• We have outlined the fact that businesses have various objectives, and that these objectives change from time to time and are not the same among various stakeholders.
  • In the olden days, businesses tended to focus on these objectives with maximising profit dominating everything
  • Things have changed these days and in addition to making a profit, growth, survival and other objectives businesses are expected to act and operate in an ethical manner and to participate in corporate social responsibility
  • Business ethics and social responsibility are critical concepts in the modern business world.
  • These two concepts ensure that businesses are not only profitable but also operate in a morally and socially acceptable manner.
  • Business ethics refers to the moral principles that guide the conduct of businesses while corporate social responsibility refers to the voluntary actions taken by businesses to address social and environmental issues.

Business Ethics:

  • Business ethics refers to the moral principles and values that govern the behaviour of businesses.
  • These principles and values guide businesses to operate in an ethical and responsible manner.
  • Examples of business ethics include honesty, fairness, integrity, and respect for others.
  • In Zimbabwe, some companies such as OK Zimbabwe and Econet Wireless have been recognized for their ethical practices such as paying their taxes on time, treating their employees fairly, and avoiding corrupt practices.

Corporate Social Responsibility:

  • Corporate social responsibility (CSR) refers to the voluntary actions taken by businesses to address social and environmental issues.
  • These actions go beyond legal requirements and aim to benefit society as a whole.
  • Examples of CSR activities include philanthropy, environmental sustainability, and ethical labour practices.
  • In Zimbabwe, some companies such as Delta Corporation and Old Mutual have been recognized for their CSR activities such as sponsoring community development projects, promoting environmental sustainability, and investing in education.

Importance of Business Ethics and Social Responsibility:

  • Businesses that operate ethically and are socially responsible are more likely to be trusted by their stakeholders such as customers, employees, and investors.
  • This trust can lead to increased profitability as customers are more likely to purchase products and services from ethical and socially responsible companies.
  • Ethical and socially responsible businesses also have a positive impact on society and the environment, contributing to the sustainable development of the communities in which they operate.
  • In Zimbabwe, businesses that operate ethically and are socially responsible have been able to build long-lasting relationships with their stakeholders and contribute to the development of the country.
  • Compliance with ethical and social responsibility standards can help businesses avoid legal and reputational risks that may arise from unethical practices.
  • Ethical behaviour can also lead to increased employee motivation and job satisfaction, as employees feel more engaged and proud to work for a company that aligns with their own values.
  • Socially responsible practices can help businesses attract and retain customers who prioritize sustainability and corporate social responsibility in their purchasing decisions.
  • In contrast, unethical behaviour and lack of social responsibility can lead to negative publicity, boycotts, and loss of reputation, which can have long-lasting effects on the business’s success and profitability.
  • In Zimbabwe, businesses that have been involved in unethical practices or environmental damage have faced public backlash and legal action, damaging their reputation and credibility.
  • Ethical behaviour and social responsibility are also becoming increasingly important for investors and financial institutions, who may prioritize investing in companies with strong ethical and sustainability records.
  • Ultimately, operating with ethics and social responsibility is not just a moral obligation, but also a key factor in the long-term success and sustainability of a business.

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