Ethical issues in civil society


What ethical issues in civil society and what actions can civil society take to influence corporations and their business practices? Use examples to illustrate your response.


The term ‘civil society’ is commonly used to denote a distinction from the economic sphere or organizations which are about profit. All along, civil society has been meeting a lot of pressure across the globe; the emergence of democracy has played a greater part in influencing civil society. The rise of democracy has led to the limitation in the space in which civil society maneuver. The difference in organization between political, economic and social systems is persistent but we have over-lapping areas, we need to taken into consideration these differences as they all contribute to ethical issues in civil society. The civil society takes actions to influence corporate and business through special organizations. However, this paper relates ethical issues in civil society and the actions that civil society can take to influence corporations and their business practices.

Ethical issues relate to regulation issues such as governmental & corporate agenda-setting, environmental protection and working conditions. Institutions cannot inter-operate and relate in a desirable manner if ethical issues are not well presented. Standardization of ethics is therefore necessary; a body was developed to make sure that ethical standards are kept in check. The Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) which is a major organization within civil society that make corporate and businesses correlate together bringing the best outcome from corporation of institutions and regulating ethical issues.

There are many organizations that are being incorporated into regulatory decision-making processes; this is being done directly and formally, main reason being to attempt to bring democracy in participation of regulatory bodies. Taking Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) as an example, we establish the corporation and working of companies and business premises through this body.

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) is non-governmental oraginzation, charities, trusts, foundations, avocacy groups, and national and international non-stata associations, all of which are civil organazation within civil society. CSOs is a wide body, their focus is varies widely and it need to be treated with vigilance as it represents a identical grouping.  CSOs presents its membership in local, national or international levels. CSOs has positively influenced corporations such as The International Amateur Athletic Federation which has more than 21 member states and World Council of Churches; and informal networks which are non-hierarchical and egalitarian, such as the women’s movement. The influence of CSOs is such a massive as employment opportunities have been created by this body, some CSOs are entirely staffed by volunteers though. CSOs ambitions include global environmental improvement and elimination of meticulous discriminations.

Most organizations perform corporate social responsibility amid regulatory bodies such as CSOs. The main objective of corporate social responsibility is to attain organization sustainability by relating with customers, stakeholders and other players in the market.  For instance, Toms company which is a shoe company founded by Blake Mycoskie is an example of a multinational company whose core culture is providing shoes for the less unfortunate children in less developed countries. This company is entirely a charitable organization which practices corporate social responsibility in all his business activities.

Through the globalization, CSOs have shaped relations with firms. Engagement with overseas CSOs where new set of local CSOs, this is where many unfamiliar groups come to terms. Global issues & causes may come under pressure on problems that transcend national boundaries and jurisdictions for example climate change and human rights.

Increasingly, more intensive collaboration brought about by CSOs include corporate foundations to channe philanthropy and employee volunteering -this allows achievement of several aims which include making meaningful social contribution, enhancing firm’s status, increased employee confidence among other contributions.

In conclusion, CSOs has played a big part in influencing corporations and their business practices, from local view to national and international view, CSOs has contributed to firms and corporations inter-operating in better ways. CSOs present itself with some limitations, these include difficulties managing relations between culturally diverse organizations, partnership may appear to mask continuing hostility and power imbalances, difficulties ensuring cosistency and commitment among others. Examination of 10 cases in Brazil, India, South Africa shown that both business and CSOs benefit (reputation, resources, etc), benefit for communities was less predictable & lower.


Knudsen, J. S., & Moon, J. (2013). The Regulatory Configurations of Political CSR: International Interactions of Business, Civil Society and Government.Civil Society and Government (March 16, 2013).

Knudsen, J. S., & Moon, J. (2012). Corporate social responsibility as mutual governance: International interactions of government, civil society and business. Civil Society and Business (October 18, 2012).

Baur, D., & Schmitz, H. P. (2012). Corporations and NGOs: When accountability leads to co-optation. Journal of Business Ethics106(1), 9-21.

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