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Correlation between Hinduism and Corporate Social Responsibility

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This paper is a study about the correlation between Hinduism and Corporate Social Responsibility of an organization. The study emphasizes how Hinduism supports CSR for the betterment of the society and on the other hand development and growth of a company.

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Correlation between Hinduism and Corporate Social Responsibility

  1. 1. Milton Kumar Guria 25th Batch ID: 3-13-25-076 Semester: Spring Course Teacher Dr. Ataur Rahman Professor, Dept. of Management University of Dhaka Date of Submission: March 03, 2014 Department of Management University of Dhaka EXECUTIVE SUMMERY Hinduism is known as the oldest and one of the largest religions existing in the twentieth century. Hinduism encompasses a vast amount of traditions and beliefs. Similar to other religions, it influences attitudes and ethics within the workplace. In particular, corporate social responsibility in Hindu 1
  2. 2. organizations are executed in respect to Hindu beliefs. Four basic key components of Hinduism that influence corporate social responsibility include: moksha, samsara, dharma, and pollution and impurity. Hindus strongly believe in the importance of moksha, and believe that it is the ultimate goal in life or within their lives. Moksha is a state of spiritual freedom where one is able to release oneself from the cycle of life and death, samsara, and reach self-realization. This is when one lives in ignorance to suffering and reincarnation, and instead lives mainly based on spiritual satisfaction and a higher consciousness parallel to that of the God. It is through the process of samsara where one is born into the world with a certain status; this is where the implementation of the caste system is practiced. The caste system is a societal framework where social status and occupation is determined through heredity. Hindus define dharma as duty and refers to one’s personal responsibility towards oneself as well as others while complying with laws. One’s dharma depends on one’s caste in the society; there are specific duties and values based on different societal roles and hierarchical levels. In this sense, Hinduism greatly supports corporate social responsibility as it encourages people to be responsible and take on their rightful duties, which would be the first step to be socially responsible. The next step would be to perform duties that exceed compliance by extending love, fairness, and good work ethic. One can then assume that corporate social responsibility leads to moksha, or conversely, moksha encourages corporate social responsibility. 2
  3. 3. CHAPTER 1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY Introduction The study of India and its cultures and religions, and the definition of "Hinduism", has been shaped by the interests of colonialism and by Western notions of religion. Since the 1990s, those influences and its outcomes have been the topic of debate among scholars of Hinduism, and have also been taken over by critics of the Western view on India. Because of the wide range of traditions and ideas covered by the term, arriving at a comprehensive definition is difficult. Hinduism has been variously defined as a religion, a religious tradition, and a set of religious beliefs. Hinduism is the oldest living religion in the world, enduring today as a healthy, spirited and colorful group of traditions. With almost a billion followers, it is also the world’s third largest religion; Hindus comprise about one-seventh of the world’s entire population. Its origins lie in the vast Indian subcontinent. While it remains the majority religion in India, with over 800 million adherents, its spiritual, cultural, social and linguistic influences extend across the globe; over 60 million Hindus live outside of India in 150 different countries, including in the UK (around 700,000) and North America (over 2 million). Hinduism, though, is not monolithic (characterized by complete uniformity) and has thus eluded simple definition. It has no single founder, no one scripture, no single set of teachings, no unified code of conduct, no central governing body. This was perplexing for early Western scholars of religion because they tended to perceive Hinduism through their own preconceived ideas of the nature of ‘religion’ – most often in relation to their own faith and culture. Hinduism, in fact, is a ‘family’ of many diverse traditions, or sampradayas, each with its own distinct theology, philosophy, rituals, code of practices, and value system. This inescapable diversity and richness makes Hinduism particularly hard to define in simple, precise terms. Nonetheless, like in any family, there are some common elements and unifying themes. These include accepting God or a Supreme Reality, atma (the soul), dharma (the law of righteousness), karma (the law of cause and effect), the authority of the Vedas, and moksha (liberation). Hinduism is also responsible for many valuable contributions to the world, such as that of the original concepts and practices of Yoga, Ayurveda, Vastu, Jyotish, Vedanta, karma, and much more. Although it is not easy to define Hinduism, we can say with certainty that it is closely connected to India, its culture and its sacred texts – but it also extends far beyond them. 3
  4. 4. About Hinduism and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) 1.1 Colonial influences of Hinduism The notion of common denominators for several religions and traditions of India was already noted from the 12th century CE on. The notion of "Hinduism" as a "single world religious tradition" was popularized by 19th-century European Ideologists who depended on the "Brahmans castes” for their information of Indian religions.[50] This led to a "tendency to emphasize Vedic and Brahmanical texts and beliefs as the "essence" of Hindu religiosity in general, and in the modern association of 'Hindu doctrine' with the various Brahmanical schools of the Vedanta. 1.2 Indigenous understanding of Sanātana Dharma To its adherents, Hinduism is a traditional way of life. Many practitioners refer to Hinduism as Sanātana Dharma, "the eternal law" or the "eternal way". It refers to the "eternal" duties all Hindus have to follow, regardless of class, caste, or sect, such as honesty, refraining from injuring living beings, purity, goodwill, mercy, patience, forbearance, self-restraint, generosity, and asceticism. This is contrasted with svadharma, one’s "own duty", the duties to be followed by members of a specific caste and stage of life. According to Knott, this also refers to the idea that its origins lie beyond human history, and its truths have been divinely revealed (shruti) and passed down through the ages to the present day in the most ancient of the world's scriptures, the Veda.[15] According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, The term has also more recently been used by Hindu leaders, reformers, and nationalists to refer to Hinduism as a unified world religion. Sanatana dharma has thus become a synonym for the “eternal” truth and teachings of Hinduism, the latter conceived of as not only transcendent of history and unchanging but also as indivisible and ultimately nonsectarian.[Web 1] 1.3 Hindu modernism Swami Vivekananda was a key figure in introducing Vedanta and Yoga in Europe and USA, [78] raising interfaith awareness and making Hinduism a world religion. Major Representatives of "Hindu modernism"[45] are Vivekananda, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Mahatma Gandhi. According to Flood, "Swami Vivekanda (1863-1902) is a figure of great importance in the development of a modern Hindu self-understanding and in formulating the West's view of Hinduism." Central to his philosophy is the idea that the divine exists in all beings, that all human 4
  5. 5. beings can achieve union with this "innate divinity",[45] and that seeing this divine as the essence of others will further love and social harmony. According to Vivekananda, there is an essential unity to Hinduism, which underlies the diversity of its many forms. According to Flood, Vivekananda's vision of Hinduism "is one generally accepted by most English-speaking middle-class Hindus today." Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was "one of India's most erudite scholars to engage with western and Indian philosophy". He sought to reconcile western rationalism with Hinduism, "presenting Hinduism as an essentially rationalistic and humanistic religious experience." According to Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Hinduism is not just a faith. It is the union of reason and intuition that cannot be defined, but is only to be experienced. This view has been "highly relevant and important in forming contemporary Hindu identity." The emphasis on experience as validation of a religious worldview is a modern development, which started in the 19th century, and was introduced to Indian thought by western Unitarian missionaries. This "Global Hinduism" has a worldwide appeal, transcending national boundaries and, according to Flood, "becoming a world religion alongside Christianity, Islam and Buddhism", both for the Hindu diaspora communities and for westerners who are attracted to non-western cultures and religions. [89] It emphasizes universal spiritual values such as social justice, peace and "the spiritual transformation of humanity." It has developed partly due to "re-enculturation", in which elements of Hindu culture have been exported to the West, gaining popularity there, and as a consequence also gained greater popularity in India.[90] This globalization of Hindu culture has been initiated by Swami Vivekananda and his founding of the Ramakrishna Mission, and has been followed by other teachers, "bringing to the West teachings which have become an important cultural force in western societies, and which in turn have become an important cultural force in India, their place of origin. 1.4 Western understanding of Hinduism Hinduism's tolerance to variations in belief and its broad range of traditions make it difficult to define as a religion according to traditional Western conceptions.[92] Some academics suggest that Hinduism can be seen as a category with "fuzzy edges" rather than as a well-defined and rigid entity. Some forms of religious expression are central to Hinduism and others, while not as central, still remain within the category. 5
  6. 6. 1.5 Diversity of Hinduism Hinduism has been described as a tradition having a "complex, organic, multileveled and sometimes internally inconsistent nature." Hinduism does not have a "unified system of belief encoded in a declaration of faith or a creed", but is rather an umbrella term comprising the plurality of religious phenomena of India. According to the Supreme Court of India, Unlike other religions in the World, the Hindu religion does not claim any one Prophet, it does not worship any one God, it does not believe in any one philosophic concept, it does not follow any one act of religious rites or performances; in fact, it does not satisfy the traditional features of a religion or creed. It is a way of life and nothing more". Part of the problem with a single definition of the term "Hinduism" is the fact that Hinduism does not have a single historical founder. It is a synthesis of various traditions, the "Brahmanical orthopraxy, the renouncer traditions and popular or local traditions." Also, Hinduism does not have a single system of salvation, but consists of various religions and forms of religiosity. Some Hindu religious traditions regard particular rituals as essential for salvation, but a variety of views on this co-exists. Some Hindu philosophies postulate a theistic ontology of creation, of sustenance, and of the destruction of the universe, yet some Hindus are atheists, they view Hinduism more as philosophy than religion. Hinduism is sometimes characterized by a belief in reincarnation (samsara) determined by the law of karma and the idea that salvation is freedom from this cycle of repeated birth and death. Hinduism is therefore viewed as the most complex of all the living, historical world religions. 1.6 Roots of Hinduism Western scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions. Among its roots are the historical Vedic religion of Iron Age India, itself already the product of "a composite of the Indo-Aryan and Harappan cultures and civilizations", but also the Shramana or renouncer traditions ofnortheast India, and mesolithic and neolithic cultures of India, such as the religions of the Indus Valley Civilization, Dravidian traditions, and the local traditions and tribal religions. After the Vedic period, between 500- 200 BCE and c. 300 CE, at the beginning of the "Epic and Puranic" c.q. "Preclassical" period, the "Hindu synthesis" emerged, which incorporated shramanic and Buddhist influences and the emerging bhakti tradition into the Brahmanical fold via the smriti literature. This synthesis emerged under the pressure of the success of Buddhism and Jainism. During the Gupta reign the first Puranas were written, which were used to disseminate 6
  7. 7. "mainstream religious ideology amongst pre-literate and tribal groups undergoing acculturation." The resulting Puranic Hinduism differed markedly from the earlier Brahmanism of the Dharma sastras and the smritis. Hinduism co-existed for several centuries with Buddhism,[33] to finally gain the upper hand at all levels in the 8th century CE. From northern India this "Hindu synthesis", and its societal divisions, spread to southern India and parts of Southeast Asia. It was aided by the settlement of Brahmins on land granted by local rulers, the incorporation and assimilation of popular non-Vedic gods, and the process of Sanskritization, in which "people from many strata of society throughout the subcontinent tended to adapt their religious and social life to Brahmanic norms". This process of assimilation explains the wide diversity of local cultures in India "half shrouded in a taddered cloak of conceptual unity." 1.7 Inclusivism Despite the differences, there is also a sense of unity. Most Hindu traditions revere a body of religious or sacred literature, the Vedas, although there are exceptions. Although Shaivism and Vaishaism may be regarded as "self-contained religious constellations", there is a degree of interaction and reference between the "theoreticians and literary representatives"] of each tradition which indicates the presence of "a wider sense of identity, a sense of coherence in a shared context and of inclusion in a common framework and horizon". According to Nicholson, already between the 12th and the 16th centuries "certain thinkers began to treat as a single whole the diverse philosophical teachings of the Upanishads, epics, Puranas, and the schools known retrospectively as the "six systems" (saddarsana) of mainstream Hindu philosophy." The tendency of "a blurring of philosophical distinctions" has also been noted by Burley. Hacker called this "inclusivism"] and Michaels speaks of "the identificatory habit". Lorenzen locates the origins of a distinct Hindu identity in the interaction between Muslims and Hindus,] and a process of "mutual self-definition with a contrasting Muslim other",] which started well before 1800. As a counteraction to Islamic supremacy and as part of the continuing process of regionalization, two religious innovations developed in the Hindu religions: the formation of sects and a historicization which preceded later nationalism. Saints and sometimes militant sect leaders, such as the Marathi poet Tukaram (1609-1649) and Ramdas (1608-1681), articulated ideas in which they glorified Hinduism and the past. The Brahmans also produced increasingly historicizing texts, especially eulogies and chronicles of sacred sites (Mahatmyas), or developed a reflexive passion for collecting and compiling extensive collections of quotations on various subjects.[132] This inclusivism 7
  8. 8. was further developed in the 19th and 20th centuries by Hindu reform movements and Neo- Vedanta, and has become characteristic of modern Hinduism. 1.8 CSR: an overview CSR refers to the obligation of an organization which considers the interests of all their stakeholders which includes the customers, employees, shareholders, communities and ecological considerations in all aspects of their operations. This obligation is seen to extend beyond their statutory obligation to comply with legislation. CSR goes beyond the normal charity activities of an organization and this requires that the responsible organisation take into full account of its impact on all stakeholders and on the environment when making decisions. In a nutshell, CSR requires the organisations to balance the needs of all stakeholders with its need to make a profit and reward shareholders adequately. A widely quoted definition by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development states that “Corporate social responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large.” Practices of CSR date back to the ancient Greece. A similar development on CSR took place on the Indian subcontinent structured from the Vedic philosophy (Pandey and Tripathi, 2002). Early conceptualization of CSR was broadly based on religious virtues and values such as honesty, love, truthfulness and trust. Such values were found dominant in the golden rule constructed by Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative (Evan and Freeman, 1998). It has also been argued that this golden rule can be applied in viewing companies as responsible to stakeholders and society (Donaldson and Preston, 1995; Evans and Freeman, 1998). Implicitly, this argument suggests that those who do not practice such values are deemed to be unethical and not concerned of societal welfare. Since then, civilizations has been in the process of wealth accumulation through a series of business venture travels to colonize; then industrial revolution to capitalize production processes; and finally multinational corporations to maximize profits from the modern theories of comparative advantage. Practices of CSR were neglected and overshadowed by the pursuit of wealth accumulation. A revival of interest in CSR began after the World Wars. Contemporary western conceptualization of CSR from an academic perspective was initiated with Bowen’s definitive text through his 8
  9. 9. publication in 1953. His work on CSR broadly focused on the pursuit of policies that makes decisions or to follow those lines of action that are desirable in terms of the objectives and values of our society (Bowen, 1953). Since his publications, CSR has become a strongly debatable proposition among Western researchers. One of the unwavering conceptual arguments is the question of relationship between religion and business ethics (Calkins, 2000; Epstein, 2002; Weaver and Agle, 2002). Much of the empirical research work has explicitly attempted to investigate the implications on business ethics (Stackhouse, 1995; Epstein, 2002). One of the researches for instance studied the relationship between religious beliefs and ethical values that influence of managers’ attitude and managerial decision-making (Agle and van Buren, 1999; Longnecker, McKinney and Moore, 2004). Carroll argued that social responsibilities of business encompass the economics, legal, ethical and discretionary expectations that society has of organisations at a given point in time (Carroll, 1979). Carroll’s continuum of business responsibilities was reconstructed into a multidimensional construct by several other researchers principally by Niskala and Tarna (2003). This multi- dimensional model demonstrates the Western philosophy of ‘triple bottom line’ that superimposes the equilibrium of economic, social and environmental elements while conducting business. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD, 2000) argued that companies have an obligation to society and are responsible to numerous stakeholders including owners, employees, customers, suppliers, competitors, government regulators and communities. 1.9 CSR from an ancient Indian perspective From the ancient Indian perspective, social responsibility (now CSR) obligation is expected from the ‘King’ to his subjects (Rig-Veda 1–8). Vedic literature emphasizes that the role of the king or the accumulator of wealth to take care of the welfare of the subjects (stakeholders) and in return the king will grow as the Sun grows and shines at dawn and after its rise. It is further expressed that whatever is given to the society, it returns getting multiplied several times (Rig-Veda et al.). The king or the leader and leadership are considered to be the key necessity for the state or organisation. Even Lord Sri Krishna also stressed the importance of the leaders to Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gita. Manu and Shukracharya also echoed similar opinions. The Manu smriti states that when the world was without a king and people ran about in all directions out of fear, the Lord emitted a king in order to guard this entire realm. In modern day business philosophy, promotional and public relations strategy adds value to customer perception of the organisation goods and services. Therefore, the firm maximizes its ability to create value to the business. CSR can be a source of competitive 9
  10. 10. advantage for organisations, however, some researchers have also cautioned against using CSR as a promotional tool because it can discredit the company if it misleads stakeholders. It was emphasized by Dawkins (2004) that CSR must be effectively communicated to stakeholders for their appreciation and support. The business benefits arising from the CSR practices would result in credibility for the organisation, reduces the risk profile, improves stakeholders relationship which eventually increases efficiency of the firm. Evidently, there are numerous arguments for and against the practice of CSR in modern corporate management. But often these arguments on CSR are limited to the operational aspects of the business and ignored the philosophical context. CSR practices in the Indian philosophy sits deep-rooted in the concept of dharma or virtue which is to conform to the truth of things. Dharma is the basis of order whether social or moral (Radhakrishnan, 1929). In accordance with Taittiriya Upanishad, the first and most essential virtue for an individual is to speak the truth (satyam) and the second instruction is practice virtue (dharma Kara). Dharma then fundamentally is to action the truth – an ultimate guide to right living and the stability of society (Mukhopadhy, 1960). In reference to Sankara’s commentary, Chakraborty deduced that dharma is even higher than the external authority of the king. This Indian ethics of dharma (virtue) is expressed as a synthesis of intellectual understanding and self-realization which can be achieved by adherence to the eternal dharma and prescribed by the Vedic literature as the practical guidance in daily life (Chakraborty, 2006). It is clear that Indian philosophy permeates into each individual to reflect upon the truth as he speaks, take right actions through self-realization of oneself. The ancient Indian philosophy has also propounded that the law of karma (cause and effect) as the overarching principle of self-determination of one’s moral character. This implied that the present nature of an individual’s life (effect) is determined by their antecedent actions (cause). Therefore, an individual has the freedom of moral choice in his daily life. Karma is then a concept of reward or punishment for the choice made through self-determination of an individual. This concept cycle of life or transmigration is deeply grounded in the Indian classical philosophy of universal ethics. Hence, the law of karma emphasized the virtue (dharma) as a key plank for self-realization. It has been argued that all virtues are conducive to spiritual development and is spiritual when performed with the realization of its relation to the inner spirit (Chakraborty, 2006). In the teachings of Bhagavad-Gita, it has been advised that perfect actions lead one to the ‘gateway to liberation (moksha)’. Evidently, the Indian philosophy on ethics has set objectives beyond this world and pitches itself on virtues that are different from the western model of CSR. 10
  11. 11. 1.10 CSR in the Vedic literatures The Indian philosophical literatures are derived form of the Vedas, namely, Rig-Veda, Yajur-veda, Sama-Veda and Atharva-veda. The Vedas essentially forms the fundamental basis of human life on earth through complete understanding of the spiritualism – knowledge of God, the Soul (atma) and the relationship to the physical universe (prakriti). Rig-Veda specifically states that the cosmic order of the entire universe is governed by physical relationship of man to moral laws and any transgression will be detrimental (cause and effect to cosmic order). Reflecting on this Vedic knowledge, Swami Dayananda classified it into four orders (Rig-Veda 10-09-9). The first-order is the transcendental knowledge (Jnana), which is the knowledge of the absolute truth or God. By obedience of his instructions and knowledge of matter (physical qualities and uses of material objects), deviation of the material structure can be avoided. The second-order is action (karma) by which right actions will lead to self-determination and self–realization of both inner self and social order. The third-order worship (upasana), relates to all right measures for the realization of self and God. In the fourth-order, science (vigyan), this is a body of knowledge encompassing Upanishads, Brahman Granthas, Smrities, Puranas and Darshan Shastras. It is clear upon reflection that the ancient Indian philosophy propounds that cosmic order requires absolute balance. Vedic knowledge also explicitly informs that right moral practices will enable and stabilize cosmic order. Cosmic order is realized through an understanding of transcendental knowledge, taking right actions and right measures framed by the sciences of Vedic philosophy. If mankind disengaged from the knowledge of matter to accumulate material wealth without seeking right actions (ethics and social responsibility) physical detriments will certainly occur (the law of karma). In the quest for business excellence, the fundamental pursuit of a balanced life has often been ignored in the contemporary business world. Vedic philosophy further identifies four objectives in human life. These are values or virtue (dharma), money (artha), urges (kama) and salvation (moksha). 1.11 Corporate Social Responsibility: a philosophical approach There is a systematic relationship of each of these objectives. The ultimate element of life should be interpreted as a drive to achieve moksha or salvation guided by value systems and the urge or motivation to achieve using money (artha) as a form of tool. Lord Sri Krishna in Bhagavad-Gita states that ‘value system protects you if you follow it (dharmo rakshati rakshitaha)’. Swami Vivekananda in his reflection of Bhagavad-Gita affirmed that the basis of social and political system rests on the goodness of man (Vivekananda, 2000). Therefore, value system is superior which drives the right 11
  12. 12. objectives. Wealth accumulation is to serve the objectives. The principle role of money is to serve the needs of the society (Mahavir, 2001). While the Vedas supports the concept of accumulation of wealth (Yajur-Veda 10–20; 5–19; 34–38), it also stated clearly the right path to earn great wealth and riches (Yajur-Veda 7–13). While accumulation of wealth is encouraged, the Vedic philosophy proposed the right action on the use of wealth – on self, commotion and donation for the welfare of others. It is also explicitly stated that whatever is given to the others selflessly, it returns in many folds (Rig-Veda 1–8). Business is viewed as legitimate and an integral part of society according to Vedic philosophy but essentially it should create wealth for the society through the right means of action. ‘sarva loka hitam’ in the Vedic literature referred to ‘well-being of stakeholders’. This means an ethical and social responsibility system must be fundamental and functional in business undertakings. Put in simple business sense, the organisation would sustain long-term advantages and obtain profits if it conducts its businesses ethically and be socially responsible. Vedic literature on business profoundly states by the following quote: May we together shield each other and may we not be envious towards each other. Wealth is essentially a tool and its continuous flow must serve the welfare of the society to achieve the common good of the society (Atharva-Veda 3-24-5). The Vedic philosophy insists that quality of work and service needs to be achieved in the business process model for long-term sustainability, besides an equitable redistribution of wealth after having acquiring it. This core principle of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expounded by the Vedic literature is being reengineered in the modern business models, namely, Total Quality Management (TQM), Business Process Reengineering and triple bottom-line sustainability. In the Bhagavad-Gita, the key principles of Vedic philosophy is re-cemented in the Indian mind on the basic moral understandings required to achieve salvation through transcendental knowledge, the obedience to law of karma, self-realization, and the performance of actions under the framework of Vedic sciences. The Bhagavad-Gita is accepted as a universal body of knowledge and remains as a lifelong scientific and spiritual model for mankind. It triggers the search for self-realization and appropriate right action in the material driven world. Lord Sri Krishna says in the Bhagavad-Gita (3– 13), that all sorrows from the society would be removed if socially conscious members of a community feel satisfaction in enjoying the fragments of their work performed in selfless welfare of others. In short, the Indian philosophy on business management is to inculcate corporate social responsibilities. 1.12 Indian CSR model 12
  13. 13. In accordance with the Indian philosophy, the characteristics of business excellence are intricately weaved around spiritual threads of Vedic and Bhagavad-Gita teachings. First, business excellence must be dedicated to spiritualism (of work). All other matter then falls into order. The business management corresponds to a cosmic order that is grounded with concepts of self-determination and self-realization. Secondly, business excellence should evolve around right actions and right measures. Self-realization that immoral business strategies (example those related to poor quality products sold at excessive profit margins) and unethical business tactics (example undercutting and short-term profit taking) only results in business losses. Thirdly, business wealth should be accumulated by applying the right actions that should be shared equitably with all stakeholders. Selfless sharing of profits brings long-term gains. Employees would be highly motivated, loyal and hugely committed to the organization. Finally, business excellence would be achieved if the business practices are ethical and social responsible to the society. This will result in long-term sustainability of the business. The business excellence in accordance to the Indian philosophy is more than just a business objective. Being spiritual in structure, it attempts to achieve perfection (or moksha). It is the highest order systematically framed by the Vedic order system. Hence, disorder in business practices is expected to follow the law of karma (action and antecedent result). Business excellence in the context of the Indian philosophy is an expression of virtue or dharma. An Indian CSR model can be possibly constructed upon the Vedic principles of virtue as key planks in modern business models. Key planks that should dominate the business models follow the spiritualism context of self-realization, the laws of karma, right measures and finally, the scientific approach of order. Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita states that ‘I am that action in all things that is unopposed to values’. Successful Indian companies can attest to this CSR model, namely, TATA group, Infosys, Wipro, Bajaj, Sriram Investments, BHEL, Bharat Heavy Industries, Asian Paints, Brook Bond, and Larsen and Toubro to name a few. 1.13 CSR: happiness to all stakeholders 13
  14. 14. Kautilya stressed the importance of happiness to all stakeholders of an organization. He stated that happiness is obtained not only by wealth and profit, but also by doing things rightly and doing right things. Dharma without wealth according to Kautilya is toothless, and wealth without dharma is useless because a poor person cannot support the entire society. Indian culture has always emphasized, wealth does not lead to directly happiness. Happiness for self and others results through ethical behavior: wealth or resources make ethical behavior possible. This also means that one must strive to generate wealth – resources and money – share it equitably to create happiness for oneself and others. Such generation of wealth must also be through ethical means, which alone would lead to overall happiness Kautilya further stated to generate wealth you require an enterprise or an organization or an asset. He then stated the support for organization is the organs, the functions, processes, activities, etc. The victory over organs of the body, which is the literal meaning of the word indriyajayah, is a well-known concept in the Indian culture and this refers to the control over the five organ of sense (eyes, ears, tongue, nose and skin), an on five organs of action (hands, feet, mouth, genitals and anus). Conquering the body organs are manifested through control over the six enemies of the mind – desires (kama), anger (krodha), greed (lobha), arrogance (mada), infatuation (moha) and envy (matsara). Only the governor or CEO who has conquered the organs of his body would be able to put the goals of the organization first, especially when in conflict with self-interest Objective of the Study The objectives of the study is related to corporate social responsibility of business that supports the company's strategic objectives, in particular the impact on society and minimize the negative influence on the environment and increasing the image of the business as a credible and reliable business partner for suppliers and customers. In this study Hinduism also related. In the paper it is also shown how corporate social responsibility is supported by the Hinduism. The objectives of CSR are as follows: I. To be a reliable business partner. Customer care and satisfaction is our top priority, regardless of the type of product or service offered. Our aim is to improve the quality of customer service, partnerships, and ethical behavior in 14
  15. 15. relationships with customers, adherence to contract terms with our customers and suppliers (timeliness, quality), transparent trade and complaint procedure and additional services offer. II. To be responsible for the environment. As a sweater company, we cannot avoid the harmful effects of our activity; however, conscious of the responsibility for the negative environmental consequences, we are taking steps to minimize the negative effects. Our overriding goal is to protect environment fresh, sound management of the factory and environmental education of employees. III. To ensure good and safe working conditions. Our company's most important asset is its people. We make every effort to take care of their development and safety. We feel responsible, to attract qualified staff and provide them with a stable, good job and the best conditions. Our aim is to increase the level of safety and health at work through technical improvement and improving the quality of training. Activities under this strategy will be focused on supporting the local community employment, building the image of a good and stable employer, building an organizational culture of commitment, focus on results and increasing productivity. According to the philosophy of our organization "Good and safe working conditions" is not only to ensure the physical safety of employees at work, it is also taking care of the proper management of their energy and create space for leisure and development of their passions and interests. IV. To participate in community life. We are not only a business entity, but also a member of the local communities in which we operate. We strive to build good relations with representatives of these communities. Through thoughtful activities that fit into the Vision and Mission of our company we reach potential or current stakeholders. Through these activities we also build the bond and a sense of solidarity with the environment and its problems. Our aim is to support local community initiatives, building the image of the organization as a patron of sports, to promote the development of scientific institutions, health services and programs which support talented youth. Limitations of the Study This paper is based on the Hinduism and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Hinduism is known as the oldest and one of the largest religions existing in the twentieth century. As this religion is not 15
  16. 16. founded by one single person and has been changing throughout the centuries, there is no single, unified foundation for Hinduism. Hinduism encompasses a vast amount of traditions and beliefs. So, corporate social responsibility (CSR) in different region in India according to Hinduism has covered a greater part not full in detail. Because, the Hinduism itself has diversity in traditions and believes. But in any part of the world the most practices of Hinduism and related CSR are almost similar. CHAPTER 2: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY METHODOLOGY This paper is based on a qualitative research methodology called hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is related to the name of the Greek god Hermes in his role as the interpreter of the messages of the gods. In the current context, hermeneutics can be described as the interpretation and understanding of ancient literatures and religious texts. It is also used in contemporary philosophy to denote the study of theories and methods of the interpretation of all texts and systems of meaning. The concept of ‘text’ is here extended beyond written documents to any number of objects subject to interpretation, like experiences. A hermeneutic is defined as a specific system or method for interpretation, or a specific theory of interpretation. The scope of hermeneutics also includes the investigation and interpretation not only of ancient texts, but also of human behavior generally, including language and patterns of speech, social institutions and ritual behaviors. Hermeneutics is widely applied in many field of social science such as philosophy, religion and theology, law, sociology and also international relations (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermeneutics). Kautilya wrote his Artha shastra in Sanskrit language. Sanskrit is one of the oldest languages in the world and it has also influenced many other languages in Europe and also in Asia. The Artha shastra was written for the purpose of managing a kingdom or a country. For example, in explaining the Artha shastra in the context of management, the term rajya (state) is interpreted to the organization, the raja or king is the leader or the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), amatya or mantri (ministers) are the managers of various departments such as finance, marketing, human resources and operations, kosh refers to finances, danda the administrative or the management system, durga, the security system and lokbal the work force (Muniapan and Shaikh, 2007). 16
  17. 17. 2.1. Methods of Collecting Data There are so many methods are used to collect data. In this paper the following methods are used to collect data more or less but emphasis is given on the present practices and programs available in various organisations where Hinduism is strictly followed and according to Hinduism corporate social responsibilities are practiced within the organization and outside of the organization. Some characteristics, advantages and constraints are discussed below during collection of data needed to prepare this paper. 2.1.1. Logs and Tally Sheets Characteristics: A form used for counting or tracking and recording the amount of something. Advantages: Easy way to count outputs or compile either output or outcome data. Constraints: Doesn’t measure change. 2.1.2. Questionnaires/Surveys Characteristics: Surveying involves gathering information from individuals using a questionnaire especially when need to quickly and/or easily get a lot of information from people in a nonthreatening way. Advantages: Surveys can reach a large number of respondents; generate standardized, quantifiable, empirical data - as well as qualitative data. Some people feel more comfortable responding to a survey than participating in an interview. Can offer confidentiality / anonymity. Can be inexpensive. No interviewer bias. Many sample questionnaires already exist. Constraints: Subject to misinterpretation depending on how questions are designed and asked. Samples must be carefully selected to ensure statistical meaning. Poor response rates. Unable to probe for additional details. Good survey questions are hard to write 2.1.3. Interviews Characteristics: Interviewing involves asking respondents a series of open ended questions. Useful when you want to fully understand someone’s impressions or experiences. Advantages: Can generate both standardized quantifiable data, and more in depth qualitative data. Ability to probe. Good response rate. Respondent involvement. Constraints: Complexities of people and communication can create many opportunities for miscommunication and misinterpretation. Potential for interviewer bias in asking or recording answers. 17
  18. 18. No confidentiality for respondent. 2.1.4. Standardized Tests Characteristics: Standardized tests are designed in such a way that the questions, conditions for administering, scoring procedures, and interpretations are consistent and are administered and scored in a predetermined, standard manner. Advantages: Objective in nature. Often scored by computers or at the very least scored by people who do not directly know the student. Developed by experts and each question undergoes an intense process to remove bias. Permits reliable comparison of outcomes across all test takers. Constraints: Evaluates a student’s performance on one particular day and does not take into account external factors. Many people do not perform well on tests. Availability of results may not align with reporting deadlines. 2.1.5. Observations Characteristics: Observation relies on the data collectors’ ability to gather data though their senses using a checklist or protocol. Advantages: Can collect data where and when an event or activity is occurring. Need not to rely on people’s willingness to provide information. Can directly see what people do rather than relying on what they say they do. Constraints: Does not increase understanding of why people behave the way they do. Requires skilled observer(s) and a shared understanding of the items on the observation checklist. People can act differently if they know they are being observed and observations can be contaminated by a data collector’s perceptions. . Not realistic for use with large groups. Chapter 3 Profile of the Organization 3.1. Year of Establishment Lakshmi Sweater Ltd is one of the largest Sweater Companies in Bangladesh. It is one of the leading providers of Sweater products to Europe and has substantial businesses elsewhere around the world. With a history dating back to 1996, Lakshmi Sweater Ltd has a 40 customer base worldwide. It has 18
  19. 19. more than TK 100 million of assets under management. At Nabi Nagar, Lakshmi Sweater Ltd has a long history dating back to 1996. Lakshmi Sweater Ltd has a joint venture with Denim Jeans Ltd, one of Bangladesh’s oldest, and largest Group of companies. 3.2. Vision of the company Lakshmi Sweater Ltd. - where exceeding expectations through innovative solutions is "our" way of life. This is the compelling vision of the Lakshmi Sweater Ltd. Bangladesh has created through the active contribution of its employees. These lines not only define the way they live and work but also serve as a reminder to deliver the best to their customers, shareholders, colleagues, partners & employees at all times. Embedded in this vision are the core values of Integrity, Customer centricity, Passion for winning, Innovation and Empowered team that they have collectively defined and committed to working towards. 3.3. Objectives of company Lakshmi Sweater Ltd. is committed to offer its client the highest quality products and services. Repeat business and referrals are the foundation of the company’s business. So a company’s goal helps to make the business successful. Some company objectives are as follows:  To promote a profitable and sustainable business activity that meets the customer’s needs.  To increase the company's market share  To gain the competitive edge  To increase the company's role in relations to social responsibility  To provide excellent customer service 3.4. Functions Lakshmi Sweater’s products are modern and contemporary that offer unique customer benefits like flexibility to choose cover levels, indexation and partial withdrawals. They also offer customer a choice of investment options. They can choose between their unit linked fund or our with profit fund. With Profits Fund guarantees that the selling price of the units will never fall. The unit value of this fund is increased by crediting bonuses on a daily compounding basis. The fund provides investment security to the capital. The Unit Linked Fund is designed to provide relatively more progressive 19
  20. 20. capital growth wherein customer automatically receive the benefit related to the investment performance of the fund. Some of our products they offer a choice of fund options: ⇒ Sweater Accessories ⇒ Knitting ⇒ Linking of Various Parts ⇒ Mending ⇒ Loop And Placket 3.5. Organogram of the company 3.6. Number of Employees Around 1000 employees are now working in Lakshmi sweater ltd. Of them most of the employees are female. 20 female employees are on maternity leave. 3.7. Present Programs Present social responsibilities of the organization include the followings:  Lakshmi sweater Ltd is providing scholarship to the children of the employees who secured CGPA-5. 20
  21. 21.  Lakshmi sweater ltd responded when Rana Plaza was collapsed with relief supplies.  Social welfare scheme launched for the employees.  Four months maternity leaves for the female employees. 3.8. Future Programs The future programs we are planning are as follows:  We are planning to increase six month of maternity leave instead of present four months for the female employees.  Free treatment facility for the employees during working hour.  Extend fund for relief during natural calamities.  Extend fund for education program for street children. 21
  22. 22. Chapter 4 Findings and Analysis 4.1 Towards corporate social responsibility Concern for the community is often mistaken for socialism. On the contrary, capitalism thrives only when every citizen is an asset in economic activity and has opportunities to succeed. "There is a three year old company that prides themselves on team work and helping one another out. In fact, recognizing that even the lowest paid employees in the company are within the top 1% of wage-earners on the planet implies that it is important for us to give back to everyone else. Service to the community is not an option but rather a requirement of the company and there is a direct relationship between salary (or more directly location on the organizational ladder) and amount of service hours required. Therefore, the senior partners have to do the most amount of service. Corporate social responsibility has much broader implications for the nation as a whole. It reduces dependency on the government for social change. Most governmental programs quickly become embroiled in political manipulation, corruption, communal overtones, and bitter infighting. There is a need for public-private partnership with well-defined controls and processes for the best use of resources for social change. Social reforms driven by the community will bring people together, turn the attention of the masses to tasks that benefit society, and reinforce peace and harmony. In recent times, a number of foundations set up by leading Indian firms, including Infosys, Wipro, Tatas, TVS, and Dr. Reddy's Laboratory, have taken a keen interest in corporate activism to improve healthcare, education, and living conditions, and reduce poverty. These foundations support numerous government primary schools and have developed processes and methodologies for effective change. They support hundreds of non-governmental organisations and have built orphanages, hospitals, and schools. However, the challenges in India are enormous. Social responsibility should not be limited to large successful corporations; there should be greater participation from most small, medium, and large businesses. The goodwill firms can generate from acts of social responsibility may, in fact, be worth far more to the businesses than the amounts they give. Various Corporations all over the 22
  23. 23. world collectively can make the world a better place for every citizen. Corporate social responsibility is about tradition and culture. Firms can institutionalize voluntarism among employees through appropriate incentives and recognition. Internal performance evaluation of employees could recognize community work. Community work can take many forms: teaching in government schools, supporting NGOs financially, empowering women, cleaning parks, planting trees, volunteering in orphanages, protecting the abused. Many corporations in the U.S. allow employees to write about their community service as part of their annual evaluation report. Even if companies do not reward community activities, at least, the idea that the company cares will have a positive impact. 4.2 Creating demand Corporate social responsibility can be much more than charity. An innovative way to contribute socially is for firms to spend in towns and villages, and to buy products from millions of artisans who are at the bottom of the economic pyramid. Much has been discussed about the Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid (Author: C. K. Prahalad), which calls for corporations to design products/services for the enormous population at the bottom of the pyramid. The basic assumption is that this population segment has some disposable income and firms can still make profits on large volume. Why not consider creating wealth at the bottom of the pyramid, which can increase disposable income and buying power? For example, firms can give artisans' products as corporate gifts or use them for interior decoration, which may have socially more redeemable value than current methods. If there are quality issues, then corporations can use their resources to increase quality awareness among artisans. Unfortunately, the above roles to create demand and improve quality rest on the government; however, resources spent for such activity hardly reach the intended beneficiaries. Further, corporations spending outside large cities can help spread wealth. Large corporations can exploit hundreds of historical places in rural towns and villages for corporate training, conferences, and getaways. Of course, innovative ways are needed to create decent hotels, restaurants, and basic amenities outside major cities. Government has championed building hotels to promote tourism; however, the initiatives are riddled with inefficiencies, poor service, and wasted resources. Private entities with support from several corporations can collectively build facilities on a time-sharing basis that will help invigorate economic activity. It is necessary to create jobs and economic activity in rural communities to uplift the masses. Unless wealthy corporations and individuals spend on goods and services that touch the masses, economic prosperity for most of the population will remain a dream. 23
  24. 24. Inculcating corporate social responsibility is also about training young minds and helping future generations organize themselves for greater good. Social responsibility needs to be deeply ingrained from childhood. In the U.S., increasingly admission to elite private and public universities is not only based on academic grades, but also participation in community activities and leadership roles. Social responsibility is about leadership, respect for fellow human beings, and checks and balances. It is not uncommon to find high school students volunteering in community work; in fact, students often accumulate points for school grades. Scholarships are awarded to those who show community leadership and academic performance. Unfortunately, in Bangladesh, admissions to even some of the best institutions like BUET and renowned public universities like Dhaka University are purely based on performance in entrance exams. Worse, entering the civil services is also about securing high grades in academic subjects. Thus, parents and young minds are focused intently on examinations and examinations alone. Obviously, the next generation is groomed likewise. To break this cycle, there needs to be a radical change in the incentive structure in the educational system, and admission and hiring process. Consideration must be given not only to grades, but also to leadership roles and societal impact; these may have greater value to corporations and society. Throughout my schooling not once did I engage in social or charity activity. There were hardly any role models at the faculty level or friends to look beyond classroom/books. My engineering institution in India and Bangladesh never promoted societal responsibilities. Contrast this with the UT-Austin, which actively supports and nurtures over 100-plus student-led organisations under the "Student Activities and Leadership Development" (SALD) program. Likewise, high schools engage with a large number of student-led organisations. While not all these organisations are about social work, many explicitly create awareness of leadership qualities and social responsibility. Most corporations in the U.S. expect potential employees to be active in the community and to show leadership. Interviewing processes emphasize community work. This encourages students to engage in social activities. At UT-Austin, MBA students raise money and food for local charities, and volunteer to build homes for the poor. Many student groups organize trips to underdeveloped countries for community work. Numerous undergraduate students visit poor neighborhoods to provide computer education to tackle the digital divide. Of course, one can criticize this as done to bolster their resumes. So what if that is the objective? The net result is significantly beneficial to the community. There is a remarkable community feeling that is developed and nurtured in the school environment, which they carry over to the corporate world. Every country should embrace the remarkable concept of individuals and businesses forming a partnership to support social causes. In the context of Bangladesh, such a partnership has enormous 24
  25. 25. potential for strengthening society. Corporate social responsibility and volunteerism have no boundaries and are not constrained by race, color, or religion. Sadly, concern for the community is often mistaken for socialism. On the contrary, capitalism thrives only when every citizen is an asset in economic activity and has opportunities to succeed. Corporate social responsibility is a culture and unwritten contract with the community. This invisible culture can shape brighter futures for nations. Chapter 5 Conclusion In this paper, I have explored the corporate social responsibility (CSR) in respect to Hinduism. Hinduism is a traditional way of life. Many specialists refer to Hinduism as Sanātana Dharma, "the eternal law" or the "eternal way". The Bhagavad-Gita is accepted as a universal body of knowledge and remains as a lifelong scientific and spiritual model for mankind. Business is viewed as legitimate and an integral part of society according to Vedic philosophy but essentially it should create wealth for the society through the right means of action. That means all the way Hinduism supports CSR for the betterment of the society and for the under privileged people and not accumulation of wealth for anyone’s personal happiness only. I hope this paper will provide a significant contribution to the literature on CSR from Hinduism and philosophical perspectives. 25
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