Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate Social Responsibility
There are various individuals who have interest in the dilemma explained in the case study. They include Merck, the company, its scientists, patients and their families.
Corporate Social Responsibility Pyramid
The Corporate Social Responsibility Pyramid includes the economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic responsibilities.
One of the aims of the company is to make profits out of its medicine production business (Trevino & Nelson, 2014). The company must earn money in order to remain in business and continue satisfying customer needs. It should also make profits in order to cover its expenditures. It cannot meet any other corporate social responsibilities if it does not make profits. Therefore, prior to investing money in the research and production of the river blindness ailment, it is indispensable to ensure that the business can remain vibrant with the investments returns.
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The company must adhere to the law and other regulations relating to the pharmaceutical industry. Since it is based in New Jersey, it has to meet the state and federal regulations. It is also governed by the global regulations relating to the production and distribution of pharmaceuticals. Researching into a new medication requires adherence to these laws. Therefore, before embarking on the project, the company must get permission from relevant authorities. Failure to adhere to the legal responsibilities may lead to the closure of business; hence, other responsibilities cannot be undertaken.
The company can invest into research and production of the river blindness medication, but there is uncertainty concerning making profits out of this endeavor. The majority of the river blindness diseases victims live in the poor regions of South America, Asia and Africa. As a result, they may not afford the medication once it is released into the market. However, they need the medication; as a human being, Merck ought to assist fellow humans since his company has the capability of doing it. The ethical dilemma is whether to invest the finite funds in research even though the company may never realize profits.
Philanthropic responsibilities entail the involvement of the corporation in activities that promote the goodwill and welfare of human beings (Trevino & Nelson, 2014). In the USA, businesses and individuals who engage in philanthropy benefit from some tax exemptions. In addition, when a company can assist, it should focus its ability on alleviating problems affecting people. Similar to the Gates Foundations philanthropic investment in malaria research, Merck & Co. has a responsibility to invest in the creation of medication that can treat river blindness. Since Merck new it would not be a profitable market, his philanthropic approach to it would boost the companys image, and other philanthropic organizations may also contribute to the same cause.
Comparison and Contrast of Economic Implications against Ethical and Philanthropic Considerations
The research requires the investment of about $200 million. The company is making a significant amount of money in sales. Having invested over $1 billion in the 1970s, it can invest $200 million in the drug designing project. In addition, the companys main focus is not profits. One of its principal goals is ensuring that people get medications that they need. It is a philanthropic and ethical responsibility. Therefore, although the research in question may not be very profitable, it is in line with the values of the company. In addition, philanthropy can also be used as a promotional avenue as the company will become more known. Economic, ethical and philanthropic responsibilities of the company support the endeavor of investing in research. However, the project can only be undertaken if the company makes profits from its other products. Therefore, even if it is in line with the companys responsibilities, it has to make money so as to remain in business.
The organizational values of the company entail serving the people. One of the values states that medicine is for the people and not profits (Trevino & Nelson, 2014). Therefore, the decision to continue with the drug project best fits its organizational values and principles of profitability.
Stakeholder Impact and Trust
If the drug research project failed and cost the company hundreds of millions, it would be justifiable as it is the nature of business. As with any other research, the results are not predetermined. However, since it is in accordance with the companys values, it is justifiable as part of the business activities. Trying to develop a safe medication that will help to alleviate an ailment in the world is among the aims of the organization. In addition, the company is making profit via its other products.
If the company fails to undertake the research, various stakeholders, including the scientists, would be dissatisfied. If they do not receive substantive reason as to why the project cannot be undertaken, they may fail to cooperate in other projects. The management should consider it as a trust and leadership issue.
The best decision in the current situation for the organization is to invest money into the drug research project. Currently, the other company products are making profits. Therefore, it has money to invest into the mentioned research. The aim of the company, according to its values, is to assist the people in getting medication and not just gaining profits. No matter the outcome of the project, it will satisfy the economic responsibilities of the company. If it succeeds, its results will benefit a large number of people suffering from river blindness and their families. Thus, it meets the responsibilities outlined by Carrolls theory (Carroll, 2008). Hence, it is possible to give the information to the board of trustees, employees and media.