The purpose of this
chapter is to analyze thecorporate social responsibility (CSR),relying on
Amazon,one of the largest
online retailers, as the case study. CSRis one of the most debated
subjects in contemporary business and as Williams (2014) argues it is a
difficult concept to define exactly, but mostly it is about solving social
problems in the wider society that would not normally be addressed in the
pursuit of profits. Furthermore,it is concerned with how companies make
profits, not how they spend it.The three basic principles of CSR are accountability, transparency and,

Even though Milton
Friedman argued that the only social responsibility is to maximize shareholders’
wealth, while obeying the law and basic aspects of ethics, the stakeholder
theory assumes that firms in their decision making and operation should
consider not only the interest of shareholders but also integrate issues raised
by different groups of stakeholders: consumers, employees, supplier, the
society as a whole.For
instance,the effect of the organization and representatives is incorporated
specifically through working conditions, security and, directions in the work environment.

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Amazonis extremely successful and
influential and it is clear that it delivers a great deal of value to the tens
of millions of customers. It has started a revolution in the way individuals
buy, allowing customers to purchase products online, at very low prices, so at
the foundation of Amazon’s success is its business strategy and giving
consumers what they indicate they want: reasonable quality at low prices.
However,the company has
confronted genuine reactions and criticisms regarding worker treatment. It haseight
distribution centers only across the UK, it counts 341,400 employees, and even though,
Amazon claims it is proud to provide a safe and positive workplace, this is not
how the vast majority of the employees perceive the things.  A BBC documentary shows that the level of
pressure on people is incredible and the workplace can even damage the health. Workers
declare that jobs are physically demanding and push them to the limit, but
Amazon affirms this is due to the active nature of the work. The light is often
activated by motion sensors that not always work, so employees have to carry
out the task in the dark. Everything is monitored and each employee owns a
scanner, which allows managers to establish how fast the worker is picking the
products and there are expected targets, which are difficult to reach, the
whole approach referring to Taylorism, or how it was presented in a recent
article by The Economist, Digital Taylorism.

Comparing Amazon with Google from the way employees are
treated, Google has a unique organizational culture, it is all about
transparency and it encourages its employees to speak up their mind and ask
questions, while creating a working environment that allows entertainment, but
also enhancing prosperity and productivity. In addition to structuring an
organizational culture that motivates employees, it is vital for firms to
protect worker rights by embedding them within the organization’s DNA. Doing so
convinces employees they are truly valued and central to the firm’s success, a detail
thatis missing from Amazon.

and Werther (2014)
point out that numerous companies are publishing an annual corporate social
responsibility report and are making it available online so that all
stakeholders can see precisely what the firm does to carry out its work in a
socially and environmentally responsible manner. This is an approach that
communicates constantly to all stakeholders that social responsibility is as
significant as profits, hence it should be measured. Amazon has not released a
CSR report, its website remaining the only available source, but according to
the information published on the website, Amazon has pledged to lead the
business in an environmentally friendly manner, to use solar and wind energy, its
largest wind farm adding more than 1 million megawatts of clean energy to the grid.

It can be concluded
that Amazon is good for society for different reasons such as wide range of
products or increased productivity, but the company can also harm the society
because competitors and sometimes suppliers go out of business, reducing competition
and, ultimately, consumer choice. CSR has gained great importance and,as it was
shown, Amazon still has difficulties integrating it into its business model. 

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