Company Q and Social Responsibility Social responsibility is a key attribute for businesses in the market today. When consumers look to spend their disposable income, they look for businesses that not only offer the right product, at the right price, but that also offer great service. Great service can include anything from friendly employees to community involvement. That is where social responsibility becomes apparent in a company’s ethics and values. If a company has a strong tie to the community and demonstrates social responsibility, their consumers will consider this a positive quality and it will separate them from the competition. In this case study with Company Q, they are lacking in the area of social responsibility. There are three major areas where the company can immediately make positive changes to improve their social standing in the neighborhoods where they operate. Making these changes and becoming more socially responsible is crucial for this company to see longevity as a business and to increase their market share. They will eventually lose patrons and income if they are not careful with how they manage their company’s interaction with their community.
The first area for them to review is the closing of stores in high crime areas. Company Q has cited the reason for closing these stores as low sales and lost revenues in that area. Closing these stores has negative impacts on the company image. Consider the employees that are now without work. Even the extended community could view Company Q as the “bad guy.” It can be displayed as an attitude that the company cares more about the bottom line than the people in the area that would potentially be supporting the company. To improve in this area, Company Q should be challenged to interact with the community to determine why their sales are lower and what products would be beneficial to the neighborhood. Since the neighborhood is not as affluent as others, there may be a different set of products needed in that area. They should also reach out to the community to determine areas where they can volunteer and help to make improvements. Volunteerism is a powerful way to reduce crime, and to interact with potential consumers. Also, if crime is a concern, businesses should work with local law enforcement to
determine ways to protect themselves and by working with local law enforcement they will become more invested and involved in their surrounding area. The second item that should be reviewed by Company Q is their ability to quickly respond to the needs and desires of their community. Consumers had to send requests to Company Q over several years in order to get some organic products into the store. This can be seen as a negative attitude on the part of Company Q. Consumers can say that Company Q does not care about carrying healthy food alternatives, and in turn does not care about the health of the community. Also, the company is not responding well to consumer requests. In order to develop a better position of social responsibility, the company should research and respond to customer requests to add and remove products from the product line. Polling and surveying the surrounding community will give the company a good resource of data that can help improve their store’s products and even store appearance and staff.
Even if the store decides that responding to a customer request is not feasible, the communication channel is now open between the company and the public. Offering products that are important to the community gives the essence that the company cares about their community. A third item that the company should reconsider is offering the outdated food to food banks. If the public is aware that the company is choosing to destroy food that could be used by food banks for needy families, the public would not respond well to this disregard for the community. The company can be viewed as inconsiderate and uncaring. The company cited concerns about employee theft as their reason for refusing to donate. Changing this practice should be done quickly to improve the image of the company. To be seen by the public as uncaring towards the disadvantaged in the community, is the exact opposite of having positive social responsibility.
If the company has legitimate concerns about employee theft, they should look towards improving their human resources policies and business ethics policies. They possibly need to implement background checks for all employees. They should implement a hotline to report employee theft anonymously. They may even offer the products at a heavily discounted price to employees before donating the remaining products. There are many ways to curb employee theft and still be able to interact with the community. Company Q has improvements to make in the area of Social Responsibility. By making these key changes, they can improve their company image and eventually increase their market share and revenues. By taking a better stance towards a positive social image, the company is telling their stakeholders that they care about the area and the people in the communities where they exist.