Although historically, business ethics was not a subject or issues that featured highly as a matter of great significance to the managers of commercial corporations, this situation has changed dramatically over recent decades. Indeed, business ethics, in the form of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has now become one of the most importance criteria on which its performance is now being evaluated, and which is receiving almost the same level of attention from stakeholders, such as investors and consumers, as their financial performance (Carroll 2001). The increased focus on business ethics has resulted in an increasing number of private organisations producing annual CSR reports as part of, or separate from their Annual Reports and financial statements.
Nonetheless, as the main aim of corporate managers needs to
be focused on profitability and providing increased value
for its shareholders, this raises the question as to why
business ethics CSR is becoming such an increasingly
important part of the corporate performance agenda. Indeed,
one could argue that the two aims could be diametrically
opposed. Following a brief review of the importance of
business ethics, this essay is to endeavour to resolve these
issues, with the focus being set on the four-part CSR model
presented in the studies of Carroll (2001).