Friday, June 21, 2013

Sociology of Organizations

1.0.0 Introduction Sociology of organizations is a very important area of study that analyzes approaches to corporate strategy and the management of human resources. There are several important factors that typify the sociology of organizations area of study; these include the structure and goals of organizations, their social meaning, the associations between members of an organization as well as associatios between organizations, and the relationships that an organization has with its environment. Corporate social responsibility has in recent days become a very important area of focus in sociological evaluations. Corporate social responsibility is commonly associated with the emergence and rise of capitalism which emphasises the practice of profit maximization and optimal performance by commercial organizations at the expense of social issues. Corporate is closely linked to globalization. This paper will discuss the sociology of organizations with particular inclination to the concepts of globalization and corporate social responsibility. Feasible examples will be used to critically analyze and describe these two phenomenon. The similarities and differences between CSR and globalization will also be discussed before a summative conclusion and a list of the references cited herein is drafted. 2.0.0 Sociological Study of Corporate Social Responsibility Definition Akbas (p. 4) claims that regardless of the manner in which free markets have intensified social problems, capitalist discussions tend to validate capitalism by inclining towards the acceptance of moral concerns. Nevertheless, such ethical concerns, including corporate social responsibility, are costitutes of market-based ethics. As already indicated, corporate social responsibility is commonly associated with the emergence and rise of capitalism which emphasises the practice of profit maximization and optimal performance by commercial organizations. The campaign for corporate social responsibility implies that there is a crisis regarding moral business strategies in the global market. This crisis became illuminated after a number of protests and demonstrations were perpetrated by citizens in different parts of the world in opposition to corporations and their globalization activities; such protests threatened the circulation of capital and it was necessary to urgently introduce ethical considerations in the global commercial arena. Parker (p. 199) claims that “it is suggested that people don’t trust businesses any more, the negative images of organizations are common in the media, that hyper competition is making employees and organizations perform whatever the cost….. or that the environment can no longer sustain unbridled capitalism”. As indicated in Week 11 lecture notes (p. 2), at times, the interests of organizations tend to conflict with the interests of the society in which these organizations operate. According to D’Amato et al (p.1) many business have inclined towards sustainability; this depicts the activities by commercial organizations that are premeditated and intended to include social and environmental issues in the organization’s business operations, as well as the associations forged with stakeholders. D’Amato et al (p.1) argues that currently it is unacceptable for firms to pursue economic well being without any regard for the agents that are affected by the organizations’ actions. Although organizations have a responsibility to amplify their bottom lines, they also have to create and maintain good corporate citizenship. It is as a consequence of this that many modern commercial organizations have restructured their configuration, regulations and business models. D’Amato et al (p.1) states that a majority of organizations have also formulated strategies and policies aimed at creating a balance between the organizations’ response to business imperatives, requirements by society and the environment. Basu and Palazzo (p. 10) define corporate social resonsibility as “the process by which managers within an organization think about and discuss relationships to stakeholders as well as their roles in relation to the common good, along with their behavioral disposition with respect to the fulfilment and achievement of these”. Harrington (2011) claims that CSR may be defined in a variety of ways. Nevertheless, the most appropriate definition of CRS is that it “represents the ethical and responsible methods of corporate operations and business practices in which corporate entities agree to respect law…and accepted human rights norms and to apply these tom their business decisions and dealings”. Basu and Palazzo (p. 3) claim that in the last thirty years the controversy about the role played by corporations in society has increased. This controversy has been fuelled by the increased number of scandalous behavior, executive greed, accounting deceptions and dubious commercial activities by corporates in recent years. As a consequence of this, commercial organizations, particularly the large ones, have increasingly recognized and accepted the significance of corporate social responsibility. The increased scrutiny focused on corporate behavior in the present day emphasizes the urgent requirement by corporations to adopt effective corporate social responsibility guidelines. Basu and Palazzo (p. 3) claim that CSR inquiry in the present day is typified by three main perceptions; the first perception is that of CSR as being stakeholder driven. This view perceives corporate social responsibility as an organization’s behavior in response to particular demands by external stakeholders such as, consumer lobby associations or the government, pertaining the activities of the organization. The organization may also engage in solving broad social issues such as reduction of paucity and responding to issues of climate change. The second perception of corporate social responsibility as described by Basu and Palazzo (p. 3) is the view of corporate social responsibility as being motivated by performance. This perception illuminates the association between the expectations that external stakeholders have of the organization and the actual corporate social responsibility initiatives undertaken by the organization. The effects of corporate social responsibility on the organization’s profitability as well as a determination of the activities that are most effective in ensuring requisite performance are of great importance in this perception. As indicated by Carroll (p.1) both the performance driven and stakeholder perceptions of corporate social responsibility are inclined towards the question “What is business expected to be ot to do to be considered a good corporate citizen”? The third approach to corporate social responsibility is the perception of corporate social responsibility as being motivation driven. According to Fombrun (p. 55) this approach aims at analysing the extrinsic factors that cause an organization to involve itself in corporate social responsibility activities. The most common include to improve the reputation and image of the firm amongst its stakeholders, to avoid legal suits, to forge customer loyalty or to react to activities by non governamental organizations. CSR Case Study: Walmart Supercentres Walmart, which was founded in the year 1962 in Arkansas US, is characterized by single stores which offer consumers groceries and general mechandise in one stop shopping encounters. In addition to being the biggest private hirer in the US, Torres et al (p. 58) claims that Walmart is the third largest employer in the world. Apart from employing an estimated 2,2 million workers globally,Warlmart has an estimated 10, 130 retail units in an estimated 27 nations. In spite of the fact that the retail units are under 69 discrepant banners, they all incline to the objective of “Saving people money so they can live better”. In the year 2012 Walmart’s net sales totalled to $443 billion (Torres et al, p. 58). Over the years Walmart has been implicated in a number of CRS scandals. In the year 2005, for example, it was made public that Walmart was making use of child labor in 2 factories based in Bangladesh. A program in Radio Canada revealed that children aged 10-14 were working in these factories for only $50 a month so as to produce goods for exportation to Canada (Torres et al, p. 60). In the year 2001, the case Dukes v. Walmart Stores was filled by Betty Dukes, Paticia Surgeson ans Edith Arana on behalf of an estimated 1.5 million female employees in Walmart who claimed that female workers in this global commercial organization were being treated in a prejudiced manner as consequence of their gender. The discrimination, purported to be demonstrated in remuneration and access to top management posts, violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Torres et al, p. 59). This case lagged on for a decade until 2010 when Walmart appealed to the Supreme Court. On the 20th of June 2011 the Supreme Court anulled the case certification which had previously been upheld by the Ninth Circuit. The legal and social challenges that Walmart has encountered have served to motivate the company’s development of an organizational code of conduct and yearly reports. Walmart is currently described as a “global legislator” and one of the organizations that has played an important role in the transformation of policy setting in CSR. Walmart is most active in regard to its code of conduct, quality of products and services as well as its employees’ working conditions (Torres et al, p. 58). 3.0.0 Sociological Study of Globalization Definition According to Sezen (p. 3) the concept of globalization is one of the most important in the modern day particularly in regard to the sociology of commercial organizations. Kayode (p. 1) states that the increased rates of globalization being witnessed in the present day have a tendency to influence the commercial operations in organizations, the market for manufactured goods and services as well as processes of Foreign direct investment (FDI) and the business opportunities that are available for modern businesses. As a matter of fact, the effects and impacts of globalization are felt in all parts of a commercial organization.There are many definitions of globalization which have been forwarded by scholars inclined towards different ideologies and academic disciplines. Sezen (p. 3) claims that a category of scholars inclined to the sociological and economic fields of study are convinced that globalization is a “new ideology of capitalism” or a “new ideology of imperialism”. Kayode (p. 1) defines globalization as “the tendency of businesses, technologies or philosophies to spread through out the world or the process of making this happen”. Another definination of globalization is that it implies “technological, economic, political and cultural exchanges made possible largely by advances in communication, transportation and insfrastructure” (Kayode, p. 1). Week 12 Lecture (p. 8) indicates that an organizational perspective of globalization inclines towards a deliberation of the manner in which countries tend to amplify their connections by affiliating to a number of international organizations in the global scene. These organizations are then held together by the rules and regulations that are formulated, applied and promoted by the international organizations. There are a number of important international organizations in the modern day global arena. As indicated in in Week 12 Lecture (p. 11) an example is the intergovernmental organizations (IGOS) which governments from different nations can join. The United Nations for example, is an international organizational founded in 1945 in the post WW2 period by 51 nations whose main intent was to main intention was to establish and main international peace and security (Week 12 Lecture, p. 12). The World Bank is a financial institute managed by 188 member states. The aim of this international organ is to focus on the poorest nations of the world with the intention of alleviating poverty. The only global body in the international arena that is concerned with the regulations that govern trade between nations globally is the World Trade Organization. The main objective or WTO is to “help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business” (Week 12 Lecture, p. 14). Intergovernmental organizations are very important in the process of globalization due to the fact that they ensure the preservation of the regulations which govern the cooperation between different nations in areas such as the military, financial systems or human rights issues. Impacts The phenomenon of globalization is perceived has being typified by political, legal, economic, cultural, social and environmental facets. The social, industrial, environmental and economic facets of globalization are the most significant in the modern day commercial organization. The industrial facet of globalization is characterized by a surfacing of international production markets as well as a increased right of entry to foreign products and services for both firms and consumers. Economically, globalization implies the formation of a global financial systems which allow national, corporate and subnational borrowers increased access to external financing. Kayode (p. 2) claims that globalization has affected the organization by increasing the competition and rivalry that small and medium sized commercial organizations have to contend with in the commercial arena. Such foreign competition resulting from globalization processes pushes the small and medium sized commercial organizations to upgrade their commercial operations and even venture into the international economies. Globalization also brings about an increased demand for commodities and services produced by commercial organizations on the commercial arena. This, in turn, forces organizations- particularly the small and medium sized firms- to establish international networks, manufacturing bases and markets. Globalization also affects the organization as a consequence of the global cost forces. Kayode (p. 2) points out that globalization is characterized by emergent competitive priorities in commercial indistries which cause organizations to enhance the quality of their products, responsiveness to consumers, reliability in availability of goods as well as an evaluation of organizational cost factors. Globalization is typified by an increased diffusion of technological competence and capabilities from one nation to another. Organizations operating on the global arena are thus expected to enhance their capacity of merging and utilizing different sources of technology in different parts of the world (Kayode, p. 1). Globalization, Westernization and Homogenization As indicated in Week 12 Lecture (p. 4) the concepts of westernization and homogenization are very important in the discussion of globalization. Ritzer (p. 82) claims that westernization is often time though of as coternimous with globalization. It is noteworthy that “westernization” is characterized by a negative connotation as a consequence of the thermology’s associations with the early years of human existence which were characterized western imperialism and colonialism (Ritze, p. 82). By making use of the term “westernization” in substitution of “globalization” one deliberately ignores the positve aspects and components that the west offers other regions of the world for instance technological and medical advancements, sophisticated lifestyle and an assortment of different foods. According to Ritze (p. 82) westernization implies homogenization while globalization involves a combination of heterogenization and homogenization. Homogenization is described as the “convergence toward a common set of cultural traits and practices” (Ritze, p. 82). 4.0.0 Similarities and/or Differences It is important to compare and contrast the concepts of corporate social responsibility and globalization with the intention of discovering any differences and/or similarities that exists in the sociological study of the two phenomona. There are several convergence points between the concepts of corporate social responsibility and globalization. Kercher (p. 3) states that the corporate social responsibility debate is associated to the manner in which corporations, particularly the large ones, behave and conduct themselves especially on the global arena. Most of the biggest corporations in the modern day are multinational ones that operate in different nations of the world. This has been made possible through the opening up of regions due to free trade and globalization. The phenomenon of globalization, as well as the amplification of international trade by commercial organizations in the modern day, has played a very important role in enhancing the understanding and responsiveness of commercial organizations to principles of corporate social responsibility. This awareness has mostly been indicated in areas such as human health and safety, safeguarding the environment and human rights. In addition to this, international organizations operating on the global arena have taken the initiative to formulate and promote declarations, compacts, principles and decalarations whose main intent is to describe the acceptable corporate behavior by multinational commercial organizations. In addition to this, the anticipations of citizens in different parts of the world in regards to the minimun standards that corporations should adhere to have indicated a great commonality. The commonality of such expectations regard issues that are top on the agenda of corporate social responsibility for instance environmental protection and other social issues (Kercher, p 3). An example of this is illustrated by the United Nationa’s Global Compact policy that depicts the manner in which corporations on the global arena should conduct themselves. According to Akbas (p. 34) the capitalist financial systems to which the phenomenon of corporate social responsibility is affiliated have, in the last few years, indicated a great interest in the global agenda as well as the associations between commercial organizations and the societal at an international level. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has been quoted as stating that “CRS is the continuing commitment by business to contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the community and society at large” (Akbas, p. 34). Globalization has brought a number of challenges and benefits for commercial organizations. The increased rate of foreign direct investment (FDI) by multinational corporations in different parts of the world particularly the developing nations has been blamed for the advent of global environmental challenges that can only be solved through the worldwide cooperation of different various stakeholders in different parts of the world. It is noteworthy that is it such environmental issues for example climate change, dumping of industrial wastes as well water and air pollution by organizations that prompted the emergence of corporate social responsibility phenomenon. 5.0.0 Conclusion The phenomenon of globalization as well as the increased growth in the size and power of the private sector have greatly influenced the emergence of corporate social responsibility debates as well as the regulation of multinational corporations. This paper has discussed the concepts of globalization anc corporate social responsibility in regard to the sociology of roganizations. Feasible examples have been used to critically analyze and describe these two phenomenon. The similarities and differences of CSR and globalization have also beeen discussed in detail. The phenomenon of globalization as well as the amplification of international trade by commercial organizations in the modern day has played a very important role in enhancing the understanding and responsiveness of commercial organizations to ptrinciples of corporate social responsibility. This awareness has mostly been indicated in areas such as human health and safety, safeguarding the environment and human rights. 6.0.0 Work Cited Akbas, Eeren Karaka: A Sociological Study of Corporate Social responsibility: A Marxist Perspective. Thesis Submitted to the Graduate School of Social Sciences of Middle East Technical University (2012), pp. 4- Basu, Kunal and Palazzo, Guido: Corporate Social responsibility: A Process Model of Sensemaking. AMR 04-0329, 2010, pp. 3- Carroll, A.B: The Four Faces of Corporate Citizenship. Business and Society Review, 100-101, 1998, pp. 1-7 D’Amato, Alessia, Henderson, Sybil and Florence, Sue: Corporate Social responsibility and Sustainable Business: A Guide to Leadership Tasks and Functions. Centre for Creative Leadership, Greensboro: North Carolina, 2009, pp. 1- Fombrun, C. J: The Leadership Challenge: Building Resilient Corporate Reputations. In Doh, J. P. and Stumpf, S. A: Handbook of responsible Leadership and Governance in Global Business. Cheltenham, 2005, pp. 54-68 Harrington, Alexandra R: Corporate Social responsibility, Globalization, the Multinational Corporation, and Labor: An Unlikely Alliance. Albany Law Review, Vol. 75, No. 1, 2011 Kayode, Oyeyemi: Impact of Globalization on Human Resource Management. Science Journal of Business Management, Vol. 2012, Issue 3, 2012, pp. 1-4 Kercher, Kim: Corporate Social responsibility-Impact of Globaization and International Business. Corporate Governance eJournal, 2006, pp. 3 Parker, Martin: Business, Ethics and Business Ethics: Critical Theory and Negative Dialectics. In Alvesson, Matts and Willmott, Hugh: Studying Management Critically. SAGE Publications. 2003, pp. 197-219 Ritzer, George: Globalization: A Basic Text. John Willey and Sons, 2012, pp. 82 Sezen, Seriye: The Impact of Globalization on the Organization of Public Administration: Turkish Case. Turkish Public Administration Annual, Vol. 27-28, 2002, pp.3-26 Torres, Cristina A. Cedillo, Garcia-French, Mercedes, Hordijk, Rosemarie et al: Four case Studies on Corporate Social Responsibility: Do Conflicts Affect A Company’s Corporate Social Responsibility Policy?, Utrecht Law Review, pp. 58-60 Week 11 Leacture: Corporate Social Responsibility. pp. 2-37 Week 12 Lecture: Globalization and Organizations. pp. 4-30