The practice of CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility as a paradigm for firms and businesses to follow has evolved from its early days as a slogan that was considered trendy by some firms following it to the present- day realities of the 21st century where it is no longer just fashionable but a business requirement to be socially responsible.
This evolution has been necessitated both due to the myriad problems that we as a race face which has changed the environment under which firms operate as well as a realization among business leaders that profits as the sole reason or raison d’être for existence can no longer hold good.
The reason why companies must look beyond profits is also due to the peculiar situation that humanity finds itself in the second decade of the 21st century. Given the political, economic, social and environmental crises that humans as a race are confronting, corporations have a role to play since they contribute the most to the economic wellbeing of humanity and in turn influence the political and social trends
Evolution of CSR
The evolution of CSR as a concept date back to the 1950’s when the first stirrings of social conscience among management practitioners and theorists were felt. The writings of Keith Davis starting in the 1950’s and continuing into the 1970’s speak of the need for businesses to engage in socially responsible behavior and to ensure that society as a whole does not lose out in the process of profit-making behavior by businesses. CSR as a concept was starting to be taken seriously by the time the 1970’s dawned and through the tumultuous decade when big business and their minions were accused of several misdemeanors pertaining to rampant disregard for the environment and society as a whole.
Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR makes for eminent business sense as well when one considers the knock-on effect that social and environmental responsibility brings to the businesses. For instance, corporations exist in a symbiotic relationship with their environments (the term environment refers to all the components of the external environment and not to ecological environment alone) where their exchange with the larger environment determines to a large extent how well they do in their profit seeking endeavors.
When one considers the fact that the RBV or the Resource Based View of the firm is all about how well the firm exists in harmony with its external environment and how this exchange of inputs and outputs with the environment determines the quality of its operations, it can be inferred that socially responsible business practices are indeed in the interest of the firm and the argument against imposing hidden social taxes on the firms by undertaking socially responsible business practices might not hold good in the current business landscape.
However, there is a tendency to treat CSR as yet another cost of business and hence be business like about the practice. So, mainstreaming the idea might not bring the desirable effect unless the media, the businesses, and the citizens themselves understand what is at stake and behave accordingly. Paying lip service or corporatizing the idea of CSR might not be the intended outcome of the proponents and the advocacy groups that promote this idea. Rather, a change in the mindset and attitude is what these groups have in mind when they push for socially responsible practices.
Article Corner by
Name: Prabhakar Anand PGP 2021-23
Indian Institute of Management Indore
In 2020, the whole world was affected by COVID-19. The lifestyle has changed, the way of doing business has changed. With these changes, the role of HR has evolved in this short period. Previously HR was entrusted with compensation, compliance, and benefits, but now, HR’s duties have changed to supporting every aspect of the success and well-being of employees, especially mentally, a company’s greatest asset. With people mostly working from home, HR personnel are also guiding employees’ experience and are seen as an integral part of the development of every department in the company. The focus has changed not on recovering from the pandemic but on transitioning to Virtual teams and roles completely, requiring new and diverse skill sets.
Humain-I, HR Club
Indian Institute of Management Indore