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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Introduction
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a new development in the corporate world that requires companies to be accountable for their activities to the public. In addition, CSR is also another way through which the organization can give back to the society in a way of showing gratitude for their support. Therefore, the main objective of the CSR movement is to encourage companies to be more perverse of the impact that their businesses have on the rest of the community and country at large, the environment in which it operates, as well as being accountable to company stakeholders. As such, the following paper is an analysis of the concept of corporate social responsibility as applied by different companies by evaluating the constructs involved, as well as the benefits accrued.
What is CSR?
CSR is a business approach that enabled the company or any legal institution with perpetual existence to contribute to the sustainable development goals of its region or nation through its disciplined delivery on economic, social, as well as environmental benefits to all of the company’s stakeholders. In this regard, the CSR concept relates to a broad spectrum but primarily focusing on the positive attributes as well as contributions that the company can make to the public and the environment at large. Some of the key topics involved in the concept of CSR include human rights, health and safety, corporate governance, contributions to economic growth and development, as well as good working conditions among many others. Subsequently, it is worth noting that the effective undertaking of CSR is instrumental in promoting the corporate reputation as well as the brand image of the company.
In order to implement the provisions of CSR within an organization, it is necessary to first of all give it a proper definition. The definition will then outline what the construct entails, thereby guiding the company on what policies to implement in order to achieve its CSR objectives. For instance, ISO defines CSR as the responsibility of a company for its activities as well as decisions regarding how the two impact both the environment and the society. Furthermore, this requires the adoption and implementation of integrity, transparency, accountability, as well as ethical behaviours. In essence, CSR activities of the company should contribute to the sustainable development of the company and the environment, take into account the expectations of different stakeholders, as well as comply with applicable laws. Moreover, CSR policies must be consistent with the international norms of behavior, not to integrated across the company. 
Corporate View of CSR
In most circumstances, business leaders as well as scholars in the management field consider CSR as a response by the organization to the failures of the business. This is especially with regard to the fact that sometimes business growth and expansion comes at the expense of the environment. A perfect example is the Chinese case whereby development was given the first priority at the expense of the environment, a fact that turned China into the country with the highest level of industrial pollution across the entire globe. For instance, China is leading in the levels of carbon emissions in the world, followed by the US among other developed countries. Therefore, the growth in size, impact, as well as power of modern corporations significantly defines their CSR goals as the corporations look towards correcting their respective business failures. 
Consequently, growth in business operations of a company is characterised by the separation of ownership from control, subsequently giving rise to the modern techniques of management. These management techniques can be lauded for creating great efficiencies, but they also take home significant blame for the dilution of individual responsibility which usually stands out whenever a company gets into strife. In fact, business failures coupled with crises in corporate accountability facilitate the greater questioning of the different natures of corporate responsibilities. In this regard, corporate leaders opt to deal with CSR issues through specialist business organizations such as the UN Global Compact, the Global Reporting Initiative, as well as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. On the other hand, the scholarship related to CSR is inclined to many different areas including ethics, management, psychology, finance and accounting, sociology as well as communications, sustainability and public affairs. 
Aside from the fact that the general trend regarding the perception of CSR by companies is primarily in response to specific business failures, the corporate view of CSR is equally influenced by both national as well as cultural contexts. For instance, the US started practising the CSR concept in the 1970s as companies responded to the large scale changes or developments within the society, such as the case of rising civil rights movements, the growing anti-war sentiment, as well as the rise in consumerism. The growth of consumerism sought to protect consumers from exploitation, especially by unscrupulous traders in the market. Conversely, CSR in the US was perceived as an expression of the business values of a company, which would in turn give the company a higher corporate margin as opposed to its competitors, especially in a world that it highly competitive.
On the other hand, the UK started implementing CSR in the view that it would enable the company to enjoy business benefits. As such, these CSR activities sought to enable UK based companies to respond to business failures such as the heightened rates of unemployment in the country as at 1982, the growth in urban rioting, as well as attempts to integrate considerations of societal impacts within the business strategy. In this regard, environmental considerations prevailed over the adoption and implementation of the concept of CSR across Europe. For instance, the EU requires companies to make environmental disclosures when preparing their company reports. Japan’s corporate perception of CSR is primarily expressed through employee benefits as well as environmental reporting. Indian companies, on the other hand, perceive the concept of CSR as a social investment, playing a central role in the development of business strategies. 
Governance View of CSR
The governance view of CSR outlines the other way in which the concept of CSR can be perceive, which entails global governance mechanisms. As such, understanding CSR from this perspective is quite insightful as it enables one to realise the reason as to why the civil societies as well as governments have a special interest in CSR activities. In fact, this particular view of CSR being a mechanism for global governance arises from the global trans-national institutions that developed during the 21st century, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United Nations, the International Labour Organization (ILO), as well as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In addition, international treaties as well as bi lateral agreements reached by governments and non governmental institutions (NGOs) also create a substantial platform for the adoption of CSR practices from a governance perspective. As such, it is worth noting that the arrangement of these institutions is designed for creation of an international order around different core pillars, including respect for human rights, democracy, as well as sustainable economic development.
In essence, the governance view of CSR seeks to address the failures of the world in addressing poverty as well as other issues relating to the well being of human beings, such as human rights. Therefore, there is need to assure the stakeholders of equitable distribution of benefits drawn from the liberalization of trading activities, a fact that has significantly promoted the adoption and implementation of the CSR concept within corporate bodies. As such, these international bodies such as the UN advocate for the adoption and implementation of CSR within the corporate institutions, which is done through enactment of policies and regulations. The latest among these is the Sustainable Development Goals released by the UN in 2015 September which outlined an international framework designed for proper addressing of the CSR issues at both corporate as well as governmental levels.

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Corporate Responsibility of a Corporation
The big question in the adoption and implementation of CSR lies in the beneficiaries of this concept. From the corporate side, it is worth noting that any company that successfully implements its CSR policies and achieves its CSR objectives gains a significant milestone within the market or industry in which it operates. The reason for this assertion is because CSR provides a company with the much needed competitive edge it requires to become a market leader by painting itself as a sustainable business, caring for the needs of its individual stakeholders, as well as those of the environment. As a result, the company becomes successful in the sense that its brand becomes acceptable and reputable within the market, leading to increased sales volumes of the company not only within its domestic markets but also across its international markets, especially for multinational corporations such as McDonalds, Wal-Mart as well as Starbucks whose integrated CSR policies have enabled them to rise in the global market as leaders in their respective industries.
However, when implementing the constructs of CSR, it is worth noting that the company should be responsible to its stakeholders. All companies have a responsibility to meet the demands of its stakeholders who exercise some form of ownership claims on its activities and operations across different platforms. For instance, the stakeholders can exercise material ownership in the company, which could either be financial, or non financial, or exercise informational ownership, political ownership, as well as affiliative ownership. In this regard, when the companies attend to the issues and interests of a wider set of stakeholders, they end up maximizing their intangible assets, such as strategic business relationships, brand reputation, goodwill, opportunities for innovation, as well as trust, and loyalty of the customers. The key stakeholders of the company include shareholders, employees, local communities, customers, suppliers, the government, the media, regulatory authorities as well as financiers. 
Therefore, the main task of the management of an organization in this case relates to identifying the key stakeholders of its company in order to understand their salience for the strategic future of the company. One of the best and most practical way of prioritising stakeholders is through their legitimacy, power, as well as urgency. In addition, the management of the company can also consider the likelihood of these stakeholders to take action on the company in the face of perceived or actual constraints, in addition to examining the simultaneous influences that these stakeholders exercise within a corporate network or stakeholder relationships. Therefore, the stakeholder view is a precedence for the corporations to manage their respective relationships with all its stakeholders, take into consideration social issues, as well as attend to all existing relationships in a manner that is fundamental to the successful implementation of the CSR approach.
Corporate Social Responsibilities of a Corporate Body
It is worth noting that the social responsibilities of an organization relate to the responsibilities of the company arising from the context of its corporate relationships with its stakeholders. In this case, the CSR and policies adopted by the company should not simply focus on one or a few select group of stakeholders, or those considered as priority stakeholders of the company. On the contrary, the CSR efforts and activities of the company should be equitable and uniformly applied towards each of its stakeholders. For instance, the company should not focus on pleasing its customers at the expense of its employees, such as overworking its employees or making them work under unfavourable conditions so that they can meet the demands of its consumers.
In this regard, it is evident that the stakeholder view of the company with regard to the application of CSR activities is interrelated. In essence, this means that the company cannot purport to be fulfilling it social responsibilities towards one or a few selected stakeholders while leaving out one or more of its stakeholders. For instance, the company cannot maximize shareholders’ wealth through increasing its profit margins by overworking its employees or selling substandard goods to its customers. One way or the other, the wrongs will come to light and will eventually have a significant damage on the corporate image of the company, subsequently watering down the CSR achievements already made as at the time. Therefore, when a company implements its CSR policies and objectives, it must ensure that they cut across the entire divide of the company, primarily satisfying the needs of each individual stakeholder without jeopardising the interests of the other stakeholders.
Benefits of CSR
In this regard, it is advisable for companies to adopt and implement CSR initiatives and policies within their organizational cultures in order to enjoy the benefits accrued from CSR. Currently, a company that does not have a CSR plan is does not have an equal competing platform like its counterparts who have an elaborate CSR plan. The reason for this assertion is because the modern day business setting requires expects companies to be responsible and accountable for their actions and decisions. As such, the best way to show this level of accountability is through adherence to the provisions of CSR principles. Therefore, when the company fails to exercise any forms of CSR activities that are notably visible within the public limelight, then the company is likely to lose a significant market following. On the other hand, if the company implements strategic CSR policies by meeting the demands of all of its stakeholders, then it would benefit significantly from the fruits of CSR, some of which are discussed below.
Positive impact on the community
By keeping social responsibilities at the front of the mind when doing business, companies are encouraged to act in an ethically manner, one that takes into consideration both social as well as environmental impacts of the company’s business activities. conversely, the company will avoid or mitigate any detrimental impacts that their businesses can impact on the community or the society, especially with regard to the industrial effluents that end up polluting the environment. Similarly, organizations can also find new ways of implementing changes in its product delivery or service delivery, as well as its value chain in what would actually deliver significant benefits to the community.
Supporting public value outcomes
Public value refers to the value that an organization can contribute to the society. An organization with a high level of public value will have a reputable brand image in the public as opposed to an organization with a low public value. As such, organizations need to institute a sound as well as robust CSR framework coupled with an organizational mindset that can genuinely facilitate the company’s efficient delivery of public value outcomes. This can be achieved by focusing on the specific services making a difference within the community either directly or indirectly. The indirect approach arises when the services provided by the organization support others to make their contributions to the community. On the other hand, the direct approach is where the organization invests its own activities towards community projects and activities such as philanthropy or volunteerism. In fact, many organizations have programs that allow their workers to volunteer their services to communal duties as part of their CSR activities.
Supporting the company to become the employer of choice
Workers are the best asset that a company can have. Therefore, a company needs to make itself attractive to potential employees by becoming the employer of choice, which will in turn boost its competitive edge in the market. As an employer of choice, the company will be in a position to attract as well as retain a high calibre of staff, whose commitment and productivity in the organization boosts its profitability. As such, CSR provides the right conduits for a company to appeal itself to existing employees as well as potential employees within the job market by implementing policies that facilitate a work life balance, positive conditions of working as well as flexibility in the workplace. Similarly, a robust CSR framework is also instrumental in promoting the attractiveness of the company to future employees, as employees nowadays are looking for workplaces that undertake socially responsible practices, observe sound ethics, in addition to upholding community mindedness. 
Encouraging both personal and professional development
CSR activities are also beneficial to the company as they enable their employees to undergo both personal as well as professional development, which when applied to the company, boost their productivity significantly. In essence, availing to employees of the company an opportunity to volunteer to the CSR activities of the company is beneficial in the sense that it teaches the workers new skills. As such, these workers can in return apply these newly acquired skills in their respective work stations. As such, in supporting employees volunteerism in company’s CSR activities, the company facilitates the growth of an employee in both personal as well as professional constructs.
Enhancement of relationships with clients
A strong CSR framework implemented by a company is instrumental in building as well as maintaining trust between the company at its clients. The reason for this assertion is because the CSR framework presents a particular image of the company before its stakeholders and clients, and as such, the clients know whether or not the company is trustworthy. As such, this allows for strengthening of business ties, building of alliances, as well as fostering strong working relationships with both the old as well as the new clients. For instance, a company can easily achieve this through offering or similar or pro-bono services such as partnering with an NGO to support public value outcomes, such as fundraising for famine relief. Subsequently, these CSR activities deliver public value outcomes that would otherwise never have been delivered by the company.
Conclusion
In conclusion, it is evident from the analysis that CSR plays a crucial role in promoting the public image and performance of a company. Therefore, it is advisable for all companies to set in place measures that would enable them to effectively implement a productive CSR framework in order to tap into the numerous benefits provided by CSR activities.