functions of management, planning, organizing, directing and controlling, to which we will add commanding and coordinating, as subsidiaries of the directing and controlling functions, we will easily arrive to the conclusions that the first two functions refer to the company's strategy, to the manager's role in determining a strategic vision for the company and the ways it should follow into the future, while the two latter, corroborated with the subsidiary functions, refer to the human resource management.
In the 21st century, a proper human resource management often makes the difference between the success of the organization, especially as a business entity, and its failure. It has become more and more determining for the company's success the way it chooses and it succeeds to properly utilize the human potential it has in its ranks. Quite so often, it is less a question of financial investments one can make, but more a question of how to fully utilize the human potential in order to achieve the best results with the highest efficiency levels.
This short presentation of the modern manager's function had, in this case, a single goal: to introduce the idea that social responsibility, the concept we will be dealing with throughout the essay, attempting to prove its importance in the 21st century organization, has not only an external projection (as the social responsibility towards to the community to which the organization belongs), but also an inner projection, within the company or the organization, dealing with the way the human resource is handled so as to achieve highest performances.
In this sense, the essay will deal with both ethical implications in terms of the organization's participation to the community's welfare, but also an inner projection, related to the way a company knows how to achieve the perfect symbiosis between the company's vision and mission and each working individual's perception on the way things are going in the company.
First of all, we will need to examine ethical behaviors in the case of several organizations, what social responsibility and ethical issues mean nowadays and conclude therefore that social responsibility and an ethical behavior have become more and more an elementary component of organization strategies in the present. The widespread of social responsibility and social responsibility elements in the 21st century organization needs to be differentiated among the causes and reasons that have led the company to adopt such measures in the first place.
There are two such reasons. The first has a pecuniary justification and refers to the ways social responsibility and a proper publicity in this sense help boost the company's profits. The second justification is a moral one: organizations that genuinely believe in their role in society as an ethical factor, a factor which needs to give back to the community as a counterbalance to receiving from it.
From several sources, it seems that nowadays the social responsibility component within a company has two working elements, interrelated and correlated. The first one refers to establishing a Code of Conduct which will help the organization establish ground rules by which it can thereafter lead its operations. The second one includes propagating these rules within the organization and, I may add, convincing the employees of their applicability and of their positive use
The role of the social responsibility factor nowadays appears also from the important and consistent measures that several companies have been taking in order to support ethical campaigns. One such example, the Sundstrand Corporation, was induced by the "extensive publicity to a perceived legal or ethical violation"
. As we can see from the example of Sundstrand, extensive negative publicity on the social responsibility issue will lead top management and key decision makers within the company to truly believe that it will be less costly to invest in some social issues, to implement a Code of Conduct and to promote it within the employees' ranks than to decide not to and endure dramatic reduction in sales due to a negative image that the company has.
This is definitely not a solitary example, we can think of so many other companies that have been forced by the market and by the evolution on the market to adopt several social responsibility measures, to adapt its ethics and practices to the requirements of the community, so as to obtain the best business results and preserve the figures.
Another such example that comes to mind is related to the cigarette producing companies. Because their image was so affected by the numerous trials they had been part in during the last years of the previous decades, because their image had become so associated with that of 'cancer producers', tobacco companies have attempt to smooth and improve their image by ethical actions, associated with an increased social responsibility. For example, these companies have spent hundred of thousands of dollars on cancer research projects.
For such companies, the intrinsic relationship between the company's long-term strategy and money is extremely important in defining the social responsibility plan of actions. As theoreticians have mentioned, "attitudes about pay influence behavior"
and, in order to paraphrase this, attitudes about money influence behavior as well. The usual attitude organization leaders tend to have about money will influence the way they decide to avoid or, on the contrary, apply, ethical issues and codes within their company, as well as their general course of action.
Despite the pecuniary implications of social responsibility, something which we cannot deny under any conditions, because the main goal of any business will be, at any given moment, the maximization of the company's profits, there are examples of organizations that have applied ethical programs because of a true concern for the "ethical environment"
In the particular case Gael McDonald referred to, the promotion of social responsibility and of social responsibility principles seemed to be determined by a simple wish to "feel good about oneself." Just as an individual will be willing to donate so as to have a clean conscious that he has done something in order to help his community, similarly, the organization McDonald describes genuinely wished to contribute to the community's welfare.
So, from the example that Gael McDonald gives, we may, in our analysis of the widespread use and propagation of social responsibility, conclude that there is sometimes a moral justification of ethical actions for several organizations. We may also conclude, going back to the example, that this justification emanates from the organizational culture applied at the work place. The case presented there is eloquent in this sense, because so many actions and the length to which these actions were committed can only have an organized reasoning behind.
For example, the CEO of the analyzed company "was adamant that he was prepared to lose a contract if it meant that the ethical code of the company would otherwise be violated"
. As we can see here, the ethical flow is upwards-downwards, which means that the CEO, the leader of the company and top manager, is the first to give out an eloquent example of what is understood by organizational ethics (within his company), by applying a Code of Conduct and, in the end, by social responsibility, as the impact of the organization in the community.
How can we differentiate companies that use social responsibility as an image tool and decide on ethical and moral actions so as to improve their image capital from companies that are actually interested in developing added-value within the community and believe in a norm of values?
In my opinion, the historical criteria may be of use in this case. In this sense, returning to the example of the cigarette producers, it is really difficult to believe that a company for which the only objective during a long period of existence on the market has been profit maximization at all costs, including negative consequences, will have all of a sudden turned into an apostle of good will and morality. It is really difficult to believe. As such, the company's activity and the way it has chosen to run its business will most likely give a good impression of what the company's intentions have been.
As a second part of answering this question, we have to turn back to the brief theory we have exposed on money and refer to the perception people tend to have on money. As it is mentioned, "different people perceive, value, and treat money differently"
, with the causes for this ranging from the society factors to environmental, cultural and contextual ones. The less one tends to place money as the top priority in his scale of values, the more he will be inclined to be opened towards other forms of expression, including towards ethical gestures towards his community. On an organizational level, a company for whom the profit comes as a natural completion of its activity will be inclined to adopt a strict ethical and moral code and way of action in its future.
We have to refer now to the importance of ethics and…