External environment illustration External environment theory

Responding to social responsibilities and ethics

Businesses work in a wider social environment in which they have a responsibility to a range of stakeholders including the wider community.

The term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) refers to the responsibility that modern business organisations have to creating a healthy and prosperous society. Businesses do not work in isolation, e.g:

  • the products and services that they provide are consumed by large numbers of consumers, their employees are part of wider communities, in which they have responsibilities to families and other social groupings.
  • business activity impacts on the lives of people in many ways, ranging from the creation of a safe and clean environment, through clean and careful production, to the creation of jobs, and opportunities for all members of the community.

Responsible businesses are responsible citizens. This responsibility is reflected through ethical practice. Ethical practice involves doing the right thing rather than the wrong one - and is based on operating in a 'moral way'.

Corporate social responsibility involves making sure that:

  • your goods and services meet customer requirements, and are provided in a fair way.
  • your employees are given responsibility and opportunities to work with the organisation in supporting community projects.
  • the organisation is involved in relevant sponsorship and 'corporate giving' activities that are relevant and helpful to the community.
  • the organisation is involved in activities and programmes that support the development of the whole community.

Many organisations today realise the importance of building a prosperous 'inclusive society'. This involves including members of society by providing them with opportunities and futures rather than marginalising and excluding them. In addition large companies like Cadbury Schweppes and Nestlé have strong corporate social responsibility programmes involving employees working on community projects and the sponsorship of relevant community activities.

Supporting Documents

These downloads will help to put external-environment theory into context using real world examples from real businesses.

Using the marketing mix in the fashion industry
Ben Sherman logo

Learn how Ben Sherman applied external-environment theory to thrive in the fashion industry by downloading our premium case study.

Protecting the marketing mix through intellectual property rights
Intellectual Property Office logo

Learn how Intellectual Property Office applied external-environment theory to succeed in the public sector industry by downloading our premium case study.

Re-focussing a company's culture and marketing mix
Argos logo

Discover how Argos employed external-environment theory to thrive in the retail industry by downloading our premium case study.

Meeting customers' needs in growth markets - online gaming
BT logo

Find out how BT used external-environment theory to prosper in the telecommunications industry by downloading our premium case study.

The use of social media in promotion
National Trust logo

Learn how National Trust applied external-environment theory to thrive in the non-profit industry by downloading our premium case study.


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