Social responsibility is a new trend that expects of companies to give back to society and show concern about their surrounding environment.
Social responsibility occurs when a business entity acts in the best interest of society. This acts to enhance balance between corporate citizenship and attainment of profits (Kotler & Lee 2005). Social responsibility affects all business practices whether it is in marketing, human resource management, auditing, procurement and so on.
Most people combine the practice of social responsibility with ethical behavior and to an extent, there is some correlation. A company that is socially responsible attains good image and perception from outsiders and is likely to enjoy goodwill. The opposite is true for companies that are not socially responsible. In this paper, I will discuss the relationship between Microsoft Corporation and the society with a bias on how well or not Microsoft Company practices social responsibility.Company profileMicrosoft Company is a Multinational Company based whose headquarters’ are based in Redmond, Washington. USA. This company deals in computer technology and precisely developing, manufacturing, licensing and supporting computer software for various computer devices.
The core products for Microsoft Company are the Microsoft windows operating systems and Microsoft office suite, which have place in almost all PCs world wide. In 2003/2006 the Microsoft’s share in the home computer operating system market was 90% and this share is deemed to increase according to Bill Gates, the founder of the company. The major stake holders of Microsoft Company are the employees, the shareholders, its customers, its suppliers and the community around them.One would be curious to find out how a huge company practices corporate citizenship.
Browsing the Microsoft webpage one gets a glimpse of what concerns Microsoft social responsibility, for instance, its core mission; ‘to combine innovative technology, partnerships and programs to create economic, education and social opportunities in local communities worldwide and to help foster a more secure computing experience for people everywhere (Microsoft, 2007). Microsoft’s effort to achieve this goal is seen in the various products in the market, which improves quality of people work by increasing efficiency and speed while at the same time reducing workload. Indeed, communication and education has improved with the advent of computer technology thanks to Microsoft.The company’s relationship with the community is a close. Microsoft takes great pride in being the first and the largest contributor in the high-tech industry since1983.Each year Microsoft contributes billions to communities through NGOs and charity in cash and software donations.
The company’s dedication to bringing digital inclusion to all further solidifies the relationship with the society.Being a monopoly company, Microsoft shares the industry with other private and public business entities through partnerships. This approach helps to elevate the companies to greater heights, which is essentially a way of depicting social responsibility. Notably, if Microsoft was not keen to form partnerships, most companies in the computer technology industry would die automatically.
Another way that Microsoft illustrates social responsibility is by recruiting people into the company and improving their skills. The headquarter in US employs over 50,000 people not to mention its subsidiaries in stations around the world. These account for a considerable number of people whose lives and economic status are improved from the employment opportunities. Additionally, the benefits given to employees say insurance benefits, housing allowances; among others go a long way into improving quality of life. This is social responsibility.Microsoft Company has immensely contributed to advancement of technologies tailor made to help the society and state to combat many of its challenges say organized crime, drug peddling, human and child trafficking, identity theft and such like.
With the help of these technologies how enforcement and policing has been taken to the next level. Criminal activities that initially caused a lot of distress to members of society have significantly gone down.Additionally, the sidelined and vulnerable groups of people, for example the disabled and mentally retarded are now able to utilize computer technologies from Microsoft to develop job skills essential to helping them achieve a level of independence.
The culture of initiative and commitment to greater good of society is ingrained in the employees at Microsoft. These employees have been at the forefront of assisting victims of disasters by providing relief efforts and financial assistance or any form of help required at the time. The employees participated in the September 11 recovery efforts giving first aid to people in shock. This was a clean illustration of social responsibility.
Another measure of Microsoft’s corporate social responsibility is in the code of conduct it imposes on companies that it collaborates, for instance, expectation of diversity and fair practices among vendors and suppliers. Packaging of Microsoft product is environmental friendly. Microsoft also consists with business firms and government agencies to see how Microsoft can develop products for them that assist in beefing security in society and as a state. (Microsoft, 2007)At a glance, Microsoft Corporation is a socially responsible company. However, it has been in the spotlight in several news features for all the wrong reasons. For instance, an article feature in the business respect noted that Microsoft Corporation has failed to fully implement on antitrust funding in 2004.
(http://www.mallenbaker.net/csr/CSRfiles/page.php?Story_ID=285) That is Microsoft was supposed to provide competitors with information about the windows operating system that would enable them to develop software to run on it, and it was rather late to do so. (Business respect, 2006) in 2005 the US department of state accused Microsoft of antitrust violations. (United States Department of Justice). Moreover the European commission also accused the company of software bundling.
Microsoft has been accused of practicing predatory pricing in an effort to drive out competitors such as Apple Macintosh machines. In a publication by business respect sourced from Bloomberg, Microsoft plan to settle a class action lawsuit by donating computers to poor schools was rejected because Microsoft would be by effect, extending its monopoly into the area. Additionally, by being allowed to do so, Apple Macintosh machine would loose the only share it had left of the computer technology market i.e. in the education market. (Business Respect, 2001)In 2002, a British Company dealing in mobile phone making accused Microsoft of stealing its patented technology and selling it to other mobile manufacturing company. In the hearing, the company said that Microsoft Company collaborated with it but along the way act off send from the picture and used i.e.
in the education market. (Business Respect, 2002). As a manager in the company I would make sure that the company adheres to ethical practices and that public relations efforts are intensified to redeem the image of the company. i.
e. a good corporate citizen.ConclusionSocial responsibility is an important practice that all companies should adopt competition is rife and cost of doing business is high. However, companies should not use this as a justification to avoid being responsible corporate citizens.
Perhaps the motivating factor behind the importance of social responsibility is giving back to the society within which a company thrives it is soft of a scratch my back I scratch yours law. If a company wants to enjoy maximum cooperation from its employee and its customers, it has to share its profits an its existence with the society Microsoft despite the negative publicity it has received from time to time, harnesses this importance and perhaps inappropriate to say that truly Microsoft is a socially responsible company. The other companies can learn a thing or two about corporate social responsibility from Microsoft Corporation because not much of these efforts are seen from other companies. Additionally, companies should also not feel restricted to ways of showing corporate social responsibility.