It is evident that Intent, efforts and communication will vary from corporate to corporate, where in some corporations, corporate social responsibility is considered as a priority that is managed closely, comparable to HR issues or public relations, while in other corporations its kept to a bare minimum.
Ethics (lack of)
In the case study, Becton Dickinson, the world’s largest manufacturer of medical supplies did not have clear corporate social responsibility strategy with a long term view, and instead chose not to change the design of its needles and syringes, despite the growing risk of injuries reported. The focus of corporation clearly echoed Milton Friedman’s view, where the primary duty of corporation was to maximize its profit to benefit its shareholder, in this instance by minimizing capital outlay.
To make point clear, it is sensible to agree that the main duty of a business is to maximize its profit to benefit its shareholder. Having said that, this is not enough.
Business needs to assume ‘social concern’, especially in this case study where ethics are non-existent. This is evident by purchasing an exclusive license to produce safety-lok syringe, but chose to market only one model and not the whole range as this would compete with its flagship product, despite market and consumer needs.
Short term view of the corporation has led to number of court cases and settlements for undisclosed sums of money, but this did not change their policy towards corporate social responsibility. Short term view of protection profits and having monopoly as a largest manufacturer has ended in federal court alleging that they violated antitrust laws and harmed consumers and health care workers by using GPO to monopolies the safety needle market, resulting in numerous out of court settlements
Later in 2009, jury found Becton Dickinson guilty of copying Retractables design and selling it as their own, prompting lack of ethics and social obligation, in this case overlooked or ignored.
Business like people, can become set in their ways, become unresponsive to the demands of the market, where unresponsive business generally goes out of the business.
The outcome for Becton Dickinson could have been very different if they had corporate social responsibility strategy with a long term views. Good examples of socially responsible capitalism are WalMart, VISA, Coca Cola and Volkswagen, where at the same time businesses are maximizing profits to its shareholders, while addressing society’s issues
WalMart opened in-house Money Centers in its stores across the USA, targeting people without traditional bank accounts. This is great move by WalMart, that can have a great social impacts in the long run with economically less advantaged customers who likely to be young, low-income, and relatively less educated members of either African-American or Hispanic/Latino communities. Although the motives are not yet clear, WalMart has made a step in the right direction as their have a long term strategy and understanding that their existence and profitability depends on the state of society.
Similar to WalMart, VISA has built partnerships with local governments and non-profits focusing on financial inclusions, which is having a great impact in developing countries by giving people a way to pay though electronic payment systems, allowing them to use VISA Debit Cards to weather impact to their finances by using funds they have instead of owing money to the banks.
Coca Cola on the other hand, started program to empower young woman entrepreneurs, aimed at bringing 5 million in the developing countries into its business by 2020 as a local bottler and distributor of Coca Cola products. To make a strong statement, they proudy…