Ethical Responsibilities of CSR (revised)

  In Carroll’s theory, the third level of the pyramid of CSR is ethical responsibilities. Entrepreneurs have to be ethical, and have “obligation to do what is right, just, and fair” in order to avoid harm.

Avoid questionable practices. Assume law is a floor on behavior, operate above minimum required. Respond to spirit as well as letter of law. Do what is right, fair, and just. Assert ethical leadership.

  There is not an explicit definition about corporation’s ethical responsibilities. It is a vague conception about what is right for corporate to do. One of the theories divided ethical responsibilities into four parts based on the process of social reproduction: first is production, companies have to ensure the quality of their products, and make sure that their products are eco-friendly. Second is exchange, companies have to hold the spirit of fair trade. Third is distribution, entrepreneurs have to blend the idea of justice into their distribute process. Last is consumption, companies have to fulfill customer’s need and put people in the first place. Most of all, companies have to help consumers live a safe and healthy life through the process of reasonable consumption.
  That is not all the ethical responsibilities which the companies have to take, the relationships between companies and their employees, customers, stockholders, the relationships with same trade, society and government…it’s all about ethics.
  Perhaps only Nordic and Swiss can do it.

The public’s view of business ethics has never been very high. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many citizens see business ethics as essentially a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron, and think that there is only a fine line between a business executive and a crook

  But public’s expectation to business ethics is still higher than actual business ethics. As we can see from figure 1, there is always a gap between society’s expectation and actual situations of business ethics. In Taiwan, I think most of the people know what the right value is. We always criticize people for not doing the right thing or didn’t devote enough effort to the society. But when we are in the position, most of the people tend to take the money and do nothing, just like the person we criticized at.
  The problem is not people don’t know what is right for them to do, but they always put their own profit in the first place and act differently according to the position they’re in.
  However, sometimes the problem is that we don’t know whether we are doing the good things or the bad things.

A good number of what we are now called unethical practices were at one time considered acceptable. Or, it may be that the practices never really acceptable to the public but that, because they were not known, they were tolerated, thus causing no moral dilemma in the mind of public.

  Top-echelon executive lack of careful oversight, corporate boards fell down their duties to keep an eye on top executive’s behavior…ethical scandals are not one man’s fault, but the problem of the whole system.
  So what happened to Taiwan’s society?
  The concept of entrepreneurs should be ethical is good, undoubted. But Taiwan is still inadequate to apply this concept. “Ethics is the discipline that deals with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation.” The state of ego trip doesn't surpass the moral standard in our mind.


Archie B. Caroll&Ann K. Buchholtz (2008). Business, society, and stakeholders: Corporate citizenship: social responsibility, responsiveness, and performance. In Melissa Acuna (Ed.), Business & society: Ethics and stakeholder management, 7th edition (pp.41-45). Mason: South-Western

Archie B. Caroll&Ann K. Buchholtz (2008). Business ethics and management: the public’s opinion of business ethics, business ethics: what does it really mean? In Melissa Acuna (Ed.), Business & society: Ethics and stakeholder management, 7th edition (pp.237-249). Mason: South-Western

Corporate social responsibility from the economics and ethics’ point of view. Retrieved October 30, 2013, from

Lynch, T. (1996). Enterprise ethics. Retrieved October 30, 2013, from Heng Chang: Information about the Test on Business Management and Marketing:

Economic Responsibilities of CSR (revised)

A scholar called Carroll divided CSR into four parts: economic responsibilities, legal responsibilities, ethical responsibilities, and philanthropic responsibilities. In this part, I will focus on the economic responsibilities.

figure 1: Carroll's pyramid of CSR

The main goal of this responsibility is to be profitable, which means entrepreneurs should make good and deliberate decisions in order to make profit for the company. Thus give their investors plentiful pleasing profit.

An institution whose objective is to produce goods and services that society wants and to sell them at fair prices—prices that society thinks represent the true value of the goods and services delivered and that provide business with profits adequate to ensues its survival and growth and to reward its investors.

Yes, entrepreneurs’ goal is to maximize sales, minimize costs. In a selfish point of view, not only businessmen but also most of the people in this world care about our own profit. The reason why businessmen establish a company is to make profit for himself, not for the investors, publics, or their own country. Entrepreneurs will do their best to promote growth rate and investors will have their share. However, the outcome may be the same, the motivation is different: in CSR’s point of view, businessmen make profit for investors, but actually, they make profit for themselves.

Another question is that what actually is a good’s “fair price”? One may say that it is the price that is a little higher than costs, which can “represent the true value of the goods and services” and let businessmen earn profit simultaneously. But the price of the goods and services should depend on the invisible hand of the market. We’re now in an era of free market economy, the economic activities should base on the mechanism of supply and demand; that is to say, when the supply is unable to meet the demand, the price will get higher. In this situation, the price may be very high, but the quality of the goods or services didn’t become better, and is very likely to become lower.

In conclusion, although the economic responsibility of CSR is a basic responsibility for companies, the expectation and the standard in the theory are kind of departing for the conception of business management and the economic theory.

Archie B. Caroll&Ann K. Buchholtz (2008). Business, society, and stakeholders: Corporate citizenship: social responsibility, responsiveness, and performance. In Melissa Acuna (Ed.), Business & society: Ethics and stakeholder management, 7th edition (pp.40-49). Mason: South-Western


Are Entrepreneurs Responsible for Taiwan’s Society? (revised)

In Taiwan, students have learned the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) since junior high school. According to EU, the definition of CSR is the concept of coing entrepreneurs’ concern to the society and environment to their company’s commercial activities and the relationships with shareholders. But in Taiwan, it become a restriction to demand corporation paying the price for harming the environment or other things that aren’t good for society.

The prerequisite of CSR is that entrepreneurs volunteer to do this, but the problem is enterprisers are not very happy about this inexplicable burden, whereas the public want them to take charge of more responsibility.

Entrepreneurs are like all the other jobs, what’s different is that they probably earn much more money, or their factories are distributed over the world. Enterprisers are humans, they are not great men. Publics should not add responsibility that have nothing to do with them.

There are four reasons why I reject to apply corporate social responsibility in Taiwan’s society.

First, the purpose of establishing a company is to earn money, and what managers should care is the interests of their shareholders. Social responsibility is not their purpose to establish a company, and when companies have financial problems, the society tend to leave them alone and run their course.

Second, entrepreneurs are not professionals that know how to solve social problems. It is not important that whether managers have the ability to deal with social problems.  The government is the one who is responsible for social problems. Instead of asking enterprisers to take social responsibility, governments should increase their taxes. Then the money will distribute to different departments that in charge of different problems.

Third, corporate social responsibility is a very vague concept now. Although there are some compacts or disciplines that have relations with this, these are just codes that we can cite from. If the government does want entrepreneurs to take social responsibility, then the legislature should legislate for this duty.

Fourth, if enterprisers focus on social responsibility actively and invest in too much capital on it, there are possibilities to dilute the main purpose of profit-seeking business. To make matters worse, it will weaken the nation’s competitiveness on economy.

To sum up, corporations are not responsible for government’s social problems, and they do not have related professions. What businessman have to do is to seek profits for stockholders and staffs. If they spend too much capital on corporate social responsibility, it might weaken the competitiveness of the company.

Another problem is that we shouldn’t see social responsibility as a reward measure for entrepreneurs. It is because they get nearly everything they want from society that people start to think about this new duty. Then why should they get rewards from fulfilling their obligation?

The main point of this article is not to deny the concept of this responsibility, but how we think about it and how government have to react about it. Everyone is responsible for this society. The point is how to manage it well.


The Reject Perspective on Corporate Social Responsibility. Retrieved October 20, 2013, from Docin:

Corporation’s Social Responsibility and their reactions. Retrieved October 20, 2013, from A-Kong’s classroom:!b17nxUGRGB5rcCdttdRaqC8-/article?mid=183