Nini Yang; Colvin, Caran; Yim-Yu Wong
April 2012
Allied Academies International Conference: Proceedings of the Ac;Apr2012, Vol. 16 Issue 1, p5
Conference Proceeding
This study has attempted to build linkages between cross-cultural ethical issues and potential corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategic options in a firm-industry specific context so as to achieve a proper balance between a firm's global strategy and its local responsiveness through the eyes of international human resource management. While for many people and individual firms, globalization has become a reality, business ethics and CSR concepts have not yet been globalized. Multinational corporations that have outsourced or moved their operations from advanced to developing or emerging economies are often caught in spotlight for sweatshop working conditions, child labor practice, environmental pollution, and lack of welfare programs for workers and their families. Many of these ethical and social issues have a direct link to the human side of business. Although companies increasingly feel compelled to engage in CSR, most have not figured out how to do it well. It is particularly challenging to align CSR activities with a firm's global strategy, thereby the company and society both benefit because the firm brings unique assets and expertise to improve the competitive context as well as the quality of life in the place or locations where it operates. To the contrary, research findings suggest that CSR is often approached more as a form of public relations or promoting a company's image and brand, with an emphasis on publicity rather than social impact. Through this research, we propose that strategic international human resource management (IHR) has a key role to play in helping the firm identify, prioritize, and achieve CSR goals, thereby improving firm-industry specific social and environmental conditions locally and across borders. As social norms and institutional rules continue to be local, often having loopholes for corporate scandals or misconduct because of weak supervision by enforcement agencies, disparity in economic development, or different expectations by diverse stakeholders, MNCs' IHR function has a special role to play in formulation, communication, training, integrating, monitoring, and enforcement of an organization's moral standards and CSR commitment. Ethical leadership and enhanced CSR values should be nurtured across all functional and managerial levels and business networks, including MNCs' headquarters and foreign subsidiaries, suppliers, contractors, subcontractors, employees, consumers, competitors, and the communities. IHR will thereby become well positioned as a potential unifier to coordinate strategic CSR efforts internally and externally. Suggestions for future research are discussed and a framework for CSR strategic options provided.


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