Individual Assignment

3813 words - 16 pages

Social Responsibility
& the Law
Assessment 1: Individual Essay

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is defined by Ferrell et al (2011) as “an organisation’s obligation to maximize its positive impact on stakeholders and minimize its negative impact”. CSR‌ can‌ therefore‌ be viewed as a corporation's agreement with the world. CSR is most commonly used alongside the “ethics” term but they actually differ as ethics are the guidelines to be used for business decision making. Ethics, according to Preston (1996), is concerned with what is right, fair, just or good, about what we ought to do, not just what can be done or what is most acceptable or expedient. ...view middle of the document...

Firms have been asked to wage distinct attention in the direction of incorporating of social and environmental concerns in their day to day business operations.

1. The corporation as a moral person
In Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Wood Ward (1819) 17 US (4 wheat) 518, Chief Justice Marshal observed, that a corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law. Being the mere creature of the law, it possesses only those properties which the charter of creation confers on it. This observation of Justice Marshal led to the concept that a corporation is an entity distinct from its members and officers, and with rights and liabilities of its own. The‌ definition‌ states‌ that a corporate possess an artificial or abstract corporate personality, invisible‌ but real personality, intangible, imaginary, and independent corporate existence, perpetual corporate succession, of limited liability, owns corporate property, with Suing and be suing Capability, unlimited property rights conferred of the charter, and equitable share investment of their investor.
The Corporations Act 2001 defines a corporation as a legal person, and as Sheppard (1994) suggests that an organization is the interactive human embodiment of that legal person. Sheppard (1994) proposes that by looking at corporations as organizations we can see they also possess cultures, which are independent of each individual in the organization. Sheppard (1994) indicates that corporations may have a moral life by reason of the fact that within them is a living corporate culture that can give the organization a moral personality. CSR policy is observed with the morality of a corporation, which is based on the ethical standards within the boardroom, which are transferred to the corporation, and thus the corporation can be judged morally. Culture bonds an organization, unites people, and helps accomplish desired ends (Bolman & Deal 2008). The board of directors is responsible for the make-up and enforcement of corporate governance and where by association, corporate culture and corporate governance are inextricably linked with CSR. Sheppard (1994) explains that those at the pinnacle of corporate governance, the board of directors, who are the natural people within the corporation to give emotional impetus to moral prerogatives the corporation. Grassl (2010) argues that a moral act is undertaken by, an ethical person, a courageous person, or a person with ethical virtue. So, it seems reasonable to state that Corporations‌ have‌ internal‌ decision‌ making‌ structure‌, rules‌ and‌ policies‌ which‌ qualify‌ them‌ for‌ moral‌ agent‌ status‌. These controls make them “intentional beings” with the same responsibilities and rights as persons (French 1979).

2. Corporate ethical virtues
Velasquez (2003) views the corporation as a metaphorical person different from the persons or members who incorporate it, an organized group of people who...

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