We will be discussing business ethics and social responsibility in our presentation today, and relating these theories specifically to the News of the World phone hacking scandal that broke in 2007. This scandal involved journalists and editors of the publication, News of the World illegally hacking into people's phones in order to access information that would not have been available to them otherwise. Though exact numbers are not known, lists of phones were confiscated listing thousands of mobile numbers, including the numbers of members of the royal family, some celebrities and the families of soldiers, terror and murder victims (BBC News UK, 2013). The scandal was further complicated when members of the London Metropolitan police
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Social responsibility represents a business' choice to act ethically, with the best interests of the communities in which they operate in mind (Wood 1991). This means that managers must coduct their business' in a way with more that just the profit margin in mind, but rather in a way that demonstrates their willingness to accomodate the values of their local communities, whether that's be recognising their impact on the environment and taking appropriate steps to nullify or reduce that impact, promoting a healthy work life balance for their employees, or championing a charity or cause. A business' commitment to acting ethically with social responsibility in mind can often be viewed in their mission statement or in the promises they make to a society.
There are 4 strategies used to categorise a business' attitude towards social responsilibity: obtructionist, defensive, accomodative and proactive (Schermerhorn et al. 2011, p. 139). These cover a range of attitudes from doing nothing that is not within the interests of the business, to actively avoiding adverse social impacts from company activities, (Schermerhorn et al. 2011, p. 139). The social responsibility strategy that News of the World utlised changed over time as the scandal unfolded, and the business was forced to adapt to the increasing demands to act ethically that the world was starting to place on them (Kytle & Ruggie 2005, p. 1).