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Strategy, Ethics, and Social Responsibility. Screen graphics created by: Jana F. Kuzmicki, Ph.D. Troy University-Florida Region . Linking Strategy to Ethics and Social Responsibility.

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Strategy, Ethics, and Social Responsibility

Screen graphics created by:

Jana F. Kuzmicki, Ph.D.

Troy University-Florida Region

linking strategy to ethics and social responsibility
Linking Strategy to Ethicsand Social Responsibility
  • Should there be a link between a company’s efforts to craft and execute a winning strategy and its duties to
    • Conduct activities in an ethical manner?
    • Demonstrate socially responsible behavior by
      • Being a committed corporate citizen?
      • Attending to needs of non-owner stakeholders?

Key Issues

what is business ethics
What Is Business Ethics?
  • Business ethics involves applying general ethical principles and standards to business behavior
  • Ethical principles in business are not different from ethical principles in general
  • Business actions are judged
    • By general ethical standards of society
    • Not by a set of rules businesspeopleapply to their own conduct
are ethical standards universal or dependent on local norms

Ethical Universalism

Ethical Relativism

Integrative Social Contracts Theory

Are Ethical Standards Universal or Dependent on Local Norms?

Three schools of thought regarding extentto which ethical standards can be applied . . .

concept of ethical universalism
Concept of Ethical Universalism
  • According to the school of ethical universalism. . .
    • Same standards of what is ethical and what is unethical resonate with peoples of most societies regardless of
      • Local traditions and
      • Cultural norms
    • Thus, common ethical standards can be used to judge conduct of personnel at companies operating in a variety of
      • Country markets and
      • Cultural circumstances
concept of ethical relativism
Concept of Ethical Relativism
  • According to the school of ethical relativism . . .
    • Different societies/cultures/countries
      • Put more/less emphasis on some values than others
      • Have different standards of right and wrong
      • Have different social mores and behavioral norms
    • What is ethical or unethical
      • Must be judged in light of localcustoms and social mores and
      • Can vary from one country to another
concept of integrative social contracts theory
Concept of IntegrativeSocial Contracts Theory
  • According to the integrative social contractstheory,the ethical standards a company should try to uphold are governed by both
    • A limited number of universal ethical principles thatare widely recognized as putting legitimate ethicalboundaries on actions and behavior in all situations


    • The circumstances of local cultures, traditions, andshared values that further prescribe what constitutes
      • Ethically permissible behavior and
      • What does not
three categories of management morality
Three Categories of Management Morality

Moral manager

Managerial ethical and moral principles

Immoral manager

Amoral manager

characteristics of a moral manager
Characteristics of a Moral Manager
  • Dedicated to high standards of ethical behavior in
    • Own actions
    • How the company’s business is to be conducted
  • Considers it important to
    • Be a steward of ethical behavior
    • Demonstrate ethical leadership
  • Pursues business success
    • Within confines of both letter and spirit of laws
    • With a habit of operating well above what laws require
characteristics of an immoral manager
Characteristics of an Immoral Manager
  • Actively opposes ethical behavior in business
  • Willfully ignores ethical principles in making decisions
  • Views legal standards as barriers to overcome
  • Pursues own self-interests
  • Is an example of capitalistic greed
  • Ignores interests of others
  • Focuses only on bottom line –making one’s numbers
  • Will trample on others to avoid being trampled upon
characteristics of an intentionally amoral manager
Characteristics of anIntentionally Amoral Manager
  • Believes business and ethics should notbe mixed since different rules apply to
    • Business activities
    • Other realms of life
  • Does not factor ethical considerations intoown actions since business activity liesoutside sphere of moral judgment
  • Views ethics as inappropriate for tough, competitive business world
  • Concept of right and wrong is lawyer-driven (what can we get by with without running afoul of the law)
characteristics of an unintentionally amoral manager
Characteristics of an Unintentionally Amoral Manager
  • Is blind to or casual about ethics ofdecision-making and business actions
  • Displays lack of concern regardingwhether ethics applies to company actions
  • Sees self as well-intentioned or personally ethical
  • Typical beliefs
    • Do what is necessary to comply with laws and regulations
    • Government provides legal framework stating what society will put up with—if it is not illegal, it is allowed
do company strategies need to be ethical
Do Company StrategiesNeed to Be Ethical?
  • Approaches of most company managers
    • Ensure a company’s strategy is legal
    • May or may not ensure all elements of strategies are ethical
  • Approach of senior executives with strong ethical convictions
    • Insist all aspects of strategy fall within ethical boundaries
  • Approach of immoral or amoral senior executives
    • Use shady strategies if they think they can get by with it
    • Use unethical or borderline business practices
    • Hide ethically questionable actions
what are the drivers of unethical strategies and business behavior

Large numbers of immoraland amoral business people

Overzealous pursuit of personal gain, wealth, and other selfish interests

Heavy pressures on company managersto meet or beat earnings targets

Company cultures that place profits andgood performance ahead of ethical behavior

What Are the Drivers of Unethical Strategies and Business Behavior?
approaches to managing a company s ethical conduct

Unconcerned or non-issue approach

Damage control approach

Compliance approach

Ethical culture approach

Approaches to Managing a Company’s Ethical Conduct
why should company strategies be ethical
Why Should Company Strategies Be Ethical?
  • An unethical strategy
    • Is morally wrong
    • Reflects badly on the character of company personnel
  • An ethical strategy is
    • Good business
    • In the best interest of shareholders
linking strategy to ethics and values
Linking Strategy to Ethics and Values
  • If ethical standards are to have more than a cosmetic role, boards of directors and top executives must work diligently to see they are scrupulously observed in
    • Crafting a company’s strategy and
    • Conducting every facet of a company’s business
  • Two sets of questions must be considered by senior executives when reviewing a new strategic initiative
    • Is what we are proposing to do fully compliant with our code of ethical conduct? Is there anything here that could be considered ethically objectionable?
    • Is it apparent this proposed action is in harmony with our core values? Are any conflicts or concerns evident?
what is corporate social responsibility
What Is Corporate Social Responsibility?
  • The notion that corporate executives should balance interests of all stakeholders began to blossom in the 1960s
  • Social responsibility as it applies to businesses concerns a company’s dutyto
    • Operate in an honorable manner
    • Provide good working conditions for employees
    • Be a good steward of the environment
    • Actively work to better quality of life in
      • Local communities where it operates and
      • Society at large
what is socially responsible business behavior
What Is Socially ResponsibleBusiness Behavior?
  • A company should strive to balance strategic actions
    • To benefit shareholders against any possible adverse impacts on other stakeholders
    • To be a good corporate citizen
  • Socially responsible behaviors include
    • Corporate philanthropy
    • Actions to earn trust and respect of stakeholders fora firm’s efforts to improve the general well-being of
      • Customers
      • Employees
      • Local communities
      • Society
      • Environment
linking strategy and social responsibility
Linking Strategy and Social Responsibility
  • The combination of socially responsible endeavors a company elects to pursue defines its social responsibility strategy
  • Management should match a company’ssocial responsibility strategy to its
    • Core values
    • Business mission
    • Overall strategy
  • Some companies are integrating socialresponsibility objectives into their
    • Missions
    • Performance targets
    • Strategies