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Corporate social responsibility can be determined to be a business approach which enables to contribute towards sustainable development by delivering social, environmental and economic benefits for all stakeholders. In other words, focus of companies is required to be made on supporting companies to grow in positive direction (Arjaliès and Mundy, 2013). Mark and Spencer are taken into consideration. This is type of firm that aims at delivering their customers with high quality services. This report covers exploration for CSR in different organizational and national contexts focusing on six core characteristics. Further, it covers strategic approaches that are used by cited firm in fulfilling their community responsibilities.
2.1 Mark and Spencer
Mark and Spencer is one of the major British multinational retailer that headquartered at London. It was founded in the year 1884 by Thomas Spencer and Sir Michael Marks. Currently there are about 979 stores in UK which consists of 615 stores that only sell food products.
It was from the year 2003 when Mark and Spencer started up their CSR activities. Further, they have laid their focus on business sense in order to do the things right. Thus, they have shown high value and standard and prices for their products. However, the main focus made by cited firm is on raising the customer base and meeting out their requirements. As per the plan developed by cited firm, they invest £200 for over 5 years span.
3.0 Theories and Frameworks
3.1 Core Characteristics of CSR
Core characteristics of CSR are considered to be important feature for the companies to apply them. There are 6 of the characteristics and they are as follows:
Voluntary: For a company the CSR is determined to be the set of initiatives that are taken by companies (Lindgreen and Swaen, 2010). This is a type of option that is provided by government in which it depends on the preferences of companies to make use of CSR or not use them. It was from the 2003 when Mark and Spencer started implementing various strategies related with CSR.
Internalizing: This refers various type of factors that has impact on different stakeholders who are not directly taken care of for decision making. Through regulations, firms like M&S can internalize the cost like pollution fines. It is essential to manage externalities so that the activities decided on CSR can be carried out.
Multiple stakeholder orientation: Consideration requires to be made on identifying the people who will be involved in the business operations so that the set goals and objectives can be attained (Pohl and Tolhurst, 2010).
Alignment of social and economic responsibilities: These are the narrow focus which is made on profitability and shareholders. There are people who believe that this may not arise but considerations is required to be made for conflicts with profitability.
Practices and values: Apart from being a business activities, it is also known to be values and practices. These are helpful enough to raise the living standards and in providing people with the support to overcome their issues in positive manner.
Beyond philanthropy: There are many companies in which CSR is mainly about philanthropy (Arli and Lasmono, 2010). For example, discretionary responsibilities or voluntarism towards general public.
3.2 Carroll’s Pyramid of CSR
Carroll’s, it is the type of model that consists of multi layered concepts. In accordance with the Mark and Spencer, below given is the use of his model done:
Philanthropic responsibilities: These are desired by corporations that are being required or expectation. This makes them less important when it is compared with three other categories (Gifford, Kestler and Anand, 2010). Cited firm has taken up steps through which they can save the society and that is done by providing energy.
An ethical responsibilities: It is determined to be the expectations that local people have. Especially for those which are over and above, this does not have legal or economic expectations.
Economic responsibilities: This consists of stakeholders and workers who are interested in return on investment and they get effective job. M&S make sure that all the activities are carried out legally.
Legal and economic responsibilities: It is important for all the organizations to follow them in appropriate manner (De Chiara and Russo Spena, 2011).
3.3 Stakeholder Theory
To great extent use of stakeholder’s theory was implemented by Mark and Spencer so as to make use of CSR. However, one of the issue faced was related with long term strategy. For example, to analyse whether the audience decided on are too old. Further, it can also be stated that Carroll’s four part model that is used by Mark and Spencer can reason out that retailer has made sure that they hold on Stakeholder Theory Approach in CSR (Rangan, Chase and Karim, 2015). There are huge numbers of investors and this also includes people who purchase shares. As the main focus of the business is to gain profit, this can be done by considering the basic fundamentals like assessing, administering play and analysing. These are highly effective enough to attain the set goals in appropriate manner.
3.4 Three-Domain Model of CSR
As per this model there are three domain that are required to be followed by Mark and Spencer. In this context, it includes economic, legal and ethical. All these aspects are highly important that are needed to be focused on (Barin Cruz, Boehe and Ogasavara, 2015). When talking about Mark and Spencer, they make sure that proper steps are taken so that they are able to focus on the business and strategies are developed with the help of which the rate of activities that are developed can be attained. All type of ethical considerations is made in which appropriate information is conveyed to all the people who are involved. Further, economic aspects need to be focused on. When these are done, then it enables to develop strategies with the help of which the goals can be attained. Lastly, Mark and Spencer legal aspects so that customers may not develop any type of negative impact.
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4.0 CSR Strategies of M&S
There is different type of strategies that are implemented by Mark and Spencer for implementation of CSR activities. With this respect, below given are different aspects for which consideration is made:
For social responsibilities, it is required for Mark and Spencer to focus on the areas that will be suitable enough to make the business to support the environment. With this respect, as per the type of strategies that are applied, cited firm make use of recycling so that the products can be reused (García‐Rodríguez, García‐Rodríguez and Major, 2013). In this context, main focus of the business is made on reducing the wastage and for this process, they reuse of the materials. Cited firm identified that the products used for selling consists of packages that are enable to protect them can be used again with the help of recycling. In this context, European Union legislation is responsible to make sure that certain cost that is involved for recycling is taken up by them. It was from the year 1997 when these type of legislation was introduced. Another type of areas in which reduction in waste is done from optimum use of resources. In order to make a product finished one, there are requirement of strategies and that is make use of new or updated technology so that they are able to make optimum use of materials (Sharp and Zaidman, 2010). However, it becomes difficult to do so when the total budget set of low. In this process, it is require to make sure that proper planning is made so that the strategies can be used in effective manner.
There are different types of services that are delivered and these are done so that appropriate support can be provided to community. With this respect, one of the care provided is by delivering free treatment to women with breast cancer (Dul, Bruder and van der Doelen, 2012). More specifically, it is raised up to £1.5m. There are many people who are facing such type of health related problem but with the help of services that are provided by Mark and Spencer are highly effective to support the community and its people. There is focus that is need to be made by cited firm for their strategies for making their set goals to be attained. With this respect, management of the firm focus on identifying professionals who can provide these type of care. Further, people who are in need of such support are analysed. This way, it becomes favourable enough to make sure that all the patients can overcome the problems in appropriate manner. Further, management of budget is done as there are high costs involved (Jamali and Neville, 2011). When plan for cost is not made in effective manner for budget, then it affects the image that is developed by people. In addition to this, proper coordination is required to be made with government so that they are able to interact with the community with aim to overcome the condition.
With the business environment, there are many departments that work with an aim to make sure that they are able to achieve the desired goals and objectives. There are many employees who work with an aim to support the firm to grow (Harmon, Demirkan and Reinoso, 2010). In this context, management monitor their employees and the areas in which development is required to be made are identified. In accordance with the findings made, proper training is provided so that they can perform the set of roles in appropriate manner. In context, with the CSR, there are many activities involved, then employees are not able to attain them, then it causes serious problem for the grow CSR activities. Another type of strategy that is applied by the cited firm is by providing workers with rewards. In order to perform any type of activities, it is required to have willingness or interest to perform them. When these are not there, then it causes serious issue for the business. The rate of support provided will not be effective enough to attain them. In addition to this, Mark and Spencer has made CSR as their own different type of business in which employees are hired who have proper knowledge and understanding about it (Groza, Pronschinske and Walker, 2011). These are type of strategies that enables to make the business attain their goals and objectives in appropriate manner.
- Steps for developing a sustainable CSR strategy:
- Marks and Spencer can implement following to develop a sustaining CSR strategy
- Defining Company's message
- There should not be blindly striking on different goals and investing in it. Marks and Spencer should come up with reasons that can match the business culture of it, researching on the kind of support they might be requiring and select among them. One should not felt pressurized for donating more funding or assistance as compared to your affordability.
- Focusing on CSR Choices
- Focusing on CSR choices includes concentrating on the efforts created due to CSR activities as resources and management of time is limited therefore opportunities will develop when Marks and Spencer will be able to interact and create an impact on society which would help the company to gain mutual benefits. They should develop an understanding of the generated benefits and their potential values.
- Implementing with consistency and determination
- There are two principles which Marks and Spencer needs to follow which includes going with a long term commitment which not only creates a positive impact on various social issues but also helps to set minds of leaders who are interested for partnership. The initiate should reflect some added values to shareholders as well as stakeholders. Company can be engaged in the entire workforce and could lead by providing examples which motivates employees and also helps in attracting and also retaining many talents.
- Partner with a third party
- Marks and Spencer should form an alliance with other non-profitable organisation which would not only provide credibility to the efforts but also let to get benefited from that particular organisation in raising funds and other philanthropy. This alliance would also provide an opportunity for blending customers and networks.
- Also these strategies can be enhanced by adopting following aspects:
- Practice of transparency
- Instead of trying to hide and divert the attention from the way of performing business one must show their social responsibilities. Being honest and transparent can help in earning the trust for the practices performed by Marks and Spencer.
- Active Role
- Improving the social responsibilities of corporate means Marks and Spencer has to adopt a mindset which is dual in nature as it they might be able to think about global impact along with their company's decision making. One focuses on the immediate surroundings and plays an active role in the local community.
- Supporting Local Communities
- It should not only participate in community's events and other activities but also should become a supporter of these local communities. They should try to purchase raw materials from locals and search for the opportunities that would lead to help these communities in local business.
- Understanding the responsibility
- Marks and Spencer should genuinely understand that the corporate social responsibility will not rely upon its workers for providing energy that motivates for conducting responsible practices and activities, therefore the major responsibilities are led by the top management of the company which motivates other lower employees to move ahead and start practicing these activities for the company.
From the report, it can be stated that companies understand the importance of making use of corporate social responsibilities. There are different types of options that are provided by government so that firm support the society to grow. Further, perception that is developed by individuals or customers is also focused. When it is negative, then it has negative impact over the business. With the help of CSR, management is able to make customers involved in the operations and in raising the sales and profitability. In addition to this, there are different types of activities that are carried out and for each of them it requires to have proper support from the side of workers so that they put on their full efforts and set goals can be attained.
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- Arli, D. I. and Lasmono, H. K., 2010. Consumers' perception of corporate social responsibility in a developing country. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 34(1), pp.46-51.
- Barin Cruz, L., Boehe, D. M. and Ogasavara, M. H., 2015. CSR-based differentiation strategy of export firms from developing countries: An exploratory study of the strategy tripod. Business & Society, 54(6), pp.723-762.
- De Chiara, A. and Russo Spena, T., 2011. CSR strategy in multinational firms: focus on human resources, suppliers and community. Journal of Global Responsibility, 2(1), pp.60-74.
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- Lindgreen, A. and Swaen, V., 2010. Corporate social responsibility. International Journal of Management Reviews, 12(1), pp.1-7.