Corporate social responsibility (CSR) refers to the obligation of corporations to wield their tremendous power in a safe and ethical manner. An organization that implements CSR practices integrity-based ethics as opposed to compliance-based ethics. Corporate social responsibility takes the corporation beyond simple compliance with rules and regulations imposed by outside sources and addresses the fact that while a specific action might be legal, it may not be ethical. Strategic management of CSR is essential in ensuring that an organization acts in a safe and ethical manner in accordance with its overall mission.
Strategic management begins with a mission statement that articulates the organization’s reason for being in existence. Strategies are then devised to align operational activities with the overall mission. When the organization has determined a need to implement corporate social responsibility in its work practices through strategic management, the first step is to examine and revise the mission statement to reflect this. For example, the mission statement might affirm that the organization is committed to including integrity and respect for others and the environment throughout the production, marketing and distribution of its products or services.
Situation analysis is a vital portion of the strategic management practice, and is especially essential when integrating corporate social responsibility into the process. The PEST and SWOT analyses are common methods used to examine an organization’s current situation and determine where adjustments are needed to meet organizational goals. The PEST analysis examines political, economic, social and technological factors that impact the organization, while the SWOT analysis examines the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. All of these factors can be examined from a corporate social responsibility perspective to determine where and how the organization can improve.
The creation of SMART goals is an essential element of the strategic management process, and is especially useful when incorporating corporate social responsibility into daily work practices. SMART goals are goals that are Specific and Measurable, reasonably Attainable, Relevant to the mission and tied to a specific Timeline for completion. The creation of SMART goals is essential in creating goals which may actually be completed. When goals are specific and measurable, organizational leaders may easily evaluate what must be done and dedicate the necessary resources to ensure that goals are met. Additionally, the creation of goals that are relevant to the CSR mission will ensure that the final implementation provides the desired results.
The strategic management process originates within the uppermost echelons of the organization before being disseminated through middle and lower management for implementation at the operational level. Implementation typically takes the form of specific policies, procedures and programs designed to bring day-to-day work activities into alignment with the mission statement.For example, organizational leaders may create a volunteer program which will be carried out by workers. They may also develop policies to ensure employees at all levels act in a safe and ethical manner in all work practices.