In my opinion, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a concept that encompasses policies and actions aimed at specific improvements for society, rather than the increase of profits. I believe that business organizations should represent socially responsible behavior in their activities since neglecting it is unethical and harmful for business. Pure maximization of profits was relevant at the dawn of the capitalistic paradigm. However, the times have changed, and business solutions from the early 19th century might bring only short-term gain while possibly ruining the company’s reputation in the long run.
Thankfully, modern corporations seem to realize that change and take it into consideration. Liang and Renneboog (2017) stated that corporations often focus on such objectives as providing employee benefits, investing in environmentally friendly production processes, and helping the poor in developing countries. Yes, their judgment might be guided mainly by concerns about business reputation. However, we should be fair in that regard — in this case, a good outcome for society is more important than its reasons. After all, big corporations have to meet the expectations of their customers and shareholders and pay taxes and salaries. Therefore, they have to stay competitive and profitable in order to fulfill the obligations.
As for ensuring socially responsible behavior from the manager’s point of view, the best way would be to write a particular Code of ethical and socially responsible conduct. All employees must get acquainted with it during recruitment and strictly follow the Code afterward. In addition, all business partners must take the Code into consideration and understand the possible consequences of its violation. In the end, business reputation is often worth more than profits.
Liang, H., & Renneboog, L. (2017). On the foundations of corporate social responsibility. The Journal of Finance, 72(2), 853-910.