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The Role of Corporate Social Responsibility in Business
The role of social responsibility in the corporate world is increasing significantly. More companies embrace social responsibility as part of their events. Social responsibility is now a powerful tool for companies to brand themselves and market their products. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) involves regulating business actions in order to comply with business ethics, laws and international norms. It also involves engaging in actions that are socially good to the society. These actions in most occasions are beyond the interest of a company and may include environmental cleanup or supporting the poor and the disadvantaged. The major aim of CSR is creating a positive image to all stakeholders, such as consumers, investors, employees and the local communities. CSR is now compulsory for many companies because of its numerous advantages. Corporate bodies should embrace CSR in order to become successful in the current competitive corporate world.
According to Lockwood (37), there are two major types of CSR. The first major CSR initiative involves companies donating funds for use in major social causes. A company may donate money to charity to help the less advantaged in society. This program may also involve providing scholarships to various students, especially those who cannot afford college fees. This kind of social responsibility should aim at helping the underprivileged in society. The second type of CSR entails producing products or services that will best serve the desires of the society. This is the commonly used social responsibility, which may include using safe materials in construction, environmental cleanup initiatives and producing safe products for the consumers. Other ways include creation of employment and improvement of living standards of the local communities. Most companies prefer the second type of SCR because it is more transparent and is easier to conduct a follow-up than the first type.
Companies should have visible CSR initiatives because of the importance of social media. Social media is an integral part of public opinion and perception and, therefore, companies should use it in order to protect their brands. Organizations should use social media to promote their social responsibility initiatives, such as fundraising or charity programs. The social media in this regard ensures positive branding of an organization's products. This enables an organization to engage with their customers and audience on a deeper level than when using products and services.
Wilhelm (178) states that social responsibility allows organizations to build their public relations. This is because organizations publicize their social responsibility initiatives through the media. Good public relations allow these organizations to brand their image and promote their products. A company with good public relations receives overwhelming support from the public, hence, the company can operate efficiently and effectively. Companies with good public support rarely experience public riots and campaigns against them.
Perhaps, one of the most important keys of CSR is that it allows organizations to have a good relationship with the government and other related regulators. Such organizations rarely experience public inquiries on their functionalities unlike organizations that do not participate in social responsibility. Companies with no social responsibility initiatives endure a lot of inquiries due to their negative image among regulators. Such companies also experience activist's public campaigns against them. Therefore, organizations with CSR initiatives perform efficiently unlike organizations with no such initiatives (Wilhelm, 86).
CSR is beneficial to a country because it helps to solve some social problems in a country. For instance, organizations can provide essential social services that were previously missing, such as the construction of public toilets in public areas, multifunctional markets, children day care centers helpful for working mothers, and other social services. Organizations can also help solve inequality by providing employment opportunities to the marginalized and poor communities, hence reducing gap between the rich and poor within a country. CSR also permits organizations to improve living standards of communities that can otherwise live in poverty. This benefits an organization as it creates a ready market for the company's products because such a community has high purchasing power.
According to Menassa (15), social responsibility can improve the welfare of consumers. This is because it results in establishment of stringent regulations that protect the welfare of consumers. Social responsibility establishes laws that protect against business malpractices, such as high pricing, hoarding and black marketing. CSR enables companies to operate in ethical standards and according to international labor laws. Therefore, companies maintain a good relationship with their employees, thereby reducing labor unrests within a country. CSR ensures protection of workers' rights unlike in organizations with no social responsibility where workers' violation sometimes occurs.
Businesses operate on trust and prudence. Business organizations therefore require the building of trust in order to operate their business processes effectively. Businesses require a trustful relationship with other stakeholders, such as consumers, investors, suppliers, creditors and regulators. CSR provides an easier way of building this trust and insight. However, building trust might be difficult and relationships with other stakeholders rapidly change depending on circumstances. Companies need to ensure long-term trustful relationship not only considering current factors, but also considering changes in social, political and economic issues.
Perhaps, another importance of CSR according to Lockwood (125) is that it allows organizations to effectively manage their staff. CSR permits organizations to retain their workers, hence maintaining a low employee turnover. This reduces hiring and training costs of new employees. In addition, such organizations attract qualified workers, which helps improve productivity in an organization. Organizations should therefore embrace CSR in their functionality because it helps them to be profitable. All the above-mentioned advantages prove that CSR is a strong marketing tool for organizations. Thank you all.