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The purpose of this report is to unpack this controversy. You will have to start by:
Reading the following articles:
Boatright, J.R., 2006. What's wrong—and what's right—with stakeholder management. Journal of Private Enterprise, 21(2), pp.106-130.
Freeman, R.E., Harrison, J.S. and Wicks, A.C., 2007. Managing for stakeholders: Survival, reputation, and success. Yale University Press.
Friedman, M., 2007. The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. Corporate ethics and corporate governance (pp. 173-178). Springer, Berlin Heidelberg.
Jensen, M.C., 2002. Value maximization, stakeholder theory, and the corporate objective function. Business ethics quarterly, 12(02), pp.235-256.
Then conduct your own research and respond to the requirements
In the modern times, corporate social responsibility (CSR) related activities of a business organisation are more visible than ever before. The research community in business fields is divided into two groups on the idea that corporations have to abide by issues of social welfare and must engage in activities that relate to CSR. Researchers in favour of such idea state that businesses have the ability to earn profits for stakeholders even while attempting to ensure social welfare. Researchers who are against this idea indicate that the whole purpose of a business organisation is to earn profits for shareholders, which is essential for the existence of a business organisation. This group also make the argument that managers and CEOs have fiduciary obligations to look for profits of shareholders and not for social welfare.
This essay analyses the ongoing debate on the topic of corporations engaging in social welfare and its enforceability. Various theories linking to the CSR concepts have been identified including normative morality, justice theory and theory of three sustainable bottom-lines. On basis of analysing various theories and their claims, several steps are recommended for managers to follow. It is concluded that managers should give utmost priority to interests of shareholders while following interest of stakeholders in all possible scenarios of business decision making.
A business organisation generally tends to focus solely on the needs and benefits of its shareholders in order to justify its existence. In recent decades, demand among researchers and general public has increased for businesses to act as a responsible member of the society and fulfil some kind of social responsibility to showcase their productiveness. Many businesses routinely engage in activities of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), which are highly praised by society and add to the reputation of a business organisation (Brammer et al., 2012). Some have even argued that CSR is treated by many companies as not a way to help the community rather a way of marketing the organisational brand image among people and earn some goodwill from it(Jahdi & Acikdilli, 2008; Van de Ven, 2008).
For each side of the argument, whether it is pro-CSR or pro-shareholder benefit, many theories have been given by scholars over the years. The controversy on CSR and corporate social welfare stems from opposite viewpoints of two groups in the industry- One group of researchers believe that the whole purpose of a business organisation is to make financial benefit for shareholders and it is the correct viewpoint of looking at a corporation. On the other hand, the group opposed to this theory suggest that all corporations must operate under strict ethical guidelines and work towards empowerment of all stakeholders. This report attempts to compare, contrast and validate such theories of corporate responsibilities and obligations to identify the theoretical framework that should motivate a business corporation. On basis of analysing both groups of thoughts on purpose of a corporation, this report identifies the logical definition and purpose that a corporation should adhere to.
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