Corporate Social Responsibility (Business Ethics)

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Corporate social responsibility is an important but "evolving" concept and thus while it may be easier to define it; it is certainly difficult to explain the motives of a company behind adoption of this strategy. It is believed that firms are not always interested in long term image enhancement that results from CSR but some are simply looking for immediate financial gains accruing from spending on community projects.


Barnard (1938) had similar argument in mind when he said: "It seems to me inevitable that the struggle to maintain co-operation among men should as surely destroy some men morally as battle destroys them physically." (p.278) Such moral beliefs and values gave birth to the organized concept of CSR.
Interestingly not everyone feels the same way. While many support the concept of CSR, there are some thinkers including the well-known economist, Milton Friedman who did not agree with the idea of investing in community work. We shall discuss Friedman later in the paper with greater detail.
Ethics has always been an integral part of the way human beings are expected to think and behave. For this reason, it has entered the field of business and commerce as well. Many philosophers have posed the question: "why does a person behave ethically". In the same vein, we can ask, why must a firm behave ethically The answer can come from religious, moral as well as purely capitalist sources. It is believed that man is expected to behave ethically because it is the "divine command", one's duty, or in the words of Kant, an action is considered right only when it is based on a sense of duty. ...
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