Assignment #4, Learning Unit 3: Activity 1
Lincoln Memorial University
Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility
I believe that Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility is just a good practice of doing unto others what and how you would have them do unto you. Every ethnicity and era practiced a set of basic ethics and beliefs based upon their faith tradition or locality. I do not believe that just because a person considers themselves to be a believer in Christ or any other religion that they do not operate against their underlying beliefs for their own personal gain.
It is believed that there are two basic views of business ethics. “The first, the theory of amorality, is that business should be amoral, that is, conducted without reference to the full range of ethical standards, restraints, and ideals in society” (Steiner & Steiner, 2012, p. 198). “The second basic ethical view is the theory of moral unity, in which business actions are judged by the general ethical standards in society, not by a special set of more permissive standards” (Steiner & Steiner, 2012, p. 199).
It appeared to some that behind the confines of the business walls that what happened at work stays at work and their actions are in the best interest of the business. By separating the standards at home from that within the company or business allowed the inner workings of the company to proceed unethically and the executives were able to sleep at night without fail. Although on the other side of the coin was a man by the name of James Cash Penney, he resided with the theory of moral unity. In his early years he was following the guidance of a butcher shop owner that sold him the business. He was told that if he bought a bottle of whiskey each week for the chef of the local hotel he would be able to retain their business and continue making a profit. After some time this weighed heavily on him and he reconsidered this notion and decided to no longer supply the chef with the whiskey and he abruptly lost the hotel’s business.
To J.C. Penney, and other exemplars of the theory of moral unity, desire to succeed is never an excuse to neglect principled behavior. Actions are not moral just because they make money. Ethical conflicts cannot be avoided simply because they arise in the course of business. (Steiner & Steiner, 2012, p. 200)
But to what exactly do we now expect of a company in regards to CSR? It is one thing for a small company or local church to embrace CSR, however, “It is another for a multinational corporation like Sprint Nextel to appoint a vice president in charge of corporate social responsibility” (Senser, 2007, p. 77). How much of this is just a façade in a company operating internationally in which the laws governing the workforce is much different than it is here in the United States. If every company does not operate under the same set of rules then one company who chooses to abide by the laws but not the same set of ethical principles may be at an advantage over those who attempt to do the right thing for the society around them.
We have heard in the news of the past several years about the working conditions in many third world countries. We have most recently heard that of Apple and Nike in the not so distant past with their sweatshops. Due to the products we desire