Corporate Social Responsibility: Now and Then Essay

1520 Words 7 Pages
With the recent corporate scandals involving such companies as Enron and Martha Stewart, the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has once again made its way to the forefront of contemporary management ideologies. However, CSR itself is not a new concept. In fact, societies as far back as the Ancient Mesopotamians (circa 1700 BC) incorporated CSR in their businesses. “King Hammurabi introduced a code in which builders, innkeepers or farmers were put to death if their negligence caused the deaths of others, or major inconvenience to local citizens.” With each new “Enron” managers of similar corporations are suddenly placed in the spotlight, causing plans to be put into action to create a more socially responsible company. Look …show more content…
Not only do companies create entire reports on the topic of CSR in their organization for their annual reports, these reports have taken the form of sections on their corporate web-sites. Any major corporation worth its salt has a web-site, which is available at the touch of a button for anyone to see. Milton Hershey did not have a web-site; he did not have the internet. Milton Hershey and corporations of his time were intrinsically motivated to implement CSR into their businesses because it was the right thing to do.
     One point to make is that while corporations of the past were sincere about being socially responsible, it can not be said that all of them, or even most of them practiced CSR. In fact, more corporations today have worked CSR into their businesses. Mostly any large corporation has picked up on the ideas of CSR and realized that most consumers tend to frown upon companies that are not socially responsible and choose instead to purchase goods from companies with a more CSR-minded business structure. But are these CSR practices just sugarcoating these corporations? Enron, before their recent scandal caused by CEO Kenneth Lay, was at the forefront of CSR. This makes one wonder, could it all be a window dressing? How could a corporation such as Enron, which placed such emphasis on being socially responsible to its community (which involved its shareholders and employees),