Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a theme that we see often in the headlines. Companies that fail to address CSR issues are often demonized, while those that embrace CSR are hailed as strong examples of ethical organizations. Many companies view CSR initiatives as a growth opportunity, not just a regulatory requirement. Often a discussion surrounds a company’s ability to tie CSR initiatives to gains in a company’s competitive advantage and access to new business opportunities. The challenge can sometimes be related to the level of poverty within a region. In other words, being socially responsible might mean that there is no gain in competitive advantage or increase in corporate profits.
Begin by reading Case 5.2, Drug Dilemmas
Next, reflect upon the following: Given the nature of their product, do pharmaceutical companies have ethical responsibilities that other corporations don’t have? In your view, are the large U.S. drug companies good corporate citizens? When it comes to life-saving drugs, do pharmaceutical companies have a moral obligation to make them available in poor countries at little or no cost? Explain why or why not. Consider the difference between life-saving and non-life-saving drugs. How does your explanation reflect on the organizations’ need to be socially responsible? Make sure that you take a theory from the text and use that as the lens by which you analyze the complexity of the situation while answering the questions. Respond to your peers’ evaluation of the ethical issues associated with the case.
One of the considerations when participating in course discussions is to keep an open mind and be appreciative of the fact that we don’t all share the same perspective. Ethical issues can many times bring emotions to the surface. Work to take a step back and use this as a learning experience about both yourself and others that you might work with on a daily basis.
Your responses to the discussion questions should relate the assigned readings and viewings to the discussion topic and should not consist only of personal opinion. Your opinion is important to the discussion, but it is also important that you add connections to the material to support your views. Without a foundation in the literature, your opinion has little professional value. For example, “Based on Trevino and Nelson’s stance that cultural relativism creates an environment where unethical behavior is justified through the cultural discourse (year, P#), the discussion should center around……” This type of statement allows you to connect your views to the literature. This is possible even when you are providing personal examples.