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Business Ethics and Social Responsibility


The issue of ethical duty in business is still contradictory. In spite of the fact that many believe in shareholder wealth due to social responsibility, the actual business situation often have some hardships with ethics and social responsibility. This problem will be analyzed on the base of company Q.

To discuss the attitude of company Q to social responsibility, it is necessary to define the social responsibility and corporate social responsibility. Generally social responsibility is the modern ethical theory. Its main idea is the responsibility of individual, organization or government to society. According this theory, every business has to choose the most ethical solution, to act beneficently. This is called “corporate social responsibility”, or CSR. There are a lot of advocates of CSR; they think every business has to have a built-in self-regulated social responsible system. CSR means not only business ethical standards, but the impact on the environment, and the members of business activities: consumers, employees, stockholders and so on.

Their opponents criticize CSR because of its contradiction to the fundamental economic role of businesses. Really, the main locomotive force of open market is the competition, and it hardly can be ethical. However, on the conscious-oriented market in 21st century the issue of ethical standards is more in-demand.

Speaking about the company Q case it should be noticed that its ethical standards are far from ideal, but from the other hand its business environment forces it to unethical decision. An issue of food donation is the good example of global contradiction of ethical standard and economic reason. The idea to donate day-old food shows the great level of social responsibility to the society, especially when donated food is expensive, like organic food. From the other hand, the financial position of the Q company is not excellent: it was mentioned that company had to close a couple of stores because of loss. Despite the last social trends and increasing demand to organic food Q company started selling the organic food recently.

The management’s decision to throw out food instead of its donation is unethical as for employees, people with low-income who use food donations and partly to the environment. Nevertheless, there is some reasonable in the arguments of managers. I’d propose some solutions of this case to the management of company Q. First, company can hire supervisor to monitor the food donations to prevent the possible fraud. The job of supervisor could also be done with one of the employees. Second, the company can improve the working environment in the stores: employees satisfied with their work will be afraid to loose it, thus the risk of possible fraud will be less. Third, it is necessary to improve the psychological climate in the company. The loss from food donations fraud could not be significant: actually, the month financial report can reflect the possible fraud with the loss growth. Besides, the thrown-up food is the loss, too. It would be reasonable to investigate why management prefer throw up the food, perhaps the problem is in unethical attitude to company employees.


The main ethical problem of company Q management is the polar decisions. The management considers only two possible variant: to donate food with the possible risk of fraud and to throw it up. However there are some compromise solutions that could save company’s profits without unethical decisions.