Having done quite a heavy load of literature research on many companies’ initiatives in CSR, notably after natural disasters, I have come to realize one thing: the company does not always know what’s best. Many companies, even the big ones I researched, have a hard time simply with how to run their operations. The large amount of money spent by these companies is not small, but are they used in the right way?
When a company goes into a region in need of help, many people will take the assistance out of desperation. However, many of the programs and initiatives are more than just food and shelter. They often require local participation within a structured framework created by the company. The company creates a program that can dramatically alter the way the people live. Locals now face the choice of benefitting from the company’s program by participation, or not. The latter option is unviable because the locals need all the help they can get. Although not explicitly, the company is basically imposing their idea of what’s best upon the needy people.
Now, if all CSR were 100% altruistic and philanthropic, then it might make the case. But in every good act, there’s a self interested drive as well. For companies, it’s the profit-seeking mentality that drives all business decisions. In addition to this, many companies just don’t know the local’s enough (culturally, etc.) to provide the right help. Is it moral for companies to impose their “help” on needy people? Especially if there is a self-interested mindset involved, I feel like companies may not be offering the best possible assistance to the disaster-stricken people.
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