This is mainly due to the complex relationship between a corporation’s social responsibility, and its fiduciary duty to its shareholders. Friedman (1970) argued that the social responsibility of business is to maximize its profits and businesses have no responsibility to anyone other than their shareholders. However, in spite of this argument, efforts to encourage and develop more socially responsible and philanthropic business operations have persisted for many years. Nikkei has been chosen as it is well known as a controversial manufacturing company.
This is due to its brand trench and power, and the alleged unethical use of sweatshop labor and exploitative practices in many of its global manufacturing operations. Indeed, in the 1 adds Nikkei was a major target for protests and other consumer ire. This was driven by footage of the terrible conditions that existed in many of its overseas suppliers, which provided trainers and other goods at a very low price whilst treating employees very poorly, and often using children as workers.
As a result of this, Nikkei faced significant pressure from its consumers and shareholders, who raised the question of how Nikkei could pep its market leading position in light of CARS expectations about how companies should treat their workforces and local communities. This intense pressure forced Nikkei to adopt corporate social responsibility practices far sooner than many other companies (Gazed, 2004). However, the company is still a major garment manufacturer, and thus competing in an industry where outsourced and low cost manufacturing is very much the norm.
As such, it is difficult for the company to remain both responsible and competitive at the same time. This research will thus examine this balance in the context of Nikkei. The aim of this project is to evaluate how Nikkei reconciles the need to minimize the cost of manufacturing with the need to meet the ethical and social expectations of its customers. The main project objective is to achieve a deeper understanding Of the paradox faced by companies looking to be socially responsible whilst also remaining cost competitive in an increasingly difficult market environment.
This is particularly important for a company like Nikkei, which is facing significant pressures from consumers and stakeholders to show high levels of corporate responsibility, whilst also under significant market pressure to be cost competitive and to ensure that it can still compete in difficult economic conditions. It is expected that the mainstream CARS and business ethics theories will not be directly applicable to Nikkei due to its specific and high profile market position, and if this is the case then the research will make a significant contribution to the literature in this area.
In order to investigate these issues in detail, the specific research questions that will be addressed by this question are: To what extent are Nine’s CARS practices in line with the predictions and arguments of the major CARS theories in the literature? To what extent is Nine’s corporate behavior in line with the predictions and arguments of the major business ethics theories in the literature? How does Nikkei promote itself as an ethical and socially responsible business?
Do consumers have positive perceptions of Nikkei, its corporate social responsibility levels and the ethical nature of its actions? Is Nikkei currently following the best course and overall business strategy based on the CARS and ethical expectations of consumers? A secondary research approach will be used, as this will best suit the timescales and the requirements of this piece. A secondary research approach will focus on the assimilation and use of data that has been collected by other authors and researchers.
As such, it will primarily focus on existing empirical and theoretical work in the areas of CARS and business ethics. This approach will thus tie in well with the objective of reconciling the practical paradox that faces companies which are trying to be more socially responsible whilst also remaining practical. It will also help to answer the first two research questions, by providing a good picture of the available empirical and theoretical literature in the areas of CARS and business ethics in order to utter contextual these phenomena in the case of Nikkei.
The research will also look at the available market analyses and reports that provide evidence of the consumer and market perceptions of Nikkei. The main framework in which these different research strands will be based will be a comparative research framework, with a strong narrative context. In other words, rather than try to define narrow research questions and hypotheses that can be answered either yes or no, this work will try to develop a coherent Story for why CARS and business ethics at Nikkei have developed as they have, and the implications of this for profitability and cost imitativeness.
Within this narrative, comparative research will be used to try and understand the various contexts in which Nikkei operates, and the implications of this for the company’s overall level of CARS and ethics, as well as the varying levels of pressure from consumers. The narrative approach to the research is likely to mean that the final results, arguments and conclusion are likely to be more open and interpretive than under more closed ended approaches to the research.
This will thus mean that there will be no concrete ‘answer’ to come from this research, something which is probably to be expected given the contextual and diverse nature Of CARS and business ethics. However, the general learning points produced by this research will still be of value to individuals and businesses looking to better understand CARS and business ethics in the context of large corporations, allowing for the development of newer approaches to the concepts in the future.
Chapter 2 – Literature Review This aspect of the research report will provide more detail about the information that has been gathered in order to address the research questions, as well as the accounting and business techniques that have been applied to this information. 2. 2 Data Sources One of the main sources of information from which relevant data has been obtained is from the available academic journal databases such as OBESE, Emerald and Athens.
These databases provide access to a wide range of contemporary theoretical and empirical work in the area, including academic journals but also market reports and some trade publications and magazine articles. As such, they provide a wealth of information upon which to base the analysis and to address the research objectives and questions discussed above. As this information has usually been researched and written by academics or respected professionals, and has been peer reviewed and / or edited, it is likely to be of the highest academic and empirical quality.
As such, it provides a sound base for understanding the theoretical nature of CARS and business ethics and how this will relate to the case of Nikkei. Another critical source of information has been the Nikkei annual reports and Nikkei CARS reports. These reports are highly valuable as they are provided by Nikkei itself, and thus represent the company’s own efforts to put across its CARS and business ethics initiatives to individuals, businesses and analysts ho will be the ones putting the main pressure on the company to behave in an ethical manner.
In addition to this, many of the company’s reports, particularly the annual report, will be audited before being released. As such, this provides a further level of assurance to the quality of the information that these reports contain, and helps the researcher to be sure that they are only using information that is accurate and as free from bias as possible. In addition to this, newspaper and magazine articles from respected publications have also been collected and analyses, as they add another liable perspective to the analysis. . 3 Methods used to collect Information By far and away the main method used to collect information was to use online access to relevant articles and other media. The main form of online access, as discussed above, was online access to the various academic journal databases that contain information of value to the study. Specifically, those databases that contain the highest proportion of high quality peer reviewed journals.
Online access to these journals was chosen because it offers the quickest way to methodologically search through the vast amounts of available data in order to find the most relevant data that can be best used in the completion of the research project. In addition to this, the process of accessing the information online also allows the researcher to compare and cross check the various data sources uncovered quickly and easily in order to ensure validity, as well as to look for other sources that are strongly related to the sources already uncovered.
The other main form of online access was searches using the ‘Google’ search engine. These searches were used to access information and data such as the Nikkei annual report, and reports on the company and its operations from swappers and magazines that also publish their reports and articles online. The other main form of data gathering was to use library reference sources. This form of data gathering was often used in concert with online access, with the online searches being used to locate the names of important references which were not available in digital form.
These references and other data sources were then found in the library. The main limitation of this information gathering approach is that the lack of primary research means it is difficult to examine all areas of CARS and business ethics at Nikkei. As a result of this limitation, the research will be restricted to the aspects of CARS at Nikkei that have already been investigated, or are publicized by the company.
This Will mean that the research will necessarily be focused on the more overt and obvious CARS issues such as the use of sweatshop labor and other human resource and supply chain related issues. This may mean that some important CARS considerations are missed by the research, leading to a lack of completeness. However, the relatively low word count afforded to this project means that it would be logistically impossible to examine all aspects of CARS and business ethics at Nikkei to a reasonable degree of depth.
As such, this limitation to the information gathering should not harm the overall value and effectiveness of the piece, particularly as the areas of CARS and business ethics which have been analyses or publicized are likely to be the ones that are of greatest importance any. N. Way. The other main limitation of the research is that the focus on secondary research is likely to mean that the research perspective and the breadth that the research is able to achieve will both be strongly influenced by the respective and scope of the secondary research.
As such, there is the potential for bias to be introduced into the research depending on what the authors of the secondary data believed to be most accurate. This limitation may affect the overall value and validity of the work, however as the data to be used will most be from respected academic journals and publications this bias should hopefully be avoided to as great an extent as is possible. In addition, the use of multiple sources should make it possible to avoid or mitigate any bias that may be inherent in any given source. 2. 5 Research Ethics
As the research report only uses secondary data sources and did not involve any interaction with staff within the chosen organization, there were relatively few ethical issues encountered during the information gathering. The main ethical issue that arose was how to be sure that the information that was being used was being used with the implied consent of the authors. In the case of biblically available information such as the annual report for Nikkei this implied consent can be taken to be automatic, as the purpose of the annual report is to inform individuals about the company.
However, in the case of academic journals, newspapers and magazines the consent is less obvious, as these are produced and often sold for profit. As such, there was a potential ethical consideration involved in the use of these works. This ethical issue was overcome by ensuring that any academic journal articles used were from journals that explicitly allow individuals to use said articles for their own private purposes.
In addition, newspaper and magazine articles were only used if they were freely available either on the internet or in libraries, to ensure that no ethical or copyright issues emerged from the use Of any paid for content. 2. Research Techniques The main business research technique that was used in this piece was the literature review. A literature review is a business technique that is used to coalesce the most important and relevant research on a given subject into a single coherent body of text that demonstrates how this research relates to a given issue or specific research area.
The literature review is thus an ideal technique to use in this instance as it relies purely on secondary sources, and thus supports the secondary research approach used in this work. The literature review is also often used as a supporting aspect of the research, seed to help place a given research issue or situation into context, allowing for a more complete understanding of the other research data.
As such, it is again ideal for this research project as it will help use the academic literature in the area to provide insight and understanding that will help illuminate the nature of CARS and business ethics at Nikkei. The main limitation of the literature review is that it can only review the existing literature, in the aim of providing a comprehensive overview of the previous research on the topic, and hence it does not provide any independent research or insight of its own.
The other technique that will be used is comparative analysis. Comparative analysis is a technique used to compare and contrast different sources and viewpoints in order to determine which source or viewpoint is the most pervasive. This technique was used in this piece in order to compare the theoretical predictions and arguments found in the literature with the empirical and practical nature of CARS and business ethics at Nikkei as seen from the reports on the company.
Comparative analysis is very useful for this purpose, as it allows an individual to focus on the similarities and differences hat are observed in the two things to be compared, and turn them into a coherent and meaningful argument regarding the two things. This approach is based on the creation of a solid frame of reference for each thing to be compared, and the consideration of how the other thing looks when viewed from the other frame of reference. This will then allow for the creation and discussion of links which will help bring the similarities and differences into sharper focus.
The limitation of this approach is that it restricts the analysis to focusing only on similarities and differences, however as this research is armorial interested in these aspects of Nine’s CARS and business ethics approach this limitation is overcome by the context of the work itself. Chapter 3 Research Findings The results which have been obtained from the secondary research are divided into three main sections. The first set of results come from the academic literature, and concerns the theoretical and empirical approaches to CARS and ethical corporate behavior.
The second set of results comes from the academic and trade literature on the CARS and ethical behavior practiced by Nikkei and consumer responses to this behavior. The third set of results comes from the reports and accounts of Nikkei and discusses the company’s own specific approach to CARS. The combination of these three sets of results, and the use of comparative analysis to triangulate the three, should provide the necessary insight to address the research questions discussed in Part 1 3. Corporate Social Responsibility The various types and theories of CARS are all relatively interconnected, in that they can all be seen as some form of response to the neoclassical theory of the market that has dominated much of business thinking (Dubbing 2004, p. 23). Specifically, the notion of CARS is a fundamental contradiction of the neoclassical theory of the market, due to the different normative views of CARS and neoclassical economics.
Economics holds that decisions should be based purely on economic considerations, with no consideration of social norms, whilst CARS claims that decisions must be made in light of these social norms. This divergence was the main reason for the birth of CARS, as well as the main reason for divergence in theories. Specifically, some Of the CARS theories ‘
erve focused on replacing the neoclassical model of the harmonic and responsive arrest with the notion of the market being a fragile system, whilst others maintained the harmonic model, but incorporated other theories around how it responded to different factors” (Dubbing, 2004, p. 3). The types and theories of CARS fit into four main groups. The first group is made up of the instrumental theories, which focus on the use of CARS to create wealth, and Friedman’s (1970) claim that CARS should only be used to maximize profits by addressing customer concerns. The second group is made up of the political theories, which focus on the power that corporations old as production and distribution units in society, and how this power can be used responsibly.
This in turn links to the concept of CARS as the process of taking responsibility for certain concerns that are strongly linked to the corporation. The third group is the integrative theories, which imply that companies must focus on satisfying social demands to a certain extent in order to justify their existence, thus focusing primarily on the major stakeholders of a company. The fourth group is the ethical theories, which argue that companies have absolute ethical responsibilities to the societies ND groups that support them, and thus must behave ethically.
Much Of the literature and models are focused on the integrative theories, specifically stakeholder theory, but also on the ethical theories (Garcia and Mel, 2004). Stakeholder theory is primarily focused on the need for businesses to respond to the CARS expectations of their stakeholders, including their customers, employees, government, suppliers and other related parties. This theory of CARS holds that the company and its managers should proactively engage in dialogue with the company’s numerous stakeholders, and determine the most important CARS priorities of said stakeholders.
This dialogue can then be used to determine what practices the company should adopt, depending on the weighted priorities of the company’s stakeholder groups (Radioman and Fairness, 2008). The other main group of CARS theories is the ethical theories of CARS. These theories are more focused on the objective nature of corporate social responsibility, specifically the need for firms to behave in an absolutely ethical manner, rather than simply following stakeholder requirements.
This set of theories is useful for helping businesses to create an objective view of the various social and ethical halogens that they face, and also to integrate their social responsibilities into their other corporate responsibilities such as profit and shareholder value mastication (Mask, 2008). However, as this approach does not focus on stakeholders, it is often seen to be of limited value to corporations due to the lack of direct stakeholder related benefits.
Campbell (2007) discussed one final approach to CARS, termed the institutional theory Of corporate social responsibility. This theory indicates that corporate behavior is mediated by several institutional conditions: public and private exultation, the presence of nongovernmental and other independent organizations that monitor corporate behavior, institutionalized norms regarding appropriate corporate behavior, associative behavior among corporations themselves, and organized dialogues among corporations and their stakeholders” (Campbell, 2007, p. 46). This thus implies that both the stakeholder and ethical theories will influence actual CARS activities, along with various other factors including regulation and monitoring by external organizations. The other important theoretical consideration in this area is the generation based theory of corporate ethics. Under this theory, organizations initially engage in first generation ethics, which focus on ensuring that their behavior is legally acceptable and does not contravene any laws or regulations mandating ethical behavior.
Once this is achieve, they focus on second generation ethics, which are focused on meeting the ethical expectations of stakeholder groups who have direct interests in the company’s actions. Finally, the adapt third generation ethics which are based on rising above the profit motive and the local corporate environment in order to behave in a responsible and ethical manner with regards to the argue interconnected environment (Stool, 2009). As such, this theory again focuses on the stakeholder and ethical theories, with stakeholder CARS representing a second generation approach to ethics.