Any normal business organisation works taking into account the meeting of Employee interests, ensuring Customer satisfaction and increasing Shareholder value. These three objectives remain the primary ones and is normally the usual model.
In the process of achieving above goals social, environmental and ethical considerations are sometimes managed skilfully without giving too much importance to them.
The question which organisations fail to address in the first place is whether their primary strategy is only limited to add value to employees, customers and shareholders or whether they should actually try and balance this game with the overall social, environmental and ethical objectives of the society at large. Now when this added objective starts featuring in any organisation’s Mission statement or Vision parameters then there is a paradigm shift and the first three receivers of benefits (let’s call them the “primary stakeholders”) would need to make sacrifices so that societal, environmental and ethical objectives are also taken care of in a fair and square manner.
The struggle in any organisation normally devolves around the issue as to whether the primary stakeholders are ready to make this sacrifice or are they only interested in adding value to their own interests? When the primary stakeholders agree to such a proposition and make sacrifices in their earnings for the betterment of society at large it would mean that their returns on their investments are going to take a hit and this money which they sacrifice would be instead utilised to meet societal expectations, environmental protection projects and ensuring high ethical standards. As would obviously follow next, these primary stakeholders who make the sacrifice would expect something in return from the Government of the day in appreciation of their efforts maybe say in the form of a reduction in taxation rates or allowing tax holidays for such organisations to at least refund a part of the sacrifice made by them. The reason why such an expectation often arises is that when sacrificing a part of their hard earned revenue organisations often expect Governments to also follow suit and run a mile along with them and let go of part of their revenue thus emphasising the fact that such efforts are indeed being appreciated. Their argument is that the work being undertaken by such organisations is to assist Governments to meet their objectives of providing clean environment and transparent policies for good societal living standards.
Again here among the primary stakeholders the Shareholders and employees have a long term stake in the organisation whereas the Customer or the consumers of goods or services can make choices in the short term by switching to cheaper alternatives if quality and pricing factors are not conducive to his expectations. As far as the customer is concerned he would be looking for the best priced and best quality product or service irrespective of the organisation which provides the same. This would in turn put immense pressure on the employees and shareholders and throw them into a dilemma as to whether they really need to pursue societal, environmental and ethical objectives or just concentrate on adding value at any cost.
The hit which our environment has been taking over the several years is due to the conflicts which exist in these areas and as long as Governments don’t take a strong stand in protecting, encouraging and nurturing organisations which follow ethics and standards for better societal living and environmental protection the planet is going to start creaking, going crazy and get converted to a virtual gas chamber where most of life would become non existent.
The basic question is – Are we okay with leaving such a legacy for our children?