The issue backgrounders selected and published on this page were developed in the second-year financial public relations course (currently PUBR 2845) as part of Mount Royal University’s public relations program. Students select an organization to analyze in terms of issues of importance to investors and connected stakeholders.
How Corporate Social Responsibility can be Hindered by Illegal, Unethical and Immoral Internal Business Practices by Paul Lesage (FIRST PLACE)
On September 8, 2018, the Wells Fargo fake accounts scandal became an instant headline. In total, over 3.5 million fake accounts were discovered (Wattles, Geier, Egan, & Weiner-Bronner, 2018, para. 23). These accounts were created through superior officers pressuring employees to meet unrealistic sales quotas, and in some cases, outright encouraging them to “open up the accounts without the customer’s knowledge” (Cavico & Mutjaba, 2017, p. 5). The legal implications for these violations included: breach of contract, negligence, fraud, invasion of privacy, identity theft, etc. (pp. 7-10). However, the fake accounts scandal is only the start of the unethical practices. As the bank has openly admitted to “hitting customers with unfair mortgage fees and charging people for car insurance they did not need” (Wattles et al., 2018, para. 2). These actions hurt Wells Fargo’s reputation overall and damaged the organization’s commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Coombs and Holladay (2011) define CSR as “the voluntary action that a corporation implements as it pursues its mission and fulfills its perceived obligation to stakeholders, including employees, community, the environment, and society as a whole” (p. 10).
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Ben & Jerry’s: Success Through CSR by Kylie Steedman (SECOND PLACE)
In this analysis, I examine how corporate social responsibility (CSR) impacts Ben & Jerry’s positively. Through internal and external initiatives, Ben & Jerry’s has seen success through its efforts in CSR due to its prominence in its business plan. In my Appendix, I include a social media plan, social media data