“We reveal ourselves in metaphors we choose. A superior would think of what is right, whereas an inferior thinks only of what is profitable"
In the most famous passages in Wealth of Nation, Adam Smith declares,
“It is not the benevolence of the butcher, brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves not to their humanity but to their self-love and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages”
This is often quoted in defense of self-interest. But what is missed is obvious. The self-interest of the butcher, the brewer and the baker is served only because they do indeed pay attention to our necessities, as well as to their own reputations of quality and fairness which is essential for the business they do so. It is precisely because they rise above their interest of others that make success. What they ultimately “sell” is their own Integrity.
The old quasi argument still persists-
o Whether multinational organizations in general best serve humanity
o Whether responsibility can be expected from these organizations
o Whether multinational organizations have conscience
But in 20th Century all of this is merely academic. The question prevalent today is
“How the virtues and integrity of people who make up organizations can be implemented in those organizations to develop a culture of CSR?"
Thinking of the term “profit” and “making money” devoid a larger sense of obligation, responsibility and ethics. Indeed such crude self-interested thinking has never and will never make any organisation culture “great”. Even a casual observation of goodwill and genuine amiability of most business people tell us something important about business world. When business is cut- off from the rest of human enterprise it is said;
“Business is business” but the reality is “Business is not just Business”. It is an essential part of human life and community.There are many ways in which the organisation can be virtuous and many ways in which it can be ethical. But the virtuous style is the “correct” view of ethics itself is a misunderstanding of ethics of virtue.
Corporate Social Responsibility is concerned with treating the stakeholders of the organisation in an ethical way. If the top management is ethical the values percolate within the organisation and flow in the culture of the organization (as blood in body). It 's not about preaching to practice CSR , being ethical but to actually start believing and following meticulously. After all as, Tom Peters write,
“In the end it’s up to each of us and each of us alone to figure out who we are and who we are not and to act more or less consistently on conclusions”