Social Responsibility Microsoft

Social Responsibility: Microsoft
Social Responsibility: Microsoft
Private, as well as public enterprises all over the world, have been striving to improve the
image of their businesses. Companies are increasingly realizing the importance of being good
corporate citizens. Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR has become more than a gesture of
philanthropy and corporate entities have recognized the importance of helping the communities
that have contributed to their success (McNall, Hershauer & Basile, 2011, p. 82). There has been
augmenting evidence that investment in CSR by ethical companies lead to increased returns on
the long-term. Established public sector firms are investing significant portions of their profits
towards community development and social uplift. Most successful enterprises, both private and
public, believe that they should contribute to the improvement of communities that support their
operations. Corporate Social Responsibility has become a critical aspect of business activities
both at the national and international level. As globalization gathers speed and large corporations
become global providers, the benefits of engaging in CSR initiatives become more apparent.
Microsoft has been engaging in CSR programs in different locations in which it operates. While
the company has been largely successful in doing this, more can still be done. As a developer,
manufacturer, and seller of consumer electronics, personal computers, and computer software
with a global presence, Microsoft is in an ideal position to help in improving the lives people in
places where they have direct operations and beyond through an elaborate CSR program, which
can be implemented over a number of years.
Environmental Considerations and Recommendations
Firms are showing an increased need to appear “green.” It seems instinctive that
voluntary actions aimed at internalizing environmental externalities are socially responsible.
Environmental good practice has an aspect of business efficiency (Horrigan, 2010, p. 36). It
involves how a company best uses its valuable raw materials and passing the benefits that attend
such actions to the company bottom line. The environmental bottom line of a company is
influenced by two key factors. The first is the amount of energy that the company uses and the
contributions of that energy towards pertinent issues such as global warming and climate change
while the second is how the company uses its raw materials and the impact of the extraction of
these raw materials on the environment. In addition, the bottom line is underscored by the
environmental risk that a company takes. The manufacturing and sale of products that are
environmentally friendly is a growth business. The frittering away of raw materials and energy
that are financed by company resources will definitely cost money. Some of the factors that are
pertinent to environmental sustainability with regard to CSR include resource productivity and
waste reduction, energy efficiency, climate change, and green product design.There is the need
to optimize efficiency, which can lead to more creativity and improvement in product quality
than anticipated.
Considering that an average office worker uses up to eleven sheets of paper daily, it will
be important for an established company such as Microsoft to recycle office stationery such as
paper as a measure of conserving resources. Being a developer and manufacturer of consumer
electronics, personal computers, and computer software, the company obviously uses immense
amounts of energy in the form of electricity. The conservation of this energy is important for the
company’s CSR initiative it is to become a “green” company (Horrigan, 2010, p. 38). Some of
the lapses that may lead to energy wastage include leaving PCs and other IT equipment turned on
when they are not in use. Thinking about and implementing sustainability measures is not just
beneficial to the environment; it reduces the expenses and boosts the company bottom-line, as
well. Customers are growing increasingly demanding. Because people are becoming more aware
of the scale of environmental challenges, they are seeking companies to provide them with
purchasing choices that do not compromise the future.
Microsoft should strive to incorporate environmental sustainability its business processes
and functions. When IT firms such as Microsoft make sustainability an important aspect of their
products, technologies, and solutions, they help in protecting the planet while creating value for
consumers, suppliers, and their own bottom line. It is important for Microsoft to run its
businesses using sound product stewardship, health, safety, and environment practices while
offering product solutions that ease energy consumption and decrease the environmental impact.
Microsoft can continuously improve its environmental management system via employee
training, promoting management commitment, consultation and participation in keying out
environmental impacts, conducting regular reviews, as well as performing environmental
management system audits. It can eliminate close to sixty percent of travel related expenses
through using collaborative tools. Close to ninety percent of Microsoft’s product emissions occur
while in use. Therefore, the company must focus on designing its products, integrated circuits
(ICs), and power supplies to be energy efficient. Because the company also develops software,
creating collaborative solutions that can help its customers to trim down their emissions will also
be integral to its CSR goals.
Recycling and product take-back programs will also provide customers with a no-cost
way of managing their electronic wastes (Boeger, Murray & Villiers, 2008, p. 216). For an IT
company such as Microsoft, maximizing product life through refurbishment, service, and reuse is
important in ensuring environmental friendly operations. This is important in reducing business
risk, improving repute, and in driving market prospects. The above recommendations will help in
reducing Microsoft’s environmental footprint while improving its bottom line. By establishing
higher standards for the reduction of emissions, Microsoft will lead by example.
Ethical leadership Considerations and Recommendations
Ethical leadership serves as the foundation for a number of contemporary concepts for
organizations and business, which broaden corporate priorities beyond the usual objective of
stockholder enrichment and corporate profits. Ethical considerations also constitute a significant
influence on public companies, for which the established priorities of cost management and
service quality must take into consideration these same ethical consideration that shape the
business world (Prastacos, Wang & Soderquist, 2012, p. 42). The contemporary concepts of
ethical businesses encompasses a number of related issues such as social responsibility,
corporate governance, sustainability, fair-trade, ethical management and leadership, and the
triple bottom line. Ethical leadership and CSR cannot be divorced from each other in the 21
century corporate climate. The Enron scandal led the society and the government to tighten the
standards of expectations for organizations aspiring to win business. Corporate social
responsibility extends basic integrity to deal with the interaction of businesses with key
stakeholders such as employees, customers, suppliers, as well as the community.
While some people have considered CSR as a progression of business ethics, the practice
is still anchored in ethics and basic business integrity, which starts with ethical leadership. To
gain lasting business from customers, companies must operate with transparency and integrity
(Prastacos, Wang & Soderquist, 2012, p. 45). The damage that corporate greed such as the Enron
saga caused to the public consciousness has made the public to scrutinize carefully the
consistency between a company’s actions and words.
Workplace Management
The management of attitudes is a key consideration in undertaking CSR initiatives. It is
imperative for the management to realize that the workforce constitutes a company’s most
valued asset that must be treated with utmost reverence, respect, and esteem. The management
must exercise equality in its recruitment practices and foster a strong culture of tolerance to
workplace diversity, which proscribes discrimination (Prastacos, Wang & Soderquist, 2012, p.
43). Diversity is beneficial for a business, even though it demands training and management
supervision, which is important in encouraging openness and communication.
Giving Back
One of the most important CSR extensions that go beyond simple business ethics is the
emphasis on businesses to get involved. Businesses no longer exist for the aim of maximizing
stockholder profits. Organizations that engage in CSR recognize the value of being a good
member of the community. Participating in communal activities in areas where a business
operates is a very effective way of ensuring good community relations. In addition, communities
frequently expect profitable enterprises to give back some fraction of their profits to community
programs or charitable causes. The public now anticipates more from business organizations and
have began to form stakeholder groups and forums for employees, consumers, shareholders,
activists, as well as community members. With respect to ethical considerations, Microsoft can
start with incorporating staff welfare plans with its aims of boosting community relationships. A
good way of doing this would be through letting the letting the employees to vote on the charity
of their choice that the company should support.
It has become a common practice for businesses to set aside charity days in which staff
are allowed to participate in their chosen charity. The effects of this will go further in improving
the image of the company than monetary donations. During uncertain financial times, the rates
of employment are frequently an issue. As an established global outfit, the company could
provide part-time work or training to students or those in long-term employment. Offering such
kind of community assistance can be beneficial especially for students in providing them with
their first work experience. Lastly, because Microsoft also engages in the manufacturing
activities, a local purchasing policy in its supply chains would also benefit the locals. Not only
could local sourcing boost the local economy, it will help the environment by preventing
unnecessary travelling and the attendant emissions.
Organizational Viability Considerations and Recommendation
The term viability refers to the ability of an organization to meet its long-term survival
needs. The connection between positive financial performance and socially responsible practices
has been demonstrated in a number of studies. Several factors influence the profitability of
companies that engage in CSR. These include reduced operating costs, improved reputation and
brand image, and reduced regulatory oversight (Horrigan, 2010, p. 113).
Reduced Operating Cost
CSR initiatives have the potential to reduce operating costs considerably. For instance,
initiatives aimed at environmental betterment such as the reduction of emissions and energy
conservation lower costs. Recycling lower the costs associated with waste disposal and generate
income through the sale of recycled material. With respect to human resource, flexible work
scheduling, as well as other programs that reduce employee absenteeism and improve retention
often lead to more savings through reduced hiring and training expenses and improved
Improved Reputation and Brand Image
Customers prefer companies or brands with a good reputation with respect to corporate social
responsibility. A socially responsible organization may gain from its improved reputation, thus
increasing its ability to attract trading partners and capital. A number of factors influence the
public perception of a company, including brand reputation/quality (40 percent), social
responsibility (49 percent), and business fundamentals (32 percent) (Aras & Crowther, 2012, p.
164). Microsoft already has impressive scores on these fronts, but can still improve on its CSR
Reduced Regulatory Oversight
Organizations that irrefutably satisfy or move beyond regulatory compliance often enjoy
a freer reign and reduced oversight from local and national entities. It appears apparent that the
involvement of corporate entities in CSR is due to self-interest to permit them to enjoy trouble-
free operations (Carroll & Shabana, 2010, p. 89). Microsoft should strive to implement the CSR
measures because its relationship with the community is important as these communities provide
it with the organizational workforce, offer a contributory environment that attract or drive away
talented personnel, make available essential services and may, if antagonized, impose constraints
on the industry or institution. It is in Microsoft’s self-interest to practice social responsibility. If
the firm is to have a positive business climate in which its operations can continue unhampered
in the future, it must take the requisite steps that will guarantee its long-term viability.
Legal and Regulatory Considerations and Recommendations
The most important thing for corporate entities and the society to realize is the limitations
to voluntary. If people are to share the earth’s resources equitably, then it becomes imperative to
transform the economies. Businesses alone cannot be relied upon to achieve this. Over the past
decade, trends have revealed a widespread occurrence of business collapses and failures. Such
collapses have proved devastating and catastrophic to the global economy (Horrigan, 2010, p.
163). During this period, businesses have purported to promote CSR initiatives and have claimed
to be devoted to sustainable development while simultaneously carrying out destructive business
practices in the communities where they are based. The law governs corporate social
responsibility. Illegal practices and unethical conduct such as deceit, cheating, and corporate
greed by business executive are key causes of such failures. Corporations, for instance, may face
legal action due to their failure to observe the ethics incorporated in their CSR strategies. The
ethics contained in the CSR can be considered a promise that is safeguarded by legal contract.
Businesses can be subjected to legal proceedings for breach of contract if they fail to comply
with the promises they made. Therefore, the discrepancy between the declared business ethos
and practice has critical ethical, as well as legal implications. There exists a philosophical issue
in the discernment of ethical conduct.
Legal analysis holds the potential of bringing important insights to both business
management and public policy. Failure to consider the legal implications of CSR weakens the
likelihood of striking a proper balance between civil society, business, and government roles and
responsibilities. The access to information, as well as transparency on matters pertaining to the
social and environmental aspects of company performance constitutes important themes of the
corporate social responsibility schema. Obligatory legislation on a number of aspects of
corporate transparency is emerging all over the world (Rahim, 2013, p. 141). It may comprise
part of environmental regulation, company law, or specially made legislation for environmental
or social reporting or for institutional investors. Demands for increased public sector
accountability have lead to calls for reporting on revenues remitted to host governments. Even
voluntary CSR approaches have certain inherent legal contexts. For instance, laws on false
advertising or misrepresentation govern voluntary company reporting. Litigation has also
brought to the fore new facts regarding the CSR agenda. The boundaries of extant legal doctrines
with respect to complex issues of the social responsibility agenda are being tested through
several legal actions. For both private and public businesses, the relationship between CSR and
law raise some deep-seated management challenges.
There has been an emerging wave of litigation and legal action aimed at holding parent
companies legally responsible in courts of developed countries for the harmful impacts of
business activities in developing countries (Horrigan, 2010, p. 163). In responding to these
emergent legal risks, Microsoft should seek integration between its legal department and the
CSR department, which is preferable to corporate restructuring in giving meaning to best
practice. Notwithstanding the challenging implications, it is progressively becoming clear that
litigation and law form an integral part of the CSR mix. As a global company that is subject to
foreign direct liability, Microsoft should get beyond the deadbeat principle of “voluntary versus
mandatory” in looking at the challenges of making certain that economic globalization is
combined with good social and environmental performance.
Aras, G., & Crowther, D. (2012). Business strategy and sustainability. Bingley, UK: Emerald.
Boeger, N., Murray, R., & Villiers, C. (2008). Perspectives on corporate social responsibility.
Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.
Carroll, A. B., & Shabana, K. M. (2010). The business case for corporate social responsibility:
A review of concepts, research and practice. International Journal of Management
Reviews, 12(1), 85-105.
Horrigan, B. (2010). Corporate social responsibility in the 21st century: Debates, models and
practices across government, law and business. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.
McNall, S. G., Hershauer, J. C., & Basile, G. (2011). The business of sustainability: Trends,
policies, practices, and stories of success. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.
Prastacos, G. P., Wang, F., & Soderquist, K. E. (2012). Leadership through the classics:
Learning management and leadership from ancient east and west philosophy.
Heidelberg, DE: Springer.
Rahim, M. M. (2013). Legal regulation of corporate social responsibility: A meta-regulation
approach. Berlin, DE: Springer-Verlag Berlin.

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