsibilities of business. This social contract is an on-going process of negotiation and change.
This is the basic reason why the doctrine of "social responsibility" involves the acceptance of the socialist view that political mechanisms, not market mechanisms, are the appropriate way to determine the allocation of scarce resources to alternative uses. The New York Times Magazine (1970) To illustrate, it may well be in the long run interest for Toyota Corporation that is a major employer in a small community to devote resources to providing amenities to that community or to improving its government.
That may make it easier to attract desirable employees, it may reduce the wage bill or lessen losses from pilferage and sabotage or have other worthwhile effects. Or it may be that, given the laws about the deductibility of corporate charitable contributions, the stockholders can contribute more to charities they favor by having the corporation make the gift than by doing it themselves, since they can in that way contribute an amount that would otherwise have been paid as corporate taxes.
The New York Times Magazine (1970) .There are many different views regarding corporate social responsibility. Some people defend “broader view” saying that corporations should contribute back to society from their profits they make by selling their products and services to the members of that society. Others defend “narrow view” justifying they stand by claiming that executives are not moral agents and it would be a mistake to include to the scope of their responsibilities to care about nature, wider community and society in general.
My personal view is that profit maximization should not be the only objective of any business corporations. Every company uses resources to manufacture its products or bring its services. These resources include land, human resources, and other resources from nature including gas, water, oil, etc. The fees the companies pay for these resources when obtaining them are insignificant if one compares them with the huge amount of profits companies make when manufacturing products using these resources.
Corporations must, therefore, contribute part of their earnings to society and environment as a way of paying back, even if they have paid when obtaining resources. Thus, I agree to “broader view” in Corporate Social Responsibility and Toyota Motor Corporation is justly and generously contributing to environment and the society and considered a model corporation fulfilling its corporate responsibilities.
- Alessia D'Amato, 2009. Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Business: A Guide to Leadership Tasks and Functions. Edition.
- Center for Creative Leadership. Campbell, J. L. (2007). Why would corporations behave in socially responsible ways? An institutional theory of corporate social responsibility. Academy of Management Review, 32, 946–967.
- Grant, Robert M. (2005): Contemporary Strategic Analysis, 5. ed. Malden, Oxford, Carlton Hopfenbeck, Waldemar (1997): Allgemeine Betriebswirtschafts- und Managementlehre: Das Unternehmen im Spannungsfeld z Jackson, I. A. , & Nelson, J. (2004). Profits with principles: Seven strategies for delivering value with values. New York: Doubleday.
- Kotler, P. , & Lee, N. (2005). Corporate social responsibility: Doing the most good for your company and your cause. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. Mirvis, P. , & Googins, B. K. (2006). Stages of corporate citizenship: A developmental framework [Monograph]. Chestnut Hill, MA: The Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship. The New York Times Magazine, September 13, 1970. Copyright @ 1970 by The New York Times Company. Werther, W. B. , Jr. , & Chandler, D. A. (2006). Strategic corporate social responsibility. New York: Sage Publications.
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