By Mike Harrison
This article presents an advent to a couple of the foremost demanding situations dealing with a person serious about criteria of behaviour in organisations. It starts off from a attention of the assets supplied via philosophical ethics and strikes directly to reflect on the demanding situations inherent in operating in a aggressive enterprise surroundings.
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Though the use of the term ‘stakeholders’ is generally seen as a major improvement on a narrow conception of ‘shareholders’ as the source of an organisation’s objectives, there are some further problems in its definition and use. One can imagine a meeting of a company’s executives, local politicians and environmental activists having a discussion on the company’s plans for the future where each person uses the word ‘stakeholder’ but means something different. The executives will talk about paying attention to the needs of all stakeholders and the other participants may feel reassured, but the executives may be using a tight, legalistic view of their duties in terms of consultation and action.
It should come as no surprise that this very basic concern of who is involved in ethical discussion and whose rights, needs and utility are to be explicitly taken into account is of critical importance. g. in marketing ethics in Chapter 19) placing individuals outside the scope of our ethical consideration may be a dubious move if it leads to their being stigmatised as ripe for exploitation or simply ignored as unimportant or ‘nothing to do with us’! 36 Stakeholders and Corporate Social Responsibility Corporate Social Responsibility One of the hot topics in modern management theory, usually termed ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’, is of particular and obvious interest to us in our introductory survey of business ethics.
Cadbury and Wedgwood) saw a moral duty in their relationships with all individuals and acted accordingly, often demonstrating that successful business can draw on apparently altruistic roots. We may, of course, merely characterise this as a cunning form of capitalism with an eye to long-term economic achievement and indeed it can often be difficult to extract a sense of the real motivation underlying such forms of socially aware action. More systematic debate in the latter half of the 20th century has led to the notion of CSR, typically defined as covering a comprehensive set of economic, legal, ethical and even philanthropic expectations.