Corporate Social Responsibility by D. Crowther

By D. Crowther

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By D. Crowther

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Com 35 Corporate Social Responsibility Stakeholders & the social contract When the UK government, for example, initiated its process of the privatisation of nationally owned utilities it was felt necessary to compensate for the inadequacy of the market mechanism for mediating between the conflicting needs of the stakeholders to these industries. Thus the concept of regulation was devised, with appropriate bodies formed, to compensate for the imperfections of competition in the quasi-markets which came into being.

Clarkson (1995) suggests that the voluntary stakeholders include shareholders, investors, employees, managers, customers and suppliers and they will require some value added otherwise they can withdraw their stake and choose not to invest in that organisation again. It is argued that involuntary stakeholders such as individuals, communities, ecological environments, or future generations do not choose to deal with the organisation and therefore may need some form of protection may be through government legislation or regulation.

Ethics is however a problematical area as there is no absolute agreement as to what constitutes ethical (or unethical) behaviour. For each of us there is a need to consider our own ethical position as a starting point because that will affect our own view of ethical behaviour. The opposition provided by deontological ethics and teleological ethics (regarding the link between actions and outcomes) (see below), and by ethical relativism and ethical objectivism (regarding the universality of a given set of ethical principles) represent key areas of debate and contention in the philosophy of ethics.

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