Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility


  • Ethical business practices are those that are socially responsible, morally right, honourable and fair.
  • Possible ethical issues in human resource management:
    • Discrimination
    • Issues arising from traditional view of employer/employee relationship
    • Issues affecting employee privacy e.g. workplace surveillance, drug testing
    • Issues relating to fairness of employment contract & power balance
      • Corporate social responsibility (CSR) refers to
      • To establish and maintain ethical business practices and CSR, HRM often implements a code of conduct and/or code of ethics for its employees
      • A COC is a statement of acceptable and unacceptable behaviours in a business
      • A COE is a statements of a firms’ values and principles
      • The difference between the 2 is that a COE tends to be broad and value-based in nature, whereas a COC is often more detailed and explicit with its expectations. These can be included in a wider code of practices that outlines the ethical responsibilities of customers, employees and suppliers

Corporate Social Responsibility

  • The way that a business considers the financial, environmental and social impacts of its decisions and is often referred to as its ‘triple bottom line’.
  • HR policies and procedures of a business are often and integral component of its CSR.
  • A business can demonstrate its commitment to CSR by:
    • Investing in community projects
    • Supporting research initiatives
    • Introducing occupational health and safety measures
    • Adopting environmentally friendly practices
    • Drafting and applying a code of ethics to company operations
  • Strategies to promote Corporate Social Responsibility within a business include:
    • Promote effective affirmative action and anti-discrimination programs within the workplace
    • Develop initiatives that reduce the business’s impact upon the environment
    • Engage in strategies that promote work-life balance and enhance workplace flexibility
    • Encourage staff to volunteer their time to participate in community building activities.

Extract from Business Studies Stage 6 Syllabus. © 2010 Board of Studies NSW.