Dowling D. (2001) stress the fact that social responsibility often helps to prevent or at least “smooth” the negative effects of scandals that could damage the image and reputation of the company. This is especially important for companies which own expensive retail brands, as they often become targets of attacks in the press, of various kinds of activists, environmentalists and consumer advocates. (Dowling D., 2001)
It is important to note that the image can be both external (perceptions and attitudes of society, customers, partners) and internal. In building an internal image, the determining factor is the opinion of organization’s employees, which work directly to ensure the organization’s activities, creation of products and services.
In the framework of social policy, the internal image is formed in the following areas:
– social guarantees to the employees;
– safety of working conditions of employees;
– opportunities for professional development;
– health care protection of employees (especially in hazardous industries);
– delegation of the company’s employees. (Segal 2002)
The greatest impact internal social responsibility programs have on the growth of employees’ motivation and loyalty, as well increase of the company’s attractiveness
as an employer.
Morsing M. and Schultz M. (2006) argue that the external image of the company is related to specific relationship of the various target groups. In implementing its social policy the company interacts with the following stakeholders:
1. Public (municipal) institutions that interact with the organization in the political, legal, economic and other spheres macro-environment. The social policy of the company with respect to the state is defined by the following principles:
– Compliance with legislation
– Creation of new jobs
– Support for the principles of corporate citizenship
– Support for socially important institutions, classes of the society, etc.
2. Shareholders and investors. The most important factors for this group of stakeholders are:
– Reliability, that is economic, social and environmental sustainability of production.
– Transparency of the company. The guarantee of transparency for investors is publication of corporate social report.
3. Customers, who give their resources in exchange for a product offered by the organization to meet their material needs and also the need for involvement in any decision of social problems. Some consumers try to learn about the level of responsibility of the company before making purchases.
4. Business community and business partners of the organizations, which have formal and informal business relationships, provide commercial and noncommercial services to the organization and receive similar services from it. Here the formation of the image of a socially responsible company depends on the implementation of good business practices, and compliance with the declaration of the highest professional standards and ethics activities.
5. The local community, which interacts with the organization, and is associated primarily with the formation of social and ecological environment of the organization. This area of socially responsible policy includes not only large-scale environmental programs (for example, of various companies operating in the mining and other hazardous industrial areas). But many organizations involve their employees in different social activities and social projects, that also help to form a favorable image of the organization in the eyes of the community. (Visser et al., 2004)
While formation the image through the mechanisms of social responsibility, it is necessary to keep in mind that the internal and external image of the company are connected – it is impossible to build a favorable external image with a negative internal and vice versa.
Social responsibility of business, that is understanding of its impact – social, ethical, and relating to pollution of the environment – is becoming an increasingly important issue for many companies. In order to operate successfully, to stay competitive, companies must be socially responsible. It is necessary above all to create and maintain a positive image with customers, partners, staff and community. For tat purposes organizations in the 21st century pay much attention to and invest in social projects, which can take the form of charity, philanthropy, social marketing programs, sponsorships, etc. Despite the fact that each concept has its own peculiarities, it can be said that all these concepts deal with social help. Such activities not only benefit the society, but actually help to improve the company’s image, that affects its financial results.
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