Ethics And Corporate Social Responsibility CSR Essay

Length: 6 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Ethics / Morality Type: Essay Paper: #72742291
Excerpt from Essay :

The activities of businesses affect different stakeholders within the communities they operate in. They affect customers, employees, shareholders, suppliers, financiers, regulatory authorities, and communities. Accordingly, in their pursuit of economic objectives, business organizations have a responsibility to satisfy the concerns of stakeholders affected by their operations. This is the core of corporate social responsibility (CSR). CSR theory asserts that business organizations exist for not only profit motives, but also social and environmental objectives (Schwartz, 2011). Indeed, CSR has become so that important governments in most countries around the world have enacted laws and regulations that businesses must adhere to so as to foster community wellbeing and environmental sustainability. Inattention to social and environmental concerns may harm an organization's public reputation or have serious legal ramifications on the organization.

WECAREHealth (WCH), a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company, is facing serious human rights issues and environmental concerns due to its activities in the African nation of Colberia. WCH is one of the most successful pharmaceutical companies in the world, but the company's little or no regard for workers and the environment in its Colberian operations is one of its major shortcomings as far as corporate ethical responsibility is concerned. Following a brief definition of the notion of stakeholder, this paper identifies WCH's stakeholders and the human rights issues the company presents for some of its stakeholders. The paper also identifies environmental concerns raised by the firm's operations and utilizes various ethical theories (utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics, and ethics of care) to evaluate the firm's treatment of the indigenous people of Colberia. Finally, a comparison of WCH's actions and a number of real-world companies is provided.

Defining a Stakeholder

Broadly speaking, a stakeholder denotes a person or an entity affected by or that affects the operations of a given organization (Carroll, Brown & Buchholtz, 2017). Stakeholders are groups that are necessary for the existence of an organization. These include employees, managers, communities, customers, shareholders, lenders, investors, and government agencies. Stakeholders may also include suppliers, labor unions, professional associations, industry trade groups, advocacy groups, and competitors. These groups influence or are influenced by the activities of organizations in one way or another. For instance, managers make strategic decisions and drive organizational success. Equally, communities...

Indeed, power (influence) and interest are the two major characteristics that differentiate stakeholders. This means that some stakeholders are more important than others. While some stakeholders command huge influence and have high interest in an organization, others have low influence and low interest. For instance, managers have both high influence on and high interest in an organization as they are the responsible for creating wealth for shareholders. On the contrary, suppliers have high interest in the organization owing to the need to secure business, but have little or no influence over the operations of the organization. It is imperative for an organization to understand its most important stakeholders so that it can closely engage and keep them informed.

WCH Stakeholders

Like any other firm, WCH is surrounded by numerous stakeholders. As a pharmaceutical firm, however, the most important stakeholders for the firm include managers, workers, shareholders, communities, government agencies, advocacy groups, and consumers. The company produces products that may pose serious danger to consumers, hence the identification of consumers as a crucial stakeholder group. Consumers have little interest in the operations of the organization, but can have immense power over the firm if the firm's products pose health hazards to human beings. Workers have high interest in the firm, but little influence. They are interested in the firm as it provides a source of income. Typically, workers are interested in good compensation and healthy working conditions.

The communities in which the firm operates are also a crucial stakeholder group. This is particularly because the manufacturing operations of the firm involve destruction of native plant species, transportation of raw materials, air pollution due to the emission of greenhouse gases, and environmental pollution due to the disposal of waste. If the firm's operations have negative consequences on the community and the environment, local communities can pressurize the firm to shut down or to be more responsive to community and environmental needs. Due to the impact of the firm's operations on workers, consumers, communities, and the environment, advocacy groups can impose pressure on the organization. Indeed, advocacy groups often pressurize firms to address the concerns of communities and consumers. Managers, shareholders, and government agencies hold a rather different stake in the organization. Managers are not only interested in the organization, but also have immense influence on how the organization operates. The management formulates and executes strategy, which in turn maximizes shareholder wealth. Shareholders are interested in how profitable the firm is. As such, shareholders may not be concerned about the firm's engagement in social and environmental pursuits. Finally, government agencies constitute a vital stakeholder group as the pharmaceutical industry is one of the most regulated industries. In addition to generally applicable regulations such as tax, employment, competition, and corruption regulations, pharmaceutical firms are subject to product safety and environmental regulations. Without adherence to all the relevant government regulations, the firm may be subject to costly litigations.

WCH and Human Rights Issues

As mentioned earlier, workers comprise one of the most important stakeholder groups for WCH. In its Colberian operations, the company subjects local workers to inhumane working conditions. The company pays local workers $1 a day. Additionally, the workers have to carry heavy loads of indigenous plants for up to five miles from…

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