The Dimension of Corporate ResponsibilityM.S. Srinivasan
trying to bring
A promising trend in the present corporate scene is the growing acceptance of the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). This concept has great potential for steering the higher evolution of business. But to harness fully this evolutionary potential of CSR, it has to be understood and implemented holistically in all its dimensions: social, moral, ecological and spiritual. This article examines CSR from a holistic, spiritual perspective.
1. The Present Attitudes: Emerging perceptions on Corporate Social Responsibility and their deeper mental and moral significances.
2. Social Ecology of Business: Social matrix of interdependence in which Business functions and its practical implications.
3. The Spiritual Dimension: The unity and oneness of all existence, which must be the spiritual foundation of ethics, social responsibility and ecological sustainability.
The Present Attitudes
There is at present a growing awareness among corporate leaders that business is an integral part of human society and the resulting recognition of the interdependence of business and society. However, many entrepreneurs and executives, especially in the west, view this interdependence pragmatically as part of the enlightened long-term interest of business. For example, when Mervyn E. King, the head of an investment bank and chairman of South Africa’s king committee of corporate governance was asked. “Isn’t it too much to ask the members of the board to monitor social responsibility” his reply was “A good corporate citizen can improve its image, motivate its employees, raise capital cheap and make its business more sustainable. What I am advocating is not a moral crusade, its good business”. Similarly Debra Dunn, a Vice-president of Hewlett-Packard, talking about her company’s ‘E-inclusion’ project says, “The initiative isn’t really about philanthropy. It’s about trying to bring viable sustainable solutions that not only address the problems of the community we are talking about but also create ongoing business opportunities for HP.” But most Indian and Asiatic businessmen view the consequences of this interdependence of business and society in moral terms, as a moral responsibility to give back to the society. A Business Today - Ernst & Young study on India’s best-managed companies makes the following interesting observation:
“...we noted one key difference that distinguishes the approach of Indian companies from those of others. This difference lies in their inclusive nature and manifests itself in the way Indian Companies deal with their stakeholders - Indian companies often engage in social upliftment and nation-building projects not due to any regulatory pressures but from a natural sense of duty. We believe that the inherent trait of inclusiveness could well be the defining factor of their tremendous success in the years to come.”