Ethics, Sustainability, and CSR in Business Leadership Essay

Length: 1255 words

Introduction to Business Sustainability, Ethics, and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Business sustainability, ethics, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) are the essential roles of strategic business concerns in the modern-day competitive and globalized business arena. Ethics involves taking the right action or course for every activity performed by an individual while taking care of the interests of every stakeholder. Sustainability includes the activities undertaken by an organization to demonstrate its inclusivity of the societal and the environmental concerns by the business operations as well as its stakeholder interactions (Matten & Jeremy, 2012, p. 327). As such, organizational leaders take the primary obligation of taking responsibility in the ways they operate while taking caution on what impacts such activities may impose on the society and natural environment. These endeavors are what defines the corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability. CSR thereby refers to the managerial obligations that an organization assumes in order to act or perform in a way that protects or improves the society’s welfare, the organization’s interest, as well as the surrounding environment (Moon, 2015, p. 304). All the contemporary organizational managers operating or competing within the currently competitive global business arena must thereby strive to incorporate all these aspects into their

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managerial and corporate activities. With the analysis of the above ideas, this paper takes a deeper insight into the significance of the sustainability, CSR, and ethical skills in business leadership. 


In the contemporary business arena, it is no longer acceptable or practicable for an organization to achieve economic or financial prosperity without the agents of Ethics, Sustainability, and Corporate Social Responsibility (Moon, 2015, p. 298). Business leaders must thereby focus their attention on their roles as good corporate citizens and increase the bottom-line of their operations in a way that positively impacts their business stakeholders and the larger environment (Carroll & Kareem, 2010, p. 101). For a better understanding on the current global business endeavors, the most socially responsible organizational leaders will always revise both their long-term and short-term agendas, hence staying ahead of other socially irresponsible counterparts (Matten & Jeremy, 2012, p. 336). This strategy helps such leaders or managers to make their organizations stay ahead of the rapidly changing trends and the modern-day global business challenges. 

Modern-day Organizational Leaders

Modern-day organizational leaders have come up with a range of strategies that could help them deal with the intersections and challenges introduced by the societal needs, essential environmental needs, and not neglecting the corresponding business imperatives (Bjerke, 2011, p. 576). An organization’s leader may be regarded to be competent depending on how well or how deeply he/she integrates the social responsibility approaches into business strategies and daily operations (Joyner & Payne, 2014, p. 302). Managers who understand that their organization’s activities hold significant impacts and reliance on the larger society at social, ecological, and economic levels are able to build a sense of responsibility beyond the traditional organizational management spheres. 

According to Moon (2015, p. 306), there are five critical proportions to be followed by socially responsible corporate leaders. The first proportion relies on the knowledge that CSR arises from the social power of an organization. Second is that every business must operate through a two-dimensional system where one end should receive input from the society while the other should disclose the business’ ethical operations to the general public. Third, is that the social benefits and costs of activities, products, and services must thoroughly be calculated and considered during strategic plans. Fourth, all the social costs linked to the activities, products, or services are to be passed to the general consumer. Finally, managers must know that business institutions, just like citizens, have the responsibility to participate in particular social problem-solving activities by the community. 

According to Carroll and Kareem (2010, p. 97), the socially responsible company leaders must thereby make timely decisions on the right responsibilities to pursue and the most appropriate manner in which they can approach them. In most cases, there are three methods to employ in this process, and they include: (1) the social responsibility approach, (2) social responsiveness, and (3) the social obligation approach. The socially responsible activities are thereby integrated into the organization’s general marketing plan, alongside its influencing, controlling, and organizing functions. Skillful and competent business leaders must thus incorporate activities such as (1) setting a consistent and transparent set of rules, (2) ensuring that the rules are technically and economically feasible, (3) ensuring the rules are goal-oriented, and (4) making the rules more of prospective rather than retroactive. 

Decision Making Processes In Organizations

In business, one of the catalysts that encourages managers to respond through socially responsible strategies is the business/social ethics. We earlier defined ethics as the capacity of an individual to make a reflection on the core values of organization’s decision-making process and assessing the impact of such values on various stakeholders (Bjerke, 2011, p. 736). This sharp look will help the managers to establish how well they can employ such observations in their daily decision-making and company management. The implementation of ethical business strategies or practices will always help the leaders overcome corporate challenges and improve corporate health in several ways (Joyner & Payne, 2014, p. 299). Some of the improvements may include increased productivity, minimized government agency regulations, and positive attitude by all the stakeholders towards the business. 

Ethics, sustainability and corporate social responsibility are thereby considered vital in the contemporary business leadership. These aspects are prominent features of the social literature and business operations success. These modern-day managerial aspects jointly address the topics of business or organizational ethics, global corporate citizenship, stakeholder management, and corporate social performance (Joyner & Payne, 2014, p. 308). Education on management is thereby an essential source or foundation of new ideas for shifting towards the integrated knowledge economy.


In conclusion, ethics, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility are the essential roles of strategic concerns in the contemporary business leadership (Bjerke, 2011, p. 638). Ethics involves taking the right action or course for every activity performed by an individual while taking care of the interest of every stakeholder. Sustainability refers to the activities undertaken by an organization, which demonstrate the inclusivity of the societal and the environmental concerns by the business operations and its interactions with the stakeholders (Matten & Jeremy, 2012, p. 332). As such, corporate social responsibility (CSR) involves the managerial obligations that an organization top officials or leaders assume in order to act or perform in a way that protects or improves the society’s welfare, the organization’s interest, as well as the surrounding environment. With these regards, all the contemporary organizational leaders discharging their duties within the competitive global business arena must strive to incorporate all these aspects into their managerial and corporate activities. The modern-day society has become so sensitive to the impacts of organizational operations on their daily lives and the larger environment, and this is why the managers or organizational leaders must also take care of the CSR concerns in order to cope up with the societal demands. 


Bjerke, B. (2011). Business leadership and culture: National management styles in the global economy, (576-783). New York, NY: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Carroll, A. B. & Kareem, M. S. (2010). The business leadership case for corporate social responsibility: A review of concepts, research and practice. International Journal of Management Reviews, 12(1), 85-105.

Joyner, B. E. & Payne, D. (2014). Evolution and implementation: A study of values, business ethics and corporate social responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics, 41(4), 297-311.

Matten, D. & Jeremy, M. (2012). Corporate social responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics 54(4), 323-337. 

Moon, J. (2015). The contribution of corporate social responsibility to sustainable development. Journal of Sustainable Development, 15(5), 296-306. 

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