Responsibility Is Oh So Hard To Manage

Related entries: Business Issues, Corporate Social Responsibility, General, Research, Risk & Law

The People’s Daily reports that Chinese enterprises are becoming more socially responsible.

On the up-side:

    “The results of a questionnaire distributed by the Chinese Entrepreneur Survey System (CESS) to 4586 enterprise operators were published on April 14. Some 95.8 percent of them believe that “a good enterprise must have a strong sense of social responsibility”, while 90 percent of enterprises say they have made some form of contribution to society in the last year…Most enterprise managers identified their basic responsibilities as “creating wealth for society” (87.4%) and “promoting the country’s development” (78.4%).”

On the down-side:

    They identified their main failings as a socially responsible enterprise as “polluting the environment”, “producing and selling imitation and counterfeit goods”, “evading tax”, “engaging in illegal competition”, “falsely advertising and deliberately misleading consumers”, “defaulting on payment for goods”, “defaulting on or underpaying employees” and “offering or accepting commercial bribes”.”

I wonder where the 95.8 percent with such strong and praise-worthy beliefs went while the surveys were completed?! Anyway, the problems behind the problems were reported to include a lack of management understanding of the concepts, and the fact that managers ”find it hard to manage the enterprise without resorting to such behaviors”. (Poor things!).

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is very much on the political and corporate agenda. While foreign firms are getting a lot of the public flak (as in the recent case over the minimum wage), it is clear from the survey that domestic companies are often doing worse (but that not being foreign is some sort of mitigation). Clearly there is a need for practical frameworks (of the sort being tested in the textiles sector) and effective regulation if the preaching is going to match the practice any time soon. Expect movement on both fronts in the near future. And all praise the “harmonious society”.

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