Social responsibility and ethics play a key role in an individual’s value system.
In recent years, we have witnessed consumer confidence getting eroded following the emergence of various corporate scandals like Enron and the failure of a number of banks as well. Therefore, the issue of ethics becomes very important. This should be the case, regardless of whether the company in question deals directly with its customers, or not.
In this paper, the writer attempts to examine the role of ethics and social responsibility in developing a strategic plan in an organization. The effect that the program has had on the writer’s ethical perspective shall also be examined.
Role of ethics in strategic planning
Ethics entails choosing between what is right and what is wrong. The key ingredients of an individual’s ethical behavior are integrity and uprightness. Assessing the ethical behavior of an individual also entails looking for evidence of such traits as justice, benevolence, and honor. Acting in an ethical or socially responsible manner is thus the hallmark of an effective strategic plan (Margoli & Walsh 2001). An effective strategic plan has to comply with the existing organizational roles. In this case, those individuals who have cultivated strong beliefs in ethical behavior are better placed to ensure that the organization attains its set effective strategic plan.
It is also important to note that decision makers have a crucial role to play in ensuring that the strategic plans they seek to implement are accomplished in an ethical manner. Considering that implementing any strategic plan will often have far reaching ramifications for the organization, as such, the incorporation of ethics while developing a strategic plan is geared towards ensuring that the organization attains the highest possible goal for the entire society. The issue of equity is also crucial in developing a strategic plan in an ethical manner. In making any decision, decision makers should respect and consider the cultures and beliefs of everyone (Jones, 2004). Successful companies always endevours to take into account the social responsibility and ethics as inherent and critical components of strategic planning. Active and critical reflection on ethical issues is the duty of every professional.
Ethics leads to the creation of company guidelines. In turn, these guidelines bind the entire organization into a single entity. Also, ethics guide the conduct of the company’s employees, in effect ensuring that there is no deviation from the intended strategic path. In addition, ethics results in the preparation of a strategic plan in line with the best interests of the various stakeholders of an organization namely vendors, employees, customers, as well as the neighboring society.
Role of corporate social responsibility in strategic planning
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is yet another key component of modern day strategic planning.
As such, a forward looking manager always ensures that he/she has included CSR as part of the company’s strategic planning. Here, managers often encounter increased and varied demand from various stakeholders (McWilliams & Siegel 200) on grounds of numerous claims that CSR is closely associated with enhanced profits of a firm (Kanter 1999). Should CSR lead to enhanced financial performance, the firm in question would undoubtedly be motivated to contribute more finances towards CSR activities. Nonetheless, there has been no conclusive research in literature as regards the link between enhanced financial profits of a firm and involvement in CSR. There are two key areas that CSR focuses on: external behaviors, and internal behaviors. On the one hand, internal behaviors entail the manner in which a firm undertakes the daily operations s of its core business roles.
On the other hand, external behaviors involve the firm’s involvement in activities outside its direct business interest (Jones, 2004). By and large, internal behavior planning has to begin with the Human Resource Department. In this regard, the firm could use it as a basis for aiding the recruitment and retention of its employees (Langham 2009).
Examples would include sponsoring various community events and ‘going green’. External behaviors differ from internal CSR. This is because it is important to consider what effects any financial decisions would have on the various stakeholders of a company, mainly the owners and shareholders. Although there are many reasons why a business exists, however, its survival relies heavily on profits realised.
My ethical perspective
My participation in this particular program has proven crucial in broadening my ethical perspective since I am more informed of the relationship between ethics and its effects on the firm form a strategic point of view. Moreover, I am now more knowledgeable of the strategic significance of ethics as regards benefitting from the various stakeholders of a firm, along with the crucial role it plays in the daily operations of the firm in question. Furthermore, my participation in this program has further shed light on the link between ethics and the various aspects of the strategic plan of a firm. In order to augment the future of an organization, it is important that the management to integrate ethics practices into the firm’s strategic planning process. As such, ethics ought to be at the heart of the overall management of an organization, and not at its periphery.
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Kanter R. M. (1999). From Spare Change to Real Change.
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