The Importance of Upholding Social Responsibility for Organizations

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The idea of social responsibility is that private corporations have more responsibility than just making a profit. Strategic decisions affect more than the corporation alone. Choices that are made for a corporation can affect the employees, communities, and customers. It is important that businesses make choices that are suitable in their strategies, missions, and objectives. Conflicts of interests should be dealt with in an ethical manner. Put simply, the corporation has to keep the stakeholder’s needs and agendas in consideration throughout the development of their strategic plan.

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Companies needs to understand the significance of incorporating social and ethical responsibilities into their strategic planning. An organization has a social responsibility and an ethical responsibility to all customers, employees and suppliers. There are many companies affected by corporate scandals. For example the multinational organization company Gap. Gap was founded in California in 1969 by Donald and Doris Fisher. The organization started out by selling Levis brand jeans and LP’s.

The company was formed due to one of the founder’s desires to find jeans that fit. The organization established manufacturing facilities in Bangladesh because in the last couple of decades their textile industry has grown. The Gap organization like other organizations were accused of employing people to work in subhuman conditions, and were accused of labor abuse, child exploitation, low pay, and working 12 hours with only one meal break. Gap like many of these companies when accused, denied all the allegations. In December of 2010 a fire at the Ha-Meem Group’s “That’s It Sportswear” factory, a Gap supplier, 29 workers were killed and over 100 were hurt. Gap stated after the incident, that it had inspected the factory as recently as that summer, and actually considered the factory safe, and continued using it as a supplier. This was despite an absence of properly constructed exits and despite illegal construction on the upper floor. This left Gap in a precarious position.

Gap had repeatedly audited the factory, yet these hazards were never addressed. On December 14, 2010, immediately after the fire at That’s It Sportswear, Gap posted statement on its website, saying: “We and our partners understand this is the time to identify real, long-term solutions for Bangladesh and we are committed to doing so.” Yet for two years, Gap initiated no new steps to address work place safety, and despite another fatal incident at a Gap factory in late 2011. It wasn’t until labor rights groups were poised to criticize Gap’s refusal to make safety changes that an agreement was reached creating a binding safety agreement. The company announced an inspection and renovation initiative in September of 2012. Gap’s September 2012 initiative was supposed to include a comprehensive inspection and renovation program at its Bangladesh factories – yet, nearly a year later, the company has yet to show proof of a single example of a factory where renovations have been carried out. (“History Gap and Walmart Bangladesh”, 2016).

Gap has been pressed to join the “Clean Clothes Campaign”, which is an organization that promotes safe working conditions for textile workers. The “Clean Clothes Campaign” is an alliance of organizations around that work to put pressure on companies and governments to take responsibility, and to ensure that the rights of manufacturing workers in the global supply chains are respected and implemented (“Clean Clothes About”, 2016). It is the mission of this organization to ensure that textile workers are safe, and acquiring a wage that is suitable.

The Gap organization should certainly re-evaluate their decisions. Stakeholders need to play more of an active role in ethical decisions, and ensure that preventative measures are put in place to prevent this kind of thing. The American culture is not like the culture in Asia, and is more reason for shareholders to know what happens in Bangladesh. Putting in proper checks and balances is necessary for a company operating mainly in the U.S. market.

Gap should build and operate their facilities as if they were established in the United States in order to avoid these kinds of situations. Having regular inspections, and safety meetings will ensure proper protocols are in place and are being followed. Simple things like this will keep you out of unethical situations.

The role that ethics and social responsibility play into an organization can be some of the biggest things to take into consideration when running a business. Developing a strategic plan is necessary to function, but the needs of the stakeholders and the agenda need to be considered also. Companies that fail to develop oversight may find themselves in a situation that leaves its customers calling their ethics into play. An unethical company is its own negative promotion, and people can choose to remember the past for a long time, and this can affect business. Putting proper preventative measures in place will help combat the seunethical situations, and should leave the company in a positive light.

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The Importance of Upholding Social Responsibility for Organizations. (2022, Sep 30). Retrieved December 2, 2022 , from
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