Corporate Social Responsibility and Its Application to Social and Business Systems

Corporate Social Responsibility and Its Application to Social and Business Systems

Emad Rahim (Bellevue University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2347-6.ch001

Abstract

This chapter provides an overview of contemporary aspects of change management and social responsibility and social and business systems. The topic of sustainability describes the foundation of the subject, as well as theory, concepts, and principles. The author provides various case examples and perspectives on the triple bottom line, scale-free networks, social and business systems, and delivers to readers a blueprint for developing a change management strategy for fostering a socially responsible environment.
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Sustainability And Stakeholders

Once perceived as a matter of doing minimum harm, sustainability is now an issue of the greater good that affects individual stakeholders and Fortune 500 companies alike (Burke & Cooper, p.191). In the face of scarce resources, climate change, and population explosion, businesses, governments, and organizations are all realizing the interconnectedness of the various systems in which they operate and the impact those systems have on global, environmental sustainability. As a business professional, one makes decisions on behalf of his or her organization that will directly impact these critical issues.

The discussion question (DQ) that follows centers around understanding an organization’s sustainable options within the context of the ever-changing business or economic environment. As a result, sustainability offers a variety of strategies for transforming or improving an organization in order to cope with and potentially preemptively remedy the socio-economic and political challenges taking place in the ever-evolving business environment.

Globalization is key contributor to a rapidly changing world as a result of international economic interdependence. Such interdependence, to some extent, has resulted in for-better or for-worse situations in various regions of the world. In this context, environmental sustainability is imperative because, for example, global warming or environmental challenges are adversely affecting the ecosystems the world over; as well as resource availability and procurement for individuals of multiple socioeconomic statuses; and various tiers of businesses alike, from mega-corporations to independent small businesses.

A number of definitions and concepts are associated with sustainability. But the core concept of sustainability is that an organization will take actions that will enable its long-term survival socially, environmentally, and financially (Epstein, 2008). In addition, sustainability is also a key to making the environment a better place after pollution and other degradations have taken their toll on it. Further, King (2008) pointed out that the economics of sustainability must find a way to raise the standards of living of a large number while reducing the negative environmental consequences of economic activity, with priority for the future, so that “future generations have at least the same potential economic opportunities to achieve the welfare of the current generation” (pp. 28-29).

Sustainability has been defined as economic development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Brundtland 1987). In the early stages, sustainability was thought to be an environmental discourse that sought to preserve as much biodiversity and unspoiled land as possible; however, as Quinn and Dalton (2009) noted, “. . . sustainability requires the full integration of social, economic, and environmental issues into the vision, values, and operation of the organization.” From what was originally considered a one-dimensional construct (an environmental discourse), sustainability has become the centerpiece of organizational long-term strategy.

The organization at which I am currently employed has fully embraced sustainability as a means to more efficiently deploy its human and other resources, and, by engaging in and sponsoring certain civic/social activities, it is establishing itself as a caring, responsible corporate citizen within the communities that the organization has a presence. One of the more significant changes is evident in hiring practices: Today, prospective employees are often asked to give examples of their involvement in civic /social activities as a means of attracting individuals who are open to making a positive contribution to society.

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