Management - Corporate Social Responsibilities Essay

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"What Katrina showed us was how we can use our size and resources to do something very good." Inspired by its role in helping Katrina victims, Wal-Mart looked at the impact a company its size could have throughout the world on a daily basis if it embraced corporate social responsibility (CSR)" (Ferdinand, 2007). But despite of this, a certain level of accommodation continues to exist.

Defense

The accusations brought to the supermarket chain are endless and they are likely to continue in the future as well. But the company has fought hard to counteract the harmful effects. Their best defense has been built on arguments such as:

Wal-Mart associate (employee) makes $17,000 per year and he is free to look for another job if he is dissatisfied

The company offers low prices, allowing as such the population to increase its savings and live a better life

The company obeys by the legal rules and their sole purpose is to maximize corporate value, not become a social institution (Wake Up Wal-Mart Blog, 2005)

Obstruction

The company has made efforts to conduct their operations as according to the viable legislation. But other than actually respecting the laws to best of its ability, the company has been mostly centered on achieving its personal goals. Foremost, the company officials themselves declared that Wal-Mart was not intended as a social organization, but as a profitable one, who's only responsibilities are to maximize shareholder value and to respect the law (Wake Up Wal-Mart Blog, 2005).

2.3 Social Responsibility

Economic Responsibilities

Wal-Mart has to obey the regulations imposed by various national and international organizations in regard to:

fair competition international trading market trading and stock operations distribution of profits, acquiring of additional investments

Legal Responsibilities

The multinational company has to operate according to the following legal obligations:

fair and equal treatment of all employees (salary, equal opportunities to promotion, annual vacation days, weekly and daily rest and so on) the timely payment of the state taxes lack of discriminatory policies product quality

Ethical Responsibilities the development of the communities where it activates fair and respectful treatment of all employees

Discretionary Responsibilities

The company is privately own and therefore has the freedom to implement any discretionary policies. These policies are given by the type of operations conducted, the number of subsidies and employees as well as a wide number of other features which reveal the uniqueness of Wal-Mart. A relevant example of such a discretionary responsibility is that of caring for all of its stores across the globe. For instance, say a store is registering losses and another is registering high profits; then the mother company will distribute the profits as to be sufficient and sustain both stores.

3. Conclusions

Wal-Mart is the largest American chain of supermarkets and despite it being the epitome of corporate success, it has attracted endless accusations and has generated endless disputes. The company used various methods to answer to the accusations, the most relevant ones being proaction, when the company set out to prove the accusers wrong and engaged in various operations; the accommodation, where it relied on its reputation and low prices to take no action and hope the disclaimers would cease their protests; the defense, actions during which Wal-Mart explained their operations and basically stated that it was not their obligation to respect all social aspects, but only the legal ones, as they were a profitable not social organization. Whichever social responsibility strategy adopted and despite the disputes, fact remains that Wal-Mart is the story of a success and an American icon.

References

Anderson, J.W. Jr., 1989, Corporate Social Responsibility: Guidelines for Top Management, Quorum Books

Berkhout, T., January-February 2005, Corporate Gains: Corporate Social Responsibility Can Be the Strategic Engine for Long-Term Corporate Profits and Responsible Social Development, Alternatives Journal, Vol. 31

Cahiles-Magkilat, B., January 9, 2001, Wal-Mart in Talks with Uniwide on Possible Tie-Up, Manila Bulletin

Gary, D., Summer 2004, Imperial Design: Theological Ethics and the Ideologies of International Politics, Cross Currents, Vol. 54

Ferdinand, a., February 14, 2007, Wal-Mart Determined to Lead in Corporate Social Responsibility, News and Information, McCombs School of Business

Florini, a., Spring 2003, Business and Global Governance: The Growing Role of Corporate Codes of Conduct, Brookings Review, Vol. 21

Lichtenstein, N., 2006, Wal-Mart: The Face of Twenty-First-Century Capitalism, the New Press

Marquard, W.H., Birchard, B., December 2006, Wal-Smart: What it Really Takes to Profit in a Wal-Mart World, the McGraw Hill Companies

Sims, R.R., 2003, Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility: Why Giants Fall, Praeger

Spotts, G., Greenwald, R., November 2005, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, the Disinformation Company

Thompson, J.K., Smith, H.L., 1991, Social Responsibility and Small Business: Suggestions for Research, Journal of Small Business Management, Vol. 29

Vance, S.S., Scott, R.V., October 1994, Wal-Mart: A History of Sam Walton's Retail Phenomenon, Macmillan Library Reference

Zinman, T., March 2001, Truth and Beauty, American Theatre, Vol. 18…[continue]

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