Corporations deal with a wide variety of social issues and problems; some directly related to their operations, some are not. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can be defined as “the actions of an organization that are targeted toward achieving a social benefit over and above maximizing profits for its shareholders and meeting all its legal obligations” (Ghillyer 78). If this is the case, establishing appropriate and practical ethical guidelines in the workplace seems to be a reasonable request as a basis for corporate operations. Wal-Mart should be an example in determining what constitutes the values associated with its fundamental purpose of Corporate Social Responsibility. The four components of CSR are financial, legal, ethical, and philanthropic (Barnett). These areas of CSR ought to exist within every company’s infrastructure; however, the organization’s primary focus is usually on performance and profit not on social conscientiousness.
Financial being the first component of CSR is often the major factor in a company’s consideration of ethical standards. The main goal of any business is to keep its costs low and to earn a profit. Financial responsibilities in regards to CSR means that society expects that a corporation will produce needed goods and services that are desired by customers and sell those goods and services at a reasonable price while still earning a profit. The organization strives to be efficient and profitable along with keeping the best interest of the shareholders in mind (Barnett).
Financially, the Wal-Mart Corporation is a multi-billion dollar industry with close to two million employees worldwide. On the positive side, Wal-Mart’s motto is “Always low prices. Always!” They uphold this motto by providing low prices to consumers with a high return on investment to satisfy stockholders. On the negative side, Wal-Mart seems to manage keeping cost low by demanding high productivity from their associates (employees) without adequate compensation. In addition, most associates cannot afford to be covered by health insurance. The consequence of this treatment of personnel is a high employee turnover rate, which seems to question management’s view that the organization is a family (“The NEW Age of Walmart”).
The second component of CSR, which is representative of the legal standards and obligations, refers to the expectation that a corporation will follow the rules set down by society. This means the organization is to comply with government laws used to protect employees’, stakeholders, customers, suppliers, the community, and other competition in the marketplace. An individual business could have thousands of legal responsibilities governing almost every aspect of their operations, including consumer and product laws, environmental laws, and employment laws (Barnett).
The legal challenges that face Wal-Mart are numerous. Before Wal-Mart decides to build a new store, it researches and...