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Corporate Social Responsibility, a philosophy or a marketing tool?

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Corporate Social Responsibility, for a better world.

Today, we can see a lot of companies investing time and funds in Corporate Social Responsibility. I was recently asking the question on a forum if such programs are the concretisation of a philosophical culture or by the motivation of a positive marketing image. This question suggests a cynical intention of companies to do a positive action for business purposes. If sometimes such question is asked by some of us, it is probably because the Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives goals are a bit in the opposite of the company goal, it means to make profit. And the other question is to know if the final goal to implement Corporate Social Responsibility programs is to contribute to a positive social action or if it is to develop a positive marketing image. It is always easy to criticize such initiatives by saying that it was not done for a good reason, in this case for social purpose. But such initiatives make cense when the strategy and the philosophy of the company is in accordance with such actions. In other words, could we believe to the valuable reasons of a CSR program of a company when this company is firing people in order to maximize profit?

Do not forget that companies needs to make profit in order to ensure the development and the sustainability of their activities. Do not forget that there cannot be efficient social policy without strong economy. Both are linked, but companies would have to integrate all the dimensions, social, economical, development, people management, motivation…in their corporate values. In a lot of case, it implies a change of paradigm. Is the economy there to serve people or people have to serve the economy? As I already asked in other articles, is a economy sustainable when companies are cutting jobs to make more profit and when you reduce the purchasing power of people? In such context, does the CSR appear as a cynical way to gain respectability? Such a paradox does not appear as positive. But we have maybe to see here the possibility to develop another business model, where all the components have to be taken into account, in order to show a more coherent image. There is already existing companies and business based on the Social economy model. These companies are integrating different values, and sometimes more constraints to develop a sustainable business. But this kind of environment initiates most of the time more creativity, and particularly when the people are motivated and subscribe to the company project. I remember an article about an IT small company based on a cooperative model, where each employee could acquire shares of the company and have a vote to the board of directors. This model shows interesting advantages. The CEO of this company was mentioning in the article that with such company model, he could be fired by the employees, and that he was taking more time to make proposals and taking decisions. But on the other side, the employees are more involved in the project and have more responsibilities on their shoulders. It is not forbidden to think about the possible changes that CSR could produce on the way to do business.

Does it mean that every company cannot implement Corporate Social Responsibility in order to avoid critics? Certainly not! Such initiatives have to be encouraged and have not to be criticized. But I think that a CSR program starts within the company, by taking care about a range of value, like people management, employee wellness and personal development, environment concerns. Such program can contribute to reduce costs and to increase the employee commitment. These programs could be nice challenges if the ones who initiate them, want to do it with efficiency and reach a valuable goal. It offers a positive contribution for those who needs some help in particular difficult time, and contributes to give a positive feeling of usefulness for those who contribute to the realisation of such programs. For programs where people are dedicating time as volunteer, it is a good experience to face challenges, to be confronted to some difficult situations. This kind of experience is invaluable and brings a positive contribution in terms of education. Probably that a lot of us, we lost one day our job and we had to face difficult time. We had probably chance to have people around us giving supports and encouragement. We don’t have to forget this. It is important from time to time to give assistance to people, but also to help them to take a new start. As said previously, there is no social without economy, and no economy without social. Before to be consumers, we are first human being.




Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

December 6, 2010 at 21:22

2 Responses

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  1. All the things done by someone in conducting demand for goods and services must maintain economic ethics. economic ethics can be defined as the values and laws that govern human life in accordance with the rules of economics, for example, if you as an employer in conducting business or trade, will hold on economic principles.

    December 8, 2010 at 12:37

  2. hi I was luck to look for your topic in wordpress
    your topic is terrific
    I learn much in your blog really thank your very much
    btw the theme of you blog is really splendid
    where can find it


    December 11, 2010 at 15:22

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