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About Me >>   MBA Finance >>   MBA-635 Ethics, Corporate Culture & Social Responsibility

SNHU - MBA-635 Ethics, Corporate Culture & Social Responsibility
Written by: Chris Bell - March, 2018

Corporate Social Responsibility Efforts, Alignment & Impact in Business Environment in Business Environment

Outcomes

Efforts

WesBell will be involved in cultural awareness efforts in 2018 by increasing the level of diversity in their top management team along with their sales team. Whenever there is a dominant culture, breed, gender or race in any department of a company, including the highest level of corporate management, the company will lack the skills needed to compete against a company with a diverse culture. WesBell will be involved in civic engagement efforts by offering their time rather than (or in addition to) money to local charity foundations such as volunteering at the Nashua Soup Kitchen and joining breast cancer awareness events. In the past, WesBell has been generous by giving money to both charities but giving time is a better gift. Joel Osteen is a famous Pastor seen on television and heard on his satellite radio station, Joel Osteen Radio Sirius XM, and can be quoted saying, "Time is more valuable than money. We can make more money but we can't make more time. Use your time wisely."

Corporate Social Responsibility Efforts

Early in Chapter 7 Weiss' (2014) first thought is, "The forces of globalization, deregulation, shareholder activism, and information technology continue to influence business practices and processes as discussed in the previous chapters" (p. 426). Some companies have hundreds of thousands of employees which makes it important to start a strong and culturally diverse management team from the top down, and to share the mission and vision throughout the layers of hierarchy. WesBell has 30 employees and would pass most of the culture and diversity tests aside from the sales department and management team of about 8 grown white men with families. Surely, their motives and backgrounds are similar, and more importantly, it's an opportunity for improvement. Not only is diversity important for WesBell to follow the law and its percentages but, perhaps a woman or two would change the point of view and provide some new motivation for the others to excel. The women would also show more compassion to the customers and perhaps increase the long term overall customer satisfaction. Additionally, men and women that are African American, Asian and Indian would bring numerous opportunities and viewpoints to the table that haven't been previously mentioned or discussed. Finally, with the added gender and cultural diversity starting at the top, WesBell will have a foundation and structure for a largely diverse staff as they grow into the future. It's not yet considered a crisis or problem for WesBell since they only have 30 employees, but it's an exciting time for them to start creating a culturally diverse team before it becomes a problem.

WesBell will be looking for a few outcomes from their civic engagement efforts such as employee involvement and comradery, volunteers to help in giving back to the community and showing to the employees that the management team is committed to giving their time instead of simply writing a check. Volunteering will be optional for all staff members and each event will be posted on the company bulletin board with a signup sheet. The CEO and founder of WesBell is a 67-year-old veteran so it will be an important initiative to also include some charity work around Wounded Warriors or Homes for our Troops. As the employee engagement grows, perhaps WesBell could request suggestions from them for other specific charities that affect them personally and that they might want to be a part of for the event.

Corporate Social Responsibility Outcomes

The best desired potential outcome of WesBell's cultural awareness and civic engagement efforts is to first increase the level of comfort between staff members, increase the level of communication in both work and personal areas, allow new employees to feel more comfortable entering a diverse crowd rather than a single dominant group, and to give back to the community. WesBell is currently expanding into 3 times their current footprint which will require a high percentage of increased staff, so it's a perfect time for them to increase the level of diversity at all levels of the company. For example, two African Americans, two Asians and two Indians, of which 3 are women, would be a giant modern and cultural improvement to join forces with their current management staff of 8 white males. It will set the tone for cultural growth throughout the rest of the company in years to come.


Alignment

By increasing the level of cultural diversity in WesBell's management team, these efforts align with their mission of national and international growth, along with creating and sustaining relationships with customers and vendors. It's a simple fact of life that some people naturally get along with certain people while they struggle to communicate and often have conflict with others. With an incredibly diverse group of customers and potential new customers in the world, WesBell can further create and maintain relationships that perhaps they haven't seen before. According to Levychin in December 2013, "Diversity is one of the core growth principals of entrepreneurship with the concept of ROI-Based Diversity following a simple proposition: the more audiences you market your services or products to, the more opportunities you create to generate revenue."

It's important to have diverse products, vendors, customers, stocks, bonds, knowledge and of course diversity with investments from a personal standpoint and within a business. "Diversify!" they say. Even though it seems logical to integrate a culturally diverse working environment, Yale.edu says, "Generally, people act more favorably towards persons who share with them an important attribute of their identity compared to persons who differ significantly on that attribute. For example, fans of the same sports team give each other high-fives but jeer fans of a rival team" (Ben-ner & Kramer, 2016, p. 1). There's an interesting line to be drawn for hiring managers to create a diverse crowd while also having the desire to hire people that relate to them and share their interests. WesBell isn't big enough to have gotten itself into trouble in this area, legally or ethically, however it's clear that cultural diversity is an effort that supports their mission of developing more relationships across the country and beyond.

Corporate Social Responsibility Alignment

WesBell's vision is to build relationships with customers, visit them often and supply them with their wire and cable products including and especially wire and cable harnesses. WesBell will have plenty of talking points as they continue to volunteer at charity events and post videos of their work online. It's important for WesBell to create and maintain a positive image as they optimize their website, engage in social media and market across various local sites and e-commerce platforms. It's important for WesBell to incorporate the charity work as a part of their online image without turning it into a sales pitch. It could end up having an opposite effect if handled the wrong way. Companies typically have segregated departments, walls and offices as much as they try to be open and modern, and outside charity work will bring some of those separate groups together perhaps with additional family members and friends. It will promote further communication back at the office the next day hopefully with some additional laughter involved.


Impact

The alignment of civic engagement activities with WesBell's mission, vision and values will improve corporate exposure when they include their volunteer work in their marketing literature online and off line. In a book titled, The Definitive Guide to Social Media Marketing: Create a Steady and Engaging Brand, Bowden (2016) states, "Social media enables you to connect to your audience, to get feedback, to hear suggestions and to communicate in a number of ways. It helps you to build brand visibility and it lets you drive visitors straight to your site. Therefore, social media is so significant and it's why so businesses are jumping on board." Wire and cable products can be a difficult subject matter for WesBell to attempt engaging conversations via social media and other online platforms. However, they could vaguely mention their products, wear company T-shirts and present logos throughout videos and discussions of their civic engagement activities. For example, five WesBell employees all wearing the employee colors could be mentioned in a blog post about how they all worked a Saturday morning at the local soup kitchen and donated the equivalent of the employees hourly pay, while briefly mentioning and discussing their products and services. This is an effort that will promote and grow the conversation with their online network of customers, vendors, employees, and other stakeholders.

Two identical websites that each engage in social media will have different results in search engines if one of the companies can engage and interact with their online network. Within the Google Developer's section of www.google.com it's mentions that companies should, "Use markup on your official website to add your social profile information to a Google Knowledge panel. Knowledge panels prominently display your social profile information in some Google Search results." After a search query is entered and a business profile shows up on the right side of the page, Google will also present the company's social media links.

The alignment of cultural awareness activities with WesBell's mission, vision and values will improve corporate exposure when the new diversity alters and improves the company vision and values, and when WesBell starts sending more diversity on the road to meet customers and vendors. With a massive push towards social media these days, companies can be quickly and publicly exposed when they don't even know it's happening. For example, a company that doesn't have social media profiles but has employees with personal profiles could be exposed online more often than they think. Perhaps employees are using Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for positive or negative reasons, and receive corporate exposure that is not directly in line with the company's mission, vision, values or brand identity. With outside eyes looking in and making split-second opinions and assessments of the entire company, it's important for WesBell to create their own brand image online, connect with all of the employees to show that they care and promote diversity, and to be there for customers when they post comments and questions. They will need to dedicate an employee to social media by creating a job description that involves creating a new article each week, adding lots of pictures, including a video and posting it on their website and social media. Then they need to be prepared for incoming comments to respond accordingly. If WesBell decides to promote their culturally diverse staff they can do so through pictures and posts without specifically telling their audience, "Hey everyone, we're diverse, look at all the diversity we have!" The more often one does something the less often they need to tell people they're doing it.


The return on investment will show up in the profits for WesBell later, not just as they grow but also when they show publicly that they care about being culturally diverse and philanthropic. Hiring 6 more sales people when they expand into a bigger building will have a precise ROI but the intangible part of the equation is for WesBell to include the diversity into those six new employees. Is it possible to weigh the difference in ROI when adding 6 more white males compared to hiring 6 more nonwhite males? The process and grow would remain the same, but the diversity brings with it intangible history, morals and decision-making styles that would otherwise not be seen. The Humanities Between Global Integration and Cultural Diversity, written by Mersmann, Kippenberg, & Gurrey, (2016) state that, "Each new development in technology interacts with other technologies and in turn gives birth to new ones. Moreover, technologies and culture are interacting all the time. All this is as well conditioned as influences by organizational habits and attitudes, capital flow and knowledge production" (p. 155). A team of two work faster and more efficient than two separate individuals at a rate even more than double due to team work, communication and a more engaged mindset. Adding diversity to WesBell's staff may be hard to relate directly to profits but science proves that growing companies succeed faster with diversity than without, and therefore, ends up on WesBell's bottom line.

Corporate Social Responsibility ROI

Sustainability around cultural awareness and civic engagement as it relates to WesBell's mission, vision and values is more achievable through diversity and volunteering because employees work harder when they know they are wanted, needed, part of the social group and part of the growing community. Simply put, that's why someone might be proud to work for Tesla Motors that supports a cleaner and safer environment or for a university that educates up and coming generations to become the future of this country, and the world. When WesBell shows that they care about their employees by providing them with a diverse group for everyone to relate to someone, and they continue to engage with the community in a philanthropic way, they will sustain their employees, and therefore, their customers for the long term. Mersmann, Kippenberg, & Gurrey, (2016) go on to say, "In systematic terms, and more interestingly to my mind, however, globalization has triggered a sharpened aware-ness of (what systems theory would call) the fairly universal functional equivalences and variations of media and their crucial role for culture(s) and the human psyche. This is what the kind of media anthropology advocated here is about" (p. 169). Globalization is shrinking. Americans don't need to travel to India to interact with that culture on a regular basis, they could have coworkers, customers or vendors that are of Indian decent, along with numerous other cultures. It's becoming more important for companies to have an internally global company through diversity to potentially grow and sustain as a company, locally and internationally. This doesn't mean that the Mexican manager is automatically best fit to start, populate and grow a new facility in Mexico, but their input and participation on the team of directors could make a surmounting difference in the success of the venture.


Corporate Social Responsibility Sustaiability

WesBell serves its local community in the Northeast New England area of the United States, and more specifically Southern New Hampshire. As they hire more people to support their current business and to promote new business, WesBell realizes the role they play within the community to hire a diverse group of people, treat them well, provide them with a fun and safe working environment, pay them fairly, support them with benefits and set them up for their life plan and retirement. The 67-year-old veteran founder and owner has a proven track record of being a loyal employer and the new philanthropic efforts align with the company's history of treating people well and setting them up to succeed. Having a more culturally diverse staff and setting up volunteer events will further show the commitment of the employer to its employees. Weiss (2014) states a fine line between the Employer and Employee at Will (EAW) doctrine:

Employers try to maximize productivity and profits, to sustain financial growth and stability, to minimize costs, to improve quality, to increase market share, and to stabilize wages. Employees seek to increase their wages and benefits, to improve working conditions, to enhance mobility, and to ensure job security while demonstrating mutual respect for the value of their labor. No perfect boundary exists between employer and employee rights in a capitalist market economy. (p. 445)

WesBell has always had a longer-term approach to employment because of the amount of time it takes to hire, train and integrate a new employee into the current culture. Having turnover, even though it's possible to have through the EAW doctrine, can be financially burdensome for companies of all sizes. There are always improvements to be made, and as an ISO 9001 certified company, WesBell has continuous improvement initiatives to adhere to and document, and this will surely be one of those initiatives to address.


References:

Ben-Ner, A. & Kramer, A. (2006). Do We Prefer People Who Are Similar to Us? Retrieved from: http://conf.som.yale.edu/obsummer07/PaperBen-NerKramer.pdf

Bowden, S. R. (2016). The Definitive Guide To Social Media Marketing: Create a Steady and Engaging Brand. Munich: BookRix.

Google. (n.d.). Developers: Social Profile. Retrieved from: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/social-profile

Levychin, R. (December 2013). 3 Diversity Strategies to Help Companies Thrive. Retrieved from:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/entrepreneursorganization/2013/12/04/3-diversity-strategies-to-help-companies-thrive/#2db0d5ee62ce

Mersmann, B., Kippenberg, H. G., & Gurrey, O. (2016). The Humanities Between Global Integration and Cultural Diversity. Berlin: De Gruyter.

Weiss, J. W. (2014). Business ethics: a stakeholder and issues management approach. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.