Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility: Why Giants Fall

By Ronald R. Sims | Go to book overview
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4

A Stakeholder Approach to Socially Responsible and Ethical Behavior

INTRODUCTION

No one would dispute that life in most business organizations was much simpler in years gone by. In reality, it was a less complex period, with minimal and clearly understood expectations among the various parties (investors who put up the money to start or finance the business, owners and their employees who needed to get and keep the business running, suppliers to make the raw materials available for production, and customers who purchased the product or services). Organizations face a much more complex state of affairs in today's society. The recognition by the public, or society, that today's business organization has evolved to the point where it is no longer the sole property or interest of the founder, the founder's family, or even a group of owner-investors has been a principal driving force behind this societal transformation.

Today's modern organization in many instances is the institutional centerpiece of a complex society made up of many people with a multitude of interests, expectations, and demands as to what organizations ought to provide. As discussed in more detail later in this chapter and in Chapter 11, the social contract between organizations and various parties has continually changed. Organizations that have been able to survive and thrive have found ways to respond to ever-changing expectations. These organizations have had to meet many assorted

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