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Chapter 1 - Social Responsibility Framework

The concept of SR (Social Responsibility), at first sight, is quite similarly understood in the session and in the article. According to the session materials, social responsibility means “the obligation of organization's management to make decisions and take actions that will enhance the welfare and interests of society as well as the organization” (Thorne, Ferell & Ferell, 2011, p. 4). However, the main proposition of the article suggests that this sort of responsibility should not be an obligation, but a strategic choice. According to the session, employing the social responsibility framework to its operation, business adopts a “strategic focus for fulfilling the economic, legal, ethical and philanthropic responsibilities expected of it by its stakeholders” (Thorne, Ferell & Ferell, 2011, Ch1., p.5) which is understood by the article as rather ineffective and unarticulated approach. The article, as compared to the session, argues that SR measures should not go beyond economic step of SR and do not recognize legal, philanthropic, and ethical responsibilities of the business to the society viable. The concept of stakeholder orientation described in details in the session is not covered in the article.

In the section “Development of Social Responsibility”, the sessions read that the SR concept first appeared in 1950s and 1960s as businesses’ taste to make contributions to charities (which therefore represents the acts of philanthropy). The article, being far more sensible to differentiating between SR and philanthropy, suggests that meaningful corporate attention to CSR had not emerged until early 1990s (Thorne, Ferell & Ferell, 2011a, p. 2).  This timing difference seems to be due to the different understanding of the concept of SR.

While the session provides the whole section describing SR benefits to the companies, the article announces only one benefit, which is the economically justified strategy of unique positioning.

The session’s approach to CSR seems different from that of the article for Parker and Kramer are more focused on CSR, which is meant to be beneficial for both the business and the society, and more substantiated reasoning of benefits from employing the strategic CSR and consequences of attempting to satisfy the society’s needs often against both short- and long-term values of the company. The session holds quite a descriptive and informative view rather than represents an analytical survey. It naturally contributes to overall understanding of the article, especially in terms of generally utilized and seemingly defensive approach to social responsibility.

Chapter 2 - Strategic Management of Stakeholder Relationships

Beyond corporate expectations, in the recent 20 years of the 20th century, the prosperous society of western democracies has nurtured another social player, a group of people and communities capable to impact the willingness of the public to purchase from a given company. According to Parker & Kramer (2006), this caste emerged in the beginning of the 1990’s and was named the external stakeholders.

Providing the concise review of the article materials in terms of development of fruitful relations with the stakeholders, Chapter 2, compared to Chapter 1 of the session, proves to be more useful for integrated understanding of the article concepts, especially when it comes to identifying the stakeholders, attributing the stakeholder to primary or secondary ones (which involves different treatment and addressing of their needs), and generating good reputation of the company among the stakeholders, thereby contributing to its position on the local market.

This attention to the nature of stakeholders and ways to develop relations with them suggests two elements: first, it is the most essential trait of successful implementation of CSR. Second, if applied directly without proper understanding of interdependence of the business and society, it implies responsive CSR and, therefore, will gain only temporary benefits both for the business and the society.

However, the session suggests the concept of social capital (Thorne, Ferell & Ferell, 2011, Ch. 2, p.17) which might be correlated with the concept of shared value in the article and is believed to be worth more comprehensive analysis than it is given to in the session.

The concepts of reactive, defensive, accommodative, and proactive approach in section “Link between Stakeholder Relationships and Social Responsibility” (Thorne, Ferell & Ferell, 2011b, p. 19) seem to be the elements and representations of, respectively, the moral obligations argument for CSR, license-to-operate argument for CSR, responsive CSR and strategic CSR. This information seems to be very useful in analyzing the consequences of SR measures for the society and the business through the type of corporate behavior.

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