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Do companies have business con

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Do companies have business con

Organizational or corporate social responsibility refers to the obligation of a business firm to seek actions that protect and improve the welfare of society along with its own interests. Corporate social responsibility often challenges businesses to be accountable for the consequences of their actions affecting the firm's stakeholders while they pursue traditional economic goals. The general public expects business to be socially responsible, and many companies have responded by making social goals a part of their overall business operations (Hay, 1989). This paper will discuss four companies that have a conscience towards our today's society, and helped to create a better community for all of us, they are Johnson & Johnson, American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T), Herman Miller, and Procter & Gamble.

A crisis confronted Johnson & Johnson in the fall of 1982, when seven Chicago area residents died after taking Extra-Strength Tylenol capsules contaminated with cyanide. Not only was $400-million-per-year Tylenol the best-selling U.S. drug, but it was a product that symbolized the Johnson & Johnson reputation for quality, gentleness, and fine health care (Kreitner, 1990).

Despite the pressures of dealing with national media coverage, J&J executive immediately opened their doors to the press and took great pains to keep the public informed about the situation. It soon became apparent that the cyanide had been put into the capsules after they had left J&J's factories, and the problem seemed to be confined to the Chicago area. Nevertheless, Tylenol sales sank to 20 percent of their previous level, and an opinion poll showed that 61 percent of Tylenol users intended to stop using the product.

A major question that arose was what to do about the 31 million bottles of Extra-Strength Tylenol on drugstore shelves throughout the country. The FBI and Food and Drug Administration advised J&J managers not to take any drastic action. Even so, the managers promptly took the unprecedented step of recalling the unsold bottles, at a cost to the form of $100 million (Fortune, 1987). A few weeks later they decided to reintroduce Tylenol capsules in a triple-sealed, tamper-resistant package. In the months following the tragedy, the company established a consumer hot line and continued extensive cooperation with media. It also made a widely advertised refund offer to consumers for any pre-crisis capsules they still had, and its chairman, James E. Burke, appeared on the Donahue show. In an opinion poll taken 3 months after the tragedy, 93 percent of the public felt that J&J had done a good job of handling its responsibilities.

In considering these events, David R. Claire, J&J's president, said, "Crisis planning did not see us through this tragedy nearly as much as the sound business management philosophy that is embodied in out Credo." The Credo's first opening sentence is: "We believe our first responsibility is to the doctors, nurses and patients, to mothers and fathers and all others who use our products and services." (Pearce & David, 1987) .

Unfortunately, the importance of relying on the Credo was soon demonstrated again by another crisis. In early 1986, a 23-year-old woman died after taking a cyanide-laced Tylenol capsule. The company quickly offered to the replace capsules with caplets, tablets in the shape of capsules. The replacement effort cost J&J $150 million. In addition, J&J announced that it would no longer offer Tylenol in capsules-another bold and costly move in keeping with its Credo. The actions of J&J in the two Tylenol incidents earned the company widespread praise. Among Fortune's 300 most admired U.S. corporations, J&J was rated number one in 1987 on community and environmental responsibility. J&J's action in the Tylenol situation were unusually swift, decisive, and costly. In the mid-1990s, Tylenol remains one of the America's most popular and trusted brand names (Guzzardi, 1990). The product commands nearly one-third of the $3 billion brand name analgesic market. No other brand approaches have even 50 percent of Tylenol's market share.

American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) established goals for reducing air emissions, CFCs, solid waste, and hazardous waste in 1990. Under the direction of David R. Chittick, AT&T's vice-president of environment and safety, the company has either surpassed its operations, AT&T invested $25 million to develop an array of alternative technologies (Business Week, 1987). One, called how solids spray fluxer, eliminates the need for CFC solvents to clean excess flux from electronic circuit broads. AT&T is now selling this technology to some 25 other companies, among them IBM. AT&T even gives its ideas away at times, to help to create a better and safer environment for all. The company managed to eliminate virtually all its ozone-depleting substances a year and half before company's goal, and 2 years ahead of the worldwide ban.

Now AT&T does not have to worry about the new U.S. law that requires companies to put warning labels on all goods that contain or are manufactured with ozone-depleting substances. The company figures that the cost of tracking and labeling all the tiny components and switching systems that it once manufactured with CFCs would add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The early phase out also will save AT&T $25 million annually.

In addition, AT&T embraces total quality management (TQM) principles to solve the universal office ...

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