This paper will make an effort to establish the social responsibility and role a business
enterprise, especially and big and successful one, has to play. This is important as both the
society and the business cannot exist and thrive without each other.
The Social Responsibility of Business
The Apple Corporation(AC) was basically the vision of Mr. Steve Jobs, who had the
Far sightedness to visualise the benefits the business would get and also took upon the
company the social obligation of giving back to the society some of the gains. The vision was
The AC, is in effect a huge production, distribution and selling network spread out
over many countries of the world. It binds the synergies, capabilities and talents the world
over and moulded the factors into a product name called “APPLE”. The very thought of
involving so many countries, cultures, thought processes, skills to result into a high class
product was by no means a light job but the vision of a person who can really be termed as
The AC, involves people the world over to manufacture its products and it is the
responsibility of this business to ensure that each person, whatever is his position, is treated with
dignity and respect. The respect due to a human being has to be given to him at any cost. The
AC creates programmes to educate and train their workers so that they perform and live better,
and also to pass on the same message and vision to the new entrants to the workforce. Such a
process is a never ending one and innovations are constantly added to such programmes.
As the AC involves suppliers all over the world to source its products, the company is
very committed to ensure fairness in the supply chain. The suppliers are made accountable for
the social standards of the related workforce and stringent audits are conducted the world over
made. Further an effort is made to make such audits more stringent than the previous period.
AC believes that an empowered worker is it’s responsibility and to get back the
benefits it has an education programme whereby they are educated in all subjects from English,
Economics, Technology and Management. E-sourcing, a technology driven business, workers
are also educated init and the other modern day technologies. The strict working deadlines
imposed are an example.
AC helps in a fair play for workers to earn real wages and for this they ensure fair
recruitment practices. In fact, AC has helped workers to recoup millions in their hard earning
paid as commission to labour brokers. Strict weekly hours are fixed for the suppliers’ factories
and it is ensured that the workers are provided the minimum facilities. An annual publication of
the top listed suppliers of AC is released and the very audit processes are also highlighted to
ensure that there is no slackness of the compliance norms imposed.
On the environment front, AC has helped its suppliers to conserve the scarce resources
of the planet by helping the suppliers to save millions of gallons of water, control air pollution
etc. A fixed tenure courses have been initiated at the so called EHS Academy so that the people
learn and contribute to conserve the scarce resources of the planet.
An active participation of all the stake holders can influence the destiny of both the
business and the society. Here the stakeholders in Ac are the shareholders, the suppliers, the
workers down the line and finally very the people who vie for AC products. The business of AC
is not just a number game, but thinking in terms of ‘The Apple Way’. There are three factors
which much be firmly embedded in the thought of each stakeholder. Integrity: Post the Steve
Jobs period, and change in the organisational setup would contribute to insecurity and
instability. The present and the future CEOs should work to this end to promote integrity and
show that the new setup has been tutored to continue with the former ideals, but not in the form
of charity. Empathy: This created a permanent and emotional bonding between the company
and all stakeholders, and this helps the business to endure themselves through difficult times.
Zeal : The continuous effort of all the stakeholders and the management to be innovative with
their products and ideas would keep the customers excited about its products. (Chun, Prof Rosa
Let us discuss the two concepts : Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and
Corporate Citizenship (CC). CSR is : "Actions of an organization to take responsibility for
the impact of its activities on society and the environment, where these actions: are consistent
with the interests of society and sustainable development; are based on ethical behaviour,
compliance with applicable law and intergovernmental instruments; and are integrated into
the ongoing activities of an organization”. (Draft ISO 26000 Standard ). CC is defined as :
“Corporate Citizenship is a recognition that a business, corporation or business-like
organisation, has social, cultural and environmental responsibilities to the community in
which it seeks a licence to operate, as well as economic and financial ones to its shareholders
or immediate stakeholders. Corporate citizenship involves an organisation coming to terms
with the need for, often, radical internal and external changes, in order to better meet its
responsibilities to all of its stakeholders (direct or indirect), in order to establish, and
maintain, sustainable success for the organisation, and, as a result of that success, to achieve
long term sustainable success for the community at large.” ( Stebbins, L.F 2001).
It is expected that corporate managers should conduct the business according to their
desires which is understandably to make as much money as possible, but should stick to or be
limited to the rules of the society and its ethical customs. (Friedman, Milton 1809). I would
like to add another quote : “Associate individuals, want to have the privileges of a
corporation bestowed upon them; but if their object is merely private or selfish; if it is
detrimental to, or not promotive of, the public good, they have no adequate claim upon the
legislature for the privileges.”(Roane, Judge Spencer 1809 ). It is understood that pursuing
profits is legitimate so long it is bounded and restricted to the rules of the society.
The social responsibility of the business includes the economic, legal, ethical and
discretionary expectations of the society. The business has to have set charters, set frame of
rules and ethical and responsible thinking for and towards the members of the society it
functions. The legal responsibility of the business is that it has to function within the
framework of the laws of the land. In the past and not until the recent past, the businesses
functioned only for their own profits dedicated to the shareholders, and they were not too
bothered about the fallout on the society as a whole. Often real facts were deliberately
withheld or misrepresented. One biggest example of the social responsibility, is the release
of the greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Now the world over, a consensus has emerged
and the society and the businesses are in a combined effort looking into how to reduce and
control such damages. On the other way round the society should also reciprocate by
understanding that businesses has to exist for the society to survive. The society should have
a monitoring system whereby the businesses are alerted of the deviations from the set paths,
and often the advises and suggestion to make the world a better place to live in should come
wrong representations should not come in the way for the functioning of the business.
In today’s modern world of technological advancements, the tools of technological
innovations should be allowed to be used by the businesses and vice-versa for the mutual
benefit. Researchers should make data available both to the businesses and society to enable
them to debate the issue, and find the best means of coexistence. Graphical representations in
the correct and authentic form also helps both to fullfill their obligations.
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