Teton Grand Corporation and Corporate Social Responsibility

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Organizations have a responsibility to safeguard and improve the wellbeing of society and maintain a balance amongst the economy and ecosystems. To improve the wellbeing of society, a corporation may devote some of its human and financial resources to tackle issues of social concern regarding health or the environment. Strong relationships between a corporation and society are also nurtured when a corporation gives back to the community. These types of relationships are important to the organization as it is accountable for contributing in labor but also provides the market for output (Wicks, 2017). Ultimately, those who hold stake in the organization presume organizations to be responsible for their engagements and transparent in their dealings and respect societal norms, and thus organizations need to live up to this presumption.

Teton Grand Corporation, a young organization with just 3 years of operation, is an organization whose primary focus is to train groups on how to appreciate, care for, live in, and sustain parks and natural resources. At face value, their mission to train individuals in these areas is in alignment with what is asked of a socially responsible organization; however, it is imperative that leadership not lose sight of the mission and vision. To remain steadfast towards the vision and mission, Teton Grand organizations should remain socially responsible in its business practices, core operations, and day-to-day activities.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Having a culture of social responsibility sets the tone for productivity and helps Teton Grand to engage with the real-life concerns of its instructors, students, and other stakeholders. At the foundation of Corporate Social Responsibility, lies the idea that corporations are obligated to work for social betterment. However, the definition remains cloudy. CSR, in many cases, “means something, but not always the same thing to everybody” (Geva, 2008). Early leaders in the field have created metaphors to explain CSR as a branching tree, and others developed definitions with heavy philosophic overtones, often being narrow in focus. Nonetheless, new academic approaches have sought to create a more inclusive structure of operational and behavioral aspects of corporate ventures, corporation and external environment connections, and also ground CSR theory in a social sciences-humanities discipline (Geva, 2008).

CSR as defined by Carroll refers to a “business’s behavior, that it is economically profitable, complies with the law, is ethical, and is socially supportive” (Geva, 2008) To gain further understanding of this structure, there are three proposed diagrams: pyramid, intersecting circles, and concentric circles (Geva, 2008). At first glance, each model contains the same verbiage, however, once dissected, one begins to understand that each model represents a different meaning and different approach to CSR (Geva, 2008).

The pyramid, intersecting circles, and concentric circles CSR models all comprise the spectrum of what society expects of a corporation’s responsibilities and defines them in terms of categories. The categories are economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic. The first model, the pyramid model in particular, presents a hierarchy amongst the categories of responsibilities, with “economic” (business turns a profit) being the most essential, then the legal category, followed by ethics, and lastly philanthropy. Note, this hierarchy of the pyramid shows a decreasing order of importance. The second model, the intersecting circles (IC), comes in contrast with the pyramid whereas it recognizes the possibility of interrelationships among CSR domains; and (2) does not hold a hierarchy of importance for the categories (Geva, 2008). The IC model refutes the theory that CSR is a collection of nonrelated topics, instead, the IC model seeks to explicate that the different responsibilities work with one another, and it is the overall responsibility of the corporation to promote harmony and resolve conflicts between them (Geva, 2008). In addition, in contrast with the pyramid model, Specifically, where the pyramid model proposes that economics is a more important domain sitting at the foundation of the pyramid, the IC model seeks to show that social responsibilities of a corporation are not necessarily less important than its economic endeavors. According to Davis’s Iron Law of Responsibility, “an organization is a social creation whose very existence depends on the willingness of society to endure and support them” (Geva, 2008). The third model, the concentric-circle (CON) model of CSR, shares some similarities with both the pyramid and IC models of CSR. For example, much like the pyramid model, it places an emphasis on the importance of the economic role of business in social responsibility, and much like the IC model, it places an emphasis on the interrelationships among the different corporate social responsibilities. However, while similarities exist, there are underlying differences in the true definitions of the domains that are important to understand. For example, the corporate economic role is defined by profitability within the pyramid model, whereas the CON model defines this same role as enhancing the good of society or being constructively profitable, in terms of CSR. To contrast the hierarchy of noneconomic social responsibilities in the pyramid model and the interrelationships of the IC model, the CON model outlines the noneconomic social responsibilities as embracing and intersecting the core economic responsibilities (Geva, 2008). The concentric circles model illustrate how every member of the inner circle, is also a member of the wider outer circle, but not vice versa. Thus, from a corporate responsibility perspective, all economic responsibilities also have legal and ethical aspects. This comparative analysis of the CSR models shows that the same concept of responsibility can carry different meanings creating a lack of common points of reference and the possibility for issues and uncertainty to arise.

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While these models often suggest that economics be at the forefront of CSR, there are others who argue to go beyond just business for corporate social responsibility (Kaplan, 2020). Scholars are beginning to call into question how effective focusing on “business” as a focal point of CSR and have argued that it may do more harm than good. The argument here is that a 'business case' may not actually motivate managers to act, in fact, it may alienate those for whom the business case is being made, and may create moral struggles for the people who feel they must make the business case to justify social action (Kaplan, 2020). Thus, when CSR is associated with financial performance, it may not have a positive impact on promoting change. It is my recommendation that Teton Grand not focus solely on the economic benefits at the core of its CSR and take a closer look at the concentric circles model.

Continuing the Teton Grand Mission of CSR

As we examine the information provided by Teton Grand and the results from the analysis run on such data, the organization has the opportunity to focus on a few key areas to continually achieve its mission and vision. First, I believe Teton grand should focus on its leadership development. The organization has just under 98 employees, most of whom are its instructors, however, we failed to learn about the company having leadership teams geared towards social responsibility, or about executive leadership. The second area of focus should be on the training and development of its instructors, and lastly, the organization should absolutely practice corporate social responsibility as an organization.

Initially, Teton Grand set out to understand student satisfaction in their Environmental Immersions course held on Monday and Saturday. Overall, Students agreed that they believed what they are doing in their Immersion course is important for the preservation of the Great Outdoors. The results from the survey showed Teton Grand is moving in the right direction for the overall satisfaction of the Environmental Immersion class and there isn’t a large difference between students in the Monday course vs. the Saturday course in regard to responses on the survey presented. The organization will stand to do well with increasing education on the organization's mission statement and philosophy, which I believe should be a leadership/managerial focus. However, data also showed that an overwhelming number of students disagreed with the statement of receiving regular feedback on how they were performing. This is a learning opportunity for instructors and an opportunity for professional development.

In addition to the survey of satisfaction, we were able to run an analysis on the students and dynamics of Teton Grand course instructors. Thus far, an independent- samples t-test was conducted to compare gender and final exam scores. There was not a significant difference in gender and final exam scores; t(497)= -2.32, p=.131. These results suggest that gender really does not have an effect on how students perform on the final exam. So, there wouldn’t be much focus needed in this area. A one-way between subjects ANOVA was conducted to compare the effect of e-learning, on-ground, and blended teaching strategies on final exam scores. There was not a significant effect of teaching strategies p>.001. Lastly, we sought to understand if there was a correlation between the number of years of experience a teacher had and the final exam scores of the students. A correlation for the data revealed a significant relationship between the number of years of experience of the instructor and final exam scores, r = +1.00, n = 501, p < .01, two tails. This should tell us that Teton Grand ensure that their instructors are properly trained and experienced before going in to instruct their students.

There are several advantages for Teton Grand to be socially responsible. One of the first is reputation and image; organizations with distinctive ethical values and elaborate welfare projects are able to compete effectively in the market. We see that Teton Grand has gotten off to a great start, reputation-wise, and it would be valuable to stay in this light. Staying true to its mission, students will want to return, pledging loyalty to an organization that maintains integrity, good governance, and best practice in their operations (Wicks, 2017). Secondly, compliance; there are laws and regulations organizations must follow which are in effect elements of social responsibility. Third, employees may feel empowered to leverage corporate resources at their disposal to do good. Lastly, formal CSR programs can boost employee morale and lead to greater productivity in the workplace. Social responsibility in the workplace enables an organization to coexist in harmony with the government, the community at large, and its environment (Wicks, 2017).

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