Coca-Cola Company: Corporate Social Responsibility

Many companies have used corporate social responsibility (CSR) for different reasons. CSR has been used to address cultural, ethnical, and political issues all around the globe. Companies usually develop a CSR policy that acts as a guide to the type of CSR the company engages in to keep tabs on the importance of CSR. As a human resources (HR) manager, it would be my duty to understand and analyse the pros and cons of a CSR policy in the company I am working in. This essay will use the corporate social responsibility policy of Coca-Cola to discuss the benefits and disadvantages of implementing a CSR policy.

The Coca-Cola Company is international soft drinks and beverage company. It has been involved in numerous CSR activities, including a long-term sustainable growth project in Africa, supporting people affected by typhoons. It also supports the delivery of clean water in Ethiopia and other African countries, in addition to supporting women empowerment (Kotler & Keller 2009). Coca-Cola’s CSR policy states that the company will do whatever it can to ensure global sustainability. Drawing from the activities and a policy statement of Coca-Cola, one can note the relationship between CSR and politics and culture and ethnicity. Many CSR activities usually target developing countries.

In regard to human resources managers, Gond et al. (2011) explain that the link between CSR and HR is leadership. CSR allows the company to be perceived as one with excellent leadership that values the society (Cooke 2011). The work of HR is to ensure that there is outstanding leadership in the company (Gond et al. 2011). This is a benefit of implementing a CSR policy in an organisation.

Drawing from the Coca-Cola Company, it is clear that CSR helps the company learn and appreciate the culture of the target market. As mentioned, Coca Cola is a global company; thus, it is located across various cultures. It is the work of the human resources manager to ensure that the people picked to head and work in the company in any society know the culture of the target population well. Therefore, HR can use the culture to come up with beneficial hiring and firing strategy (Grimshaw, Rubery & Almond 2011).

Shen (2011) argues that HR and CSR can be joined to form the social responsible international human resource management. The scholar argues that CSR is only beneficial because of globalisation. Thus, combining it with HR will only be helpful on a global scale. Yang, Wong, and Colvin (2013) agree with this argument and explain that in this day and age, business and society are intertwined. Thus, there are several aspects of both business and society that are borrowed from each other.

As mentioned, both HR and CSR can be used to advance the goals of an organisation. However, as Caldwell et al. (2011) explain, there are ethical implications for this, which serve as the disadvantages of mixing HR and CSR. One such implication is the misalignment of the HR principles to the CSR guidelines. For example, CSR guidelines acknowledge the importance of developing relationships with the public and doing activities that show that the company puts the society before itself. However, HR principles require that the HR manager puts the company first before anything else, which can cause confusion. Guest and Woodrow (2012) explain that the boundaries of HR limit HR’s power to be involved in making critical decisions about the organisation’s success strategy.

Reference List

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Cooke, FL 2011, ‘Social responsibility, sustainability and diversity of human resources’, In AW Harzing, & AH Pinnington, (Eds.), International human resources management 3rd ed., Sage, London, pp. 583-624. Web.

Gond, J, Igalens, J, Swaen, V, & El Akremi, A 2011, ‘The human resources contribution to responsible leadership: An exploration of the CSR–HR interface’, J Bus Ethics, vol. 98, pp. 115–132. Web.

Grimshaw, D, Rubery, J, & Almond, P, 2011, ‘Multinational companies and the host country environment’, In AW Harzing & AH Pinnington (Eds.), International human resources management, 3rd ed., Sage, London, pp. 227-266. Web.

Guest, DE & Woodrow, C 2012, ‘Exploring the boundaries of human resource managers’ responsibilities’, J Bus Ethics, vol. 111, pp. 109–119. Web.

Kotler, P & Keller, KL 2009, A framework for marketing management, 4th ed., Prentice Hall, New York, NY. Web.

Shen, J 2011, ‘Developing the concept of socially responsible international human resource management’, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. 22, no. 6 pp. 1351–1363. Web.

Yang, N, Colvin, C, & Wong, Y 2013, ‘Navigating corporate social responsibility components and strategic options: the IHR perspective,’ Academy of Strategic Management Journal, vol. 12, no 1, pp. 39–56. Web.