Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility in Driving Organizational Success for Multinational Companies in Oil/Mining Industry
ROYAL MELBOURNE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AND LAW ETHICS AND CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN DRIVING ORGANIZATIONAL SUCCESS FOR MULTINATIONAL COMPANIES IN OIL/MINING INDUSTRY Submitted in partial fulfillment of the degrees Masters in Business Administration Lecturer: Eileen O’Leary 2010 By: Albertus Rendy Buntaran (S3264165) Executive Summary This paper provides a broad definition of ethical behavior and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the competitive world of oil and mining industries of today.
It is also acknowledged that factors behind both ethics and CSR are evolving and therefore, the factors for both ethics and CSR are defined for three different periods. The first period will focus on early 2000 when Enron failed and caused major shift in the world of ethics, during this period, the main factor is commitment and that was the only thing. Commitment for ethical conducts and CSR came with minor implementation. The second period is in present times, where ethics and CSR have already taken place in most of oil and mining corporations.
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The establishment of Global Reporting Initiative has defined the standardized framework for reporting. Moreover, corporations start to involved in their commitment. Many corporations are extensively using their ethics and CSR concepts as the basis in driving their organizational success. The future is yet to be challenging as the concept of sustainable development emerged as the new goal in relation with CSR and ethics. Each factor is presented with in depth discussion and evaluation to see how it drives organizational success.
There are also some study cases included to see how the output of discussion and evaluation applied in the practical world. ii Table of Contents ROYAL MELBOURNE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY…………………………………………………. 1 GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AND LAW……………………………………………………………… 1 ETHICS AND CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN DRIVING ORGANIZATIONAL SUCCESS FOR MULTINATIONAL COMPANIES IN OIL/MINING INDUSTRY……………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… II TABLE OF CONTENTS……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
III INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1 iii Introduction In today’s world of oil and mining industries, many corporations are striving to be more ethical and socially responsible. Initiated by the Enron scandal in 2001 and the rising concern for the environment in both past and present situation, many more companies worldwide now acknowledge the importance of ethical practices and CSR as part of their business operations to reach organizational success.
Although movements towards both subjects are getting better, the factor behind it changes as the business world evolves from one stage to another. While corporations are intensively trying to improve its viability and accountability, another challenge for the future is already waiting ahead toward the sustainable ethical operations and CSR programs. Furthermore, there is already established reporting standards and methods to assists corporations such as Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) reporting framework.
However, a critical supporting factor that used to be forgotten which is leadership is also needed in order to ensure that efforts being performed by those corporations are happening not because they are being pushed to do that, but rather because it is what they as a corporation wants, integrated as a part of its system. 1 Aim This paper aims to assess the factors of ethical practice and adoption of CSR in driving organizational success for multinational companies in oil and mining industries during the past in early 2000, current situation and overlook how these will be in the future. Factors Nowadays, the more appropriate question needs to be answered is no longer to what extent should a corporation include the society in their business operation but how to do it and use it as the river for organizational success (Epstein et al, 2006). In recent years, ethics and social responsibility have been playing an important role in the business world including in oil and mining industries. The pressure towards society and ethical conducts are higher than ever.
Although every oil and mining multinational corporations economic missions are acknowledged, it is now their responsibility also to address public concerns. Oil and mining industries are known as the subject of scrutiny and bad press related with ethics and CSR concerns (Lins & Horwitz, 2007). The interest on CSR and ethics are always fore-fronted to the mining and oil corporations (Kapelus, 2009). The idea was developed since a long time ago, where multinational corporations are demanded to provide community development packages and assistance to their host communities (Amaewhule, 1997).
Every business person, regardless their position in the hierarchy, company geographic details or even its products and services are now facing the same challenge which is how to define their corporation role for the society. Many corporation scandals that took place during 2000 period have changed the whole shape of business ethics in a very significant ways. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been going around the business communities for a long time. The concept, strategies, implementation and output have been discussed in the past few years.
Oil and mining multinational corporations have been pressured to take into account the effect of their operations to the society surrounding. In present situation, corporations are now challenged on how to combine society issues into their system while at the same time also needs to keep their conducts ethical in everyone perspectives. The factor behind both ethics and CSR are also varying as time moves on. In the past, ethics has been discovered as a commitment, where nowadays it is assumed that most corporations are involved putting their commitment into reality.
The future factor will concentrate over the concept of sustainable development which surfaced in 1980s (Mitchell, 2009). To further understand the dimensions of sustainable development concepts, Dr. Walter Wehrmeyer (2000) developed what is called as “Sustainability Triangle” which clearly provides bird’s eye view on how the concept correlates with other environments. 3 Figure 1. 0 Sustainability Triangle Source : Corporate Social Responsibility in 2000 by Dr. Walter Wehrmeyer In the globalization era, oil and mining corporations are arguably if not the most profitable sectors in the worldwide market nowadays.
Big corporations such as Enron, Exxon, BP and BHP Billiton are all experienced with both ethics and CSR issues. In historical perspective, CSR concepts can be traced for a long time ago but since it was unwritten, it was not formally recognized until the twentieth century through the works such as Chester Barnard’s The Functions of the Executive in 1938, J. M. Clark’s Social Control of Business in 1939, and Theodore Kreps’s Measurement of the Social Performance of Business in 1940 (Epstein et al, 2006). Furthermore, the concept of business ethics could even traced back further into the religious period. Since their inception, the world’s great religions have been preaching the need for ethics in business” (Mitchell, 2009). Moreover, the concept can be traced back into the past where it can then be proven through the warning against greasing the wheels with cash, states: “Thou shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the officials and subverts the cause of those who are in the right” (Exodus 23: 6-8). In people perspective, oil and, mining companies are somewhat a potential cause of major environmental and social 4 issues.
Production wastes that are not managed well can destroy the surrounding environment and eventually lead to social problems. There are events that have proven how multinational oil and mining companies faced problems because of their lack of care to the environment. However, during the 2000 era, such consciousness was not high enough. Most companies know how important both CSR and ethics were, but their commitment were not followed by involvement and any action. Take Newmont Nusa Tenggara (NNT) in Indonesia as an example.
In 2002, the corporation was accused to be involved in an attack designated to a group of women who studied the ethical conducts and environment impacts of their business operations (Welker, 2009). It was clear that during the past, corporations still think that neither ethics nor CSR are important factors that were beneficial to their success. During this period, there was nothing more could be expected from the corporations rather than just a commitment which was written as a policy but not really done as an action.
In the current situation, many corporations have been involved in both ethics and CSR conducts. They started to realize that as the world becoming more modern, concerns for both ethics and CSR are inevitable and rather than just another commitment, it must be implemented. If we ever visited every or some major oil and mining multinational corporations’ websites nowadays, we can easily find a dedicated section that reports their concerns for society and act of ethical conduct.
BP, Exxon, Shell and even developing countries corporations such as Malaysian Petronas or Indonesian Pertamina are providing reports related with their social activities. Ethical conducts are also being embraced after the fall of Enron in 2001 where Enron’s image was in tatters and its stock price had plummeted nearly to zero (Healy & Palepu, 2003). In the world of globalization, governments all over all the world have put in place the regulation that ensure every oil and mining corporations to have an ethical conduct and social responsibility program.
However, we all need to always take into account that government is no longer as strong as it is. Nowadays, more than 50% of 100 leading corporations are private rather than state-owned (Bomann-Larsen & Oddny, 2004). This means that involvement from each corporation will play an important role to define the organizational success both internal and external rather than depending on governments because states are no longer central players in the business world. Implementing ethical operations and CSR are beneficial if they can get more involved rather than just a commitment.
This hypothesis is strengthened by the fact that nowadays “entire executive team are expected to become actively involved in the community as part of their leadership 5 development where it helps build a vibrant company where people can feel good about what they do and where they live” (Wright et al, 2008). Though it is difficult to find any evidence that CSR and ethics have really put many oil and mining corporations into a larger success level, it has been discussed that the connections between both concepts with organizational success are actually exists.
Mitchell (2009), stated that “Finding a solid, clearly-defined direct link between ethical behavior and increased profits or shareholder value is the Holy Grail of academic research on the subject but companies that make a clear commitment to ethics in their annual reports have a higher share value than competitors that do not”. Does this mean all of oil and mining corporations with high stock price and profits already on the right direction to meet its social expectations not to mention also being ethical in their business operations?
There has been no definitive answer to this question, but nor oil neither mining corporations can survive without support from the local community and therefore it is important factor to achieve organizational success. The upcoming future of both ethics and CSR in oil and mining industries is yet to come. The next development goal is already defined which is to achieve sustainable development. Sustainable development is defined as “a balanced approach for organizations to address economic, social and environment issues in a way that aims to benefit people, communities and society” (WCED, 1987).
Moreover, defined future goal is not seen enough, there are options on how sustainability should be, corporations may not always looking for a strong one, they always have an option to go for a weak sustainability, which is easier to achieved. Oil and mining corporations are the main players of these concepts because their businesses focus on natural capital. “Natural capital is believed as the center of sustainability as many components of natural capital are living beings or results of life, like coal or crude oil” (Ott, 2003).
The movement towards the goal has started from early 2000 when Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), an organization with network based members. GRI provides the internationally recognized reports guidelines for sustainability development and currently is the most developed. “Sustainability reporting has become critical for companies. It is important for companies to build the trust and confidence of its stakeholders and it is expected of companies today to report on the sustainability issues pertinent to its business” (Hill, 2007).
Although the idea was already established a long time ago, based on the GRI Reports List (2010), only Kingsgate as the mining industry representative and Woodside Petroleum as the oil industry representative that are included in the list. Based on the research 6 done by Australian Center for Corporate Social Responsibility (ACCSR), oil industry scored lower on their CSR capabilities in 2009 compared to 2008, while mining industries are able to get higher score in 2009 compared to the previous year (ACCSR , 2009).
These facts show that the involvement of many multinational corporations in their ethics and CSR programs are simply not enough. John Elkington (1994) introduced what is now known as the Triple Bottom Line (TBL). The concept suggested that “By preparing and disseminating TBL statements, an organization conveys an image of concern and sensitivity to the three dimensions of societal responsibility: economic, environmental, and social” (Brown et al, 2006). The TBL framework is also being endorsed by GRI as the basis of sustainability development. However, none of the aforementioned concepts matter when strong leadership is missing.
The realizations of any concepts are always in need for a strong leadership not only from business side but also regulatory side. The leadership is a very important key factor, GRI has also calls on governments to take leadership by requiring all corporations to comply with the sustainability reporting framework (GRI, 2009). In terms of an example, Indonesian Government is one of the best examples in the world. In 2007, Indonesia took an initial step to make CSR Reporting compulsory and must be implemented in three months time to proof that the plan is operable (Kiroyan, 2007).
These rules are included in a law passed by the legislation. During that time, Indonesia is the only government in the world to have such regulation and soon followed by other nations. In the globalization era and the pressure from society are high, this is where a leader comes in. The businesses most likely to succeed are whose leader able to incorporate values into their decision making and execution process, seek to balance conflicting interests and concerns (Palazzi & Starcher, 2006). Enron fall in 2001 is a sample where a corporation lacks of leadership.
The idea of leadership as the basis of both ethics and CSR has been misunderstood as the ability to direct people into a particular direction. However, this view is not entirely right, rather than pushing the people or employees into doing the right thing, leadership is about make people want to do the right thing, in the right way. A lot of oil and mining corporations are now struggling to empower this into their system. Because achieving sustainability development is not targeted for the leaders, but also all employees and other stakeholders.
Effective leadership that distributed throughout the entire corporations system created leadership cultures are self-sustaining (Painter-Morland, 2008). This challenge is also applied to any other corporations in the 7 world, because ethics and CSR are so abstract, it is impossible to narrow the applicability of it into just the mining and oil industries. In short summary, the variation of factors that contribute to the development of ethics and CSR are not mutually excursive. They should be combined to reach the maximum effort. When are the corporations expected to have successfully implemented the sustainable development?
American Management Association (2007) believes that the movement will reach will eventually start to reach its peak on 2017 given the current condition. In current situation, “the growth of social and environmental costs and corporate managers’ recognition that they need to better manage corporate social and environmental impacts have dramatically increased the demand for both internal and external social and environmental reports” (Epstein & Marc, 2008). The future does not want another Exxon-Valdez incident, where unethical and irresponsibility incident happened.
Furthermore, that incident was a result of their lack of leadership, one absolute factor that almost every executive fail to address and recognize. The Enron executives used the five mechanisms to reinforce a culture that was morally flexible, opening the door to ethics degeneration, lying, cheating, and stealing (Sims, 2003). In hope of a better future, oil and mining corporations are now striving to reach the sustainability. Moreover, they also should never ignore that strong leadership is always an important basis to reach that goal.
Incorporate both the act of ethical operations and excellent CSR program with good leadership together, it is not impossible to reach the goal. 8 Conclusion On the whole, it can be concluded that factors of both ethics and CSR in three different periods are changing but not mutually exclusive. During the early millennium era which was in 2000, ethics and CSR main factor was commitment. In that period, most oil and mining corporations are already had a commitment about both subjects, but the fall of Enron showed that there was nothing more than just a commitment.
Corporations never really put into account how important ethical conducts and CSR in driving their organizational success. In current period, we have seen a better involvement of corporations in the implementation of their ethics and CSR programs. They started to adopt the GRI standard report format to keep the public informed of their activities. The challenge for the future is already started from a long time ago, which goal is to reach sustainability. While the oil and mining corporations are developing into reaching the goal, there is another supporting factor that plays an important role which is strong leadership.
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