CSR – Critical Perspectives Essay

In the yesteryear, Multinational Corporations ne’er used to lend to the development of their host communities. This may hold been attributed to the small consciousness of Corporate Social Responsibility, or miss the thereof. In more recent times nevertheless, corporate administrations have progressively adopted CSR enterprises in their corporate policies largely in order to keep good repute.

The creative activity of the Global Compact by the United Nations in 2000 is an grounds of merely how important the issue of Corporate Social Responsibility has become particularly in the last few decennaries. The subject is being invariably critiqued by research workers and in consequence the general populace. Communities in which Multinational Corporations have established subordinates are more or less cardinal participants in CSR arguments.

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Blowfield and Frynas ( 2005 ) established the fact the construct of CSR is frequently interpreted otherwise by different people. Significant issues such as environmental direction, corporate administration, community development and labor rights are frequently mentioned interchangeably while discoursing the issue of CSR in relation to development. CSR is being described from assorted positions in the command to give us an penetration as to what CSR means to the different stakeholders involved.

* CSR as an option to authorities

* CSR as civilization

* CSR as an umbrella term

In the article on Critical Perspectives on CSR, Prieto-Carron et Al ( 2006 ) quoted a green paper in the definition of CSR. It is defined as a ‘concept whereby companies integrate societal and environmental concerns in their concern operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary footing ‘ ( Prieto-Carron, 2006 ) . The determination to instill ‘corporate citizenship ‘ by companies harmonizing to Sagar and Singla ( 2004 ) normally stems from the demand to be seen as holding and keeping good repute in the communities in which they operate. Some MNCs in the underdeveloped universe make immense parts to the society in signifier of community development undertakings ( as in the instance of Tata Steel Company in India ) , educational support and scholarships, infrastructural developments etc. It is nevertheless non unusual for authoritiess to honor such companies with tax-cuts and other pecuniary inducements.

In some other parts of the universe, the part of MNCs to CSR transcends the answerability of corporate administrations to the societies in which they operate. A noteworthy illustration is the part of American MNCs in stoping apartheid in South Africa. Hamman and Acut ( 2003 ) in their study stated that American companies required signers of the Sullivan Principles ( a voluntary codification of behavior ) to keep non-segregated workplace installations, train black staff into higher places and contribute to better lodging and services for their staff. This in created more awareness and in consequence a positive disposition towards better corporate behavior.

The importance of CSR in MNCS can non be over-emphasised. Their part footings of growing and development in the society has been progressively commendable. Nevertheless, some reviews have proposed that corporate administrations – more frequently than not- have an docket which is non ever sincere when presenting CSR enterprises. It is of import to inquire ourselves whether the community in inquiry is interested in the earnestness on the enterprises, possibly they merely have a demand certain basic installations that would buffer their consequence of poorness irrespective of the purposes of the givers of these installations. In the Niger Delta part of Nigeria, the communities are invariably inquiring for basic substructure such as passable roads, drinkable H2O, and good wellness installations etc. Ite ( 2004 ) acknowledges that after the ninetiess Shell ‘s CSR scheme in Nigeria started to underscore corporate philanthropic gift. Their CSR enterprises were widely publicised. Health attention, instruction and agribusiness among others are some countries that Shell indicated involvement in bettering for their host communities. To a great extent, they have been able to accomplish these developmental ends.

Prieto-Carron et Al ( 2006 ) made a note-worthy point in their review of CSR enterprises, which suggest that more frequently than non the CSR enterprises of corporate entities are qualified based on face value. They suggest that CSR enterprises may hold dockets that we on the exterior are non wholly cognizant of. Their research goes on to propose some of import issues that should be investigated. Issues such as the followers ;

* CSR issues that have been strategically added or subtracted from arguments to accommodate certain intents

* Equal chances for all workers irrespective of gender, sex or race

* Adherence to codifications of ethical patterns ; and

* Importance of wellness and safety rules in work topographic points

CSR initiatives most times give the general public the semblance of positive impacts such as environmental concerns and poorness obliteration. True, many CSR enterprises have positively and for good changed the lives of people. Communities which were hitherto ignored by the federal authorities started acquiring acknowledgment every bit good every bit development as a consequence of the presence of corporate administrations. Shell in the Niger-Delta part of Nigeria and Tata Steel Company in India are good illustrations. However, what happens when the presence of an MNC considerably endangers the lives of people through their straight-out neglect for corporate counsel codifications or labour rights. In the 1950s there was the instance of Axis in Alabama where emanations from chemical workss increased the malignant neoplastic disease mortality rate in the community. More late, the oil spillages in oil bring forthing states in the planetary South have encountered serious wellness environmental jobs. Developing states have suffered disproportionately more than developed states from oil-related pollution ( Frynas, 2005 ) .

There is no uncertainty that MNCs have wellness and safety criterions, it is the existent execution of these criterions that is of major concern to CSR critics. This is the point that Prieto-Carron et Al ( 2006 ) tried to convey to the spotlight in their article on Critical Perspectives of CSR. In Nicaragua, adult females have to work improbably long hours in banana plantations and so can non decently cater to their kids ( Prieto-Carron et Al, 2006 ) . It was insisted that the long term effects of CSR enterprises of CSR be analysed instead than concentrating merely the immediate benefits.

Some companies have responded to the negative promotion environing their patterns by following codifications of behavior. Levi Strauss ( of the popular Levi ‘s Jeans ) was one of the first companies to make so, following its Business Partner Footings of Battle in 1992 after its abroad contractors were accused of handling their workers as apprenticed slaves ( Rhys Jenkins, 2005 ) . Other companies have adopted a more geocentric attack to recruitment like Shell in Nigeria which employs more than 10,000 people of which 4,000 are full-time staff and Nigerians account for 95 % of the full-time staff ( Ite, 2004 ) .

It is non unusual for the community to get down to coerce these MNCs alternatively of the authorities in footings of the proviso of comfortss. A likely attendant consequence of the expected over-indulgence of MNCs is the inclination towards shouldering development undertakings which should be otherwise under-taken by the authorities. The umbrella term ‘CSR ‘ is used to encompass a broad spectrum of activities which should hold been done irrespective of whether the company is established in that community or non.

In Nigeria, the communities have placed exclusive duty of their support on the oil and gas bring forthing companies like Shell, Chevron etc. Ite ( 2004 ) stresses the fact that as a consequence of practical trust on Shell, the communities became sensed as incapacitated victims of fortunes instead than capable histrions in the development procedure. The MNCs are invariably being critiqued for non making plenty in regard of CSR and development. The focal point of the MNCs so starts to switch from their initial corporate scheme of profit-making to CSR. Harmonizing to Sagar and Singlar ( 2003 ) , there exists an inextricable connexion between CSR and the repute that the community perceives the company as holding. The authorities in India offers private sector companies financial inducements when they set-up H2O purification undertakings.

One inquiry that comes to mind is ‘where should MNCs pull the line between discretional and obligatory parts to development? ‘ A struggle of involvements will no uncertainty originate if MNCs are invariably expected to set about developmental functions in the society instead than the authorities. Possibly, what is necessary or MNCs to accomplish sustainable development is an ‘enabling environment ‘ . Fox et Al ( 2002 ) in their research described an ‘enabling environment ‘ as ;

“A policy environment that encourages ( or mandates ) concern activity that minimises environmental and/or costs and impacts while at the same clip keeping or maximising economic gains” .

In decision, it is of import to indicate out that the fact remains that companies set up subordinates in developing states for the exclusive intent of working the market and researching chances to obtain economic additions. Market impregnation in place states is normally the push force that leads companies to set up subordinates in foreign developing states in order to prolong net incomes. Many of these developing states provide a positive concern environment in footings of the absence of industry competition. Suffice it to indicate out that the MNCs are in these developing states to do money non needfully better the lives of the people. The construct of CSR has been seen by many reviews as an unreserved warp from the original concern scheme of corporate organic structures. Whether or non all the variables i.e. community development and profit-making can be jointly achieved by MNCs is likely the subject for a future research. Possibly a small more idea should be given to the exclaiming of the American economic expert Milton Friedman who said that ‘the concern of concern is concern ‘ .

Blowfield, M. & A ; Frynas, J. G. ( 2005 ) , “Setting New Agendas: Critical Positions on Corporate Social Responsibility in the Developing World” , International Affairs, 81 ( 3 ) : 499-513

Fox, T. , Ward, H. & A ; Howard, B. ( 2002 ) , “Public Sector Roles in Strengthening Corporate Social Responsibility: A Baseline Study” , World Bank.

Frynas, J. G. ( 2005 ) , “The False Developmental Promise of Corporate Social Responsibility: Evidence from Multinational Oil Companies” , International Affairs, 81 ( 3 ) : 581-598

Hamman, R. & A ; Acut, N. ( 2003 ) , “How Should Civil Society ( and the Government ) Respond to ‘Corporate Social Responsibility ‘ ? A Critique of Business Motivations and the Potential for Partnerships” , Development Southern Africa, 20 ( 2 ) : 258

Ite, U. ( 2004 ) , “Multinationals and Corporate Social Responsibility in Developing States: A Case Study of Nigeria” , Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 11: 1-11

Jenkins, R. ( 2005 ) , “Globalization, Corporate Social Responsibility and Poverty” , International Affairs, 81 ( 3 ) : 525-540

Prieto-Carron, M. , Lund-Thomsen, P. , Chan, A. , Muro, A. & A ; Bhushan, C. ( 2006 ) , “Critical Positions on CSR and Development: What We Know, What We Do n’t Know, and What We Need To Know” , International Affairs, 82 ( 5 ) : 977-987

Sagar, P. & A ; Singla, A. ( 2003 ) , “Trust and Corporate Social Responsibility: Lessons from India” , Journal of Communication Management, 8 ( 3 ) : 282-290


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