- August 7, 2015 at 11:03 am
@unyimeedem – I suggest in your methodology or in Part 2 you mention that your analysis will be covering Carroll’s Pyramid and include one of the usual images for this (referenced). As your stakeholder section will be dealing with profit and shareholder returns this covers the economic dimension. For legal and ethics there is some overlap. I think you are looking at some of the GRI issues on these and also discussing issues like chiild labour and the moral/ ethical issue of ‘legal’ global tax avoidance. You have also done a section on charitable and philanthropic initiatives so all round by the end you should have covered Caroll’s.
In your conclusion you can just relate back to your objectives and mention that in your work you have referred to various relevant models including Carroll’s and Mendelow as well as basing your work on the GRI so that you believe you have researched the theory of CSR adequately and by using many independent sources you have tried to give a balanced view of Apple’s actual CSR and ethical pracices. In this sense you won’t have a definite section called ‘Application of Caroll’s Pyramid’ but it will all be there and that is what counts. You can also more or less summarise the above when completing your Resubmission Statement. I am reliably informed that most markers review this and previous feedback to see whether a resubmitting student has followed the advice and then expect to see evidence of it in the work. This will show that you have addressed the issues and made all the necessary improvements (hopefully) and now deserve to receive a pass 🙂August 7, 2015 at 12:55 pm
Since am resubmitting my RAP, grateful if you could tell me :
1. whether my mentor is required to do the online mentoring course so that I can use his name while submitting. Also, whether it is free or my mentor needs to pay for it?.
2. Also am from Mauritius, where can I have a list of registered mentors for the rap.
thanks.August 7, 2015 at 4:02 pm
@unyimeedem – I forgot to mention this when it comes to philanthropy: there is often an inverse relationship in some companies between how much is given to charitable projects and the amount of publicity companies tend to give to it. A way of evaluating it is to see how much as a percentage of profit goes on such initiatives (if the Info is available) and whether it is increasing or decreasing in line with profit.
(Of course commercial companies exist for the benefit of their owners/ shareholders so there are limits on how much philanthropy can be given directly).August 7, 2015 at 5:59 pm
@tanvi2211 – For the rules about mentors you need to see the P31/32 Information Pack but you will have to use a listed mentor. The OBU website contains all the names and contact details so you should register there as a mentee.
If your existing mentor has not done the OBU Mentoring course they will have to pass this and meet the professional requirements in order to be listed. There is a charge for the Mentoring course – I believe it is about GBP 85. I am told this is because of the costs of setting up the mentoring website and maintaining it but it is not intended to run as a profit by OBU.( In actual fact I was told by the Programme Director, Jane Towers-Clarke that once all the set-up costs have been recooped there were proposals to use any surplus to assist students suffering particular financial hardship with their mentoring and submission costs. This way very poor students who had the ability would not be precluded from the degree program because they could not afford the marking fee etc. )August 7, 2015 at 6:40 pm
After consulting the Inf. pack, I am still confused. My existing mentor is a former lecturer in a university but is currently working in a financial company and PHD qualified. Does he still need to do the online mentoring course?
Thanks,August 7, 2015 at 8:09 pm
@tanvi2211 – The answer is most probably he will need to do the course but check with OBU’s admin office as they set the rules and therefore are the only ones who can give you a definitive answerAugust 26, 2015 at 4:26 pm
@trephena which company can I use as a benchmark to evaluate Apple’s CSR policies? my mentor said industry best practice but i have searched and did not find anything.
secondly, i would like for you to help review my work when am done. pls, its the last opportunity i have to pass. help me pls
thanksAugust 26, 2015 at 9:46 pm
Your mentor is right – you should try to benchmark some of the CSR aspects where possible with best practice. Take a look at this article – there are two pages of it and on the second you will see that Apple is ranked 9th behind Microsoft. I think it would be reasonable therefore for you to look at what Microsoft does that is perceived as better than Apple
You might also mention that both good governance and CSR start at the top and that the attitude of the leaders filters down and influences the culture of an organisation. You could mention that Bill Gates has set up the Bill Gates Foundation from his own personal fortune. I believe Tim Cook has pledged to give away a lot of his own fortune (but in this sense perhaps actions speak louder than words).
I am sorry but I am not able to review individual student work. Some experienced mentors who have the relevant skills are able to offer a specialist service in critically reading a completed report and providing a review feedback to help students pass. So you might like to consider this option. However as I have indicated to pass you need to: show balance in your research (use of some non-company sources); good and appropriate use of theories and models (particularly in applying them); demonstrate some critical thought (questioned, critiqued, compared and contrasted some aspects of the company’s CSR perhaps with some benchmarking) and not just accepted the company’s statements and its view; good layout (use adequate line spacing and diagrams, graphs and charts wherever possible); full and appropriate referencing (ensure that you have references in the appropriate place in the text and the designations match those in the list).
You must also ensure that you have addressed all of the marker feedback – the feedback sets out what the marker thought was missing or wrong and the next marker will expect you to have ensured that you have corrected all the deficiencies.
Finally do not make ‘sweeping statements’ that is saying how wonderful the company is. The marker is not interested in your personal opinion but they are interested in facts and proof of what the company is actually doing (as opposed to what it might say it is doing) and how this measures up to what is expected of them or to what others do . You are expected to stay fairly neutral and just present an objective report with good examples of both what it does well and perhaps what it does not do quite so well. Good luck! 🙂September 8, 2015 at 1:03 pm
I am doing Topic 20. under Business Ethics I have used the model by Johnson, Scholes and Whittington’s the three levels of business ethics but my mentor is suggesting that Gary Owens and Adams 7 stances of CSR will be a better fit. I am confused as to how this would be relevant. Please advise.September 8, 2015 at 5:32 pm
@naureen – although some application of models is required the emphasis in T20 is actually establishing how ethically the company operates in practice. This means that you need to research so that you can establish the reality not just what the company says it does.
So the answer to your question really depends on which model your research indicates would be best. The marker wants to see some definite application not just a long discursive commentary on the theory of ethics.
Normally in fact I suggest that students apply Carroll’s Pyramid as it is relatively straight forward and do Mendelow’s for stakeholders. The theory behind Carroll’s can be set out and examples given. Some of the dimensions can also be developed further within the stakeholder analysis te.g.economic for shareholders etc (see the link to the Kaplan knowledge bank for further examples): http://kfknowledgebank.kaplan.co.uk/KFKB/Wiki%20Pages/Theories%20of%20Corporate%20Social%20Responsibility.aspx
Areas markers may home in on are (a) philanthropy – they expect some discussion of the company’s charitable initiatives. (b) They also seem to have come to expect some examination of ethical practices within the supply chain (and how well the company audits and manages this) and (c) the reality of the employer-employee relationship (e.g. are workers paid the minimum wage? what is the percentage of the compensation package to the CEO to the average employee and is this rising faster than their wages?).
I have suggested that students also look at how a company arranges its tax affairs and look for independent articles that examine in effect whether the company proactively tries to avoid paying tax in some jurisdictions to minimize tax and how ethical this is given that they are making profit from consumers in that country but giving little back to the community as a whole. As I said the emphasis is on the reality not the company statements. Markers seem to want a balanced report and fail if it is overly reliant on the pious platitudes that the company sets out in its CSR statements unless there is proof that the idealised version co-incides with what they actually do in practiceSeptember 8, 2015 at 6:51 pm
@ Trephena, thank you very much. Your suggestions are indeed very helpful. I have already used Carroll’s CSR pyramid and Mendelow’s matrix in addition to that I was thinking of using Johnson Scholes and Whittington’s three levels of business ethics to justify my analysis about the company’s ethical stances.
As you suggested I will put more emphasis on the philanthropic activities of the company. This is my first submission and I really hope to pass. Any suggestions would be highly appreciated.September 9, 2015 at 10:01 am
@naureen – as I have suggested on this forum topic previously – don’t just re-write the company’s CSR statement – question it and critique it and look for independent evidence to either support or contradict the stance they are projecting. Remember it may not be what the company says it does, but what it doesn’t actually say it does (i.e. glosses over what it thinks doesn’t promote it in a good light – like the tax issue) that may be more important!
Remember layout is also important – make it as pleasing as possible: adequate line spacing, headings, sub-headings and graphs and charts where you can to ‘liven’ up the text. Also ensure you reference fully and correctly – see the new article and FAQs that I have produced on our homepage for this: http://www.opentuition.com/obu
And don’t overlook the SLS – surprisingly even some students who get an A or a B for the report have been known to fail it!September 9, 2015 at 10:36 pm
@Trephena-Thank you very much again. I find your suggestions extremely helpful.October 15, 2015 at 1:01 pm
@trephena I have completed my report but the word count is 7,505. I have trimmed over and over but there’s nothing left to remove from the report.
Do you think I will be penalized for having extra 5 words?October 16, 2015 at 7:39 am
@ Trephena thanks alotNovember 1, 2015 at 8:55 am
Submission Check list for T20
Ensure you do a BRIEF ‘literary review’ in Part 2 about the development and background of CSR to put your topic in a context. Mention some of the elements that are considered to be best practice. Also remember that CSR varies from country to country so if you are using a non-British company don’t forget that you are submitting for a British University and so aspects of the European definition of CSR which is more comprehensive than CSR as viewed in the USA for example (and some countries) should be considered when assessing the company (see the OECD definition for what this may involve:
Other things to reflect on and ensure that you have covered:
1. Have you made some comparisons with another company /other companies operating in a similar sector particularly on aspects where your company may not be performing so well or conversely is excelling?
2. Have you based most of your work on primary data? – if so you need to remedy this fast…
3. Have you considered all the relevant stakeholders properly? There are two parts to T20 and it does not end with just employees and shareholders – communities both in the country it is registered in and those countries it operates in are equally important (as I have mentioned on the forum think about whether it gives much back to countries it makes a lot of profit from or is it ‘exploiting’ them – avoiding tax, paying low wages, and could do more in terms of charitable efforts?)
4. Do you have external evidence of the company’s CSR? – commentary from analysists/ financial pages of the press or from websites that examine a company’s ethics e.g.
5. On the subject of ethics – this is part of the Title and subject brief so ensure you cover it adequately – are the board members ‘squeaky clean’ – any evidence of how committed they really are to CSR and ethics? has the company for example been implicated in using suppliers who use child labour or other ‘unsavoury’ practices (environmental pollution, failures in health and safety to maximize profit) or do their CEOs lead the field e.g. Bill Gates has used his personal fortune for his charitable foundation? (Remember companies exist to make a profit so there are limits on giving shareholder profits to charities but those at the top can give their own money away). ‘Tone at the top’ is important!
6. Have you used visual means to display your information wherever possible – saves both on words and lots of boring long paragraphs so makes your work far more interesting to read. (Not so easy with this topic but try to bring in a few diagrams, charts and graphics to break up the text – it makes your work look so much more appealing)
7. And don’t just accept what the Board writes in their CSR statements – Remember the CSR statement to a certain extent is a bit of a PR exercise. (It always interests me how much space in the financial statements is given over telling people about the company’s charitable and community initiatives in relation to how much they have actually given in terms of money) How much have they given as a percentage of net profit? Is that trend increasing/static/decreasing? How much have they given in total to charity/community projects compared with dividends declared for the year? – again is this trend increasing/static/decreasing?
8. Question and look for proof (comparisons and research for articles on the company in the business press). A pass requires some critical thought not blind allegiance and a re-write of the company’s CSR statement…..
9. …so don’t forget to question and critique the company’s statements. Maybe they are doing a good job but don’t assume just because they say they are, this is the reality – they are hardly going to say that they have complex company legal structures and complicated internal transfer arrangements so that they can get away with paying little or no tax in jurisdictions where corporation tax is high and are more likely to say that ‘they pay all tax as due’ which belies what is really going on (remember Facebook paying less than GBP 5k – yes 5k –in UK tax which is less than the average UK tax payer)
10. You need to appreciate that CSR like CG is a developing dynamic subject so you must show you are ‘on the ball’. Although you may have used the latest annual report and CSR statement as the basis of your Findings and analysis do a final check on your company as you have to consider any more recent dramatic/important developments that may have occurred since the report was published that may impact on the entity’s CSR. For example the big scandal regarding Volkswagen Cars that suddenly came to light that shows that VW cars are not just environmentally polluting more than was previously admitted but demonstrates perhaps the company’s real take on CSR in both putting profit before green issues (and literally taking everyone for a ride) by deceiving the customer! So be factual and unbiased when drawing your conclusions and don’t overly praise the company (or deprecate it) without EVIDENCE
Don’t forget to look at the general submission checklist (at the top of our Forum page) for other submission tips and guidance
Good luck 😀November 1, 2015 at 10:50 am
Thanks a lot @trephena
I’m now comparing my report with this checklistMarch 15, 2016 at 12:49 pm
For period 32 i have selected topic 20.but the company i have choosen their fiscal year ends at 30 june so basically the latest financial and CSR reports available is for 2015.there is quarterly information available on the company website but they are not audited ones.so what should i do?do i use the unaudited latest informations as well or just usr the audited ones.Thank you.March 15, 2016 at 1:09 pm
There are no obligation for topic 20 that you use latest available CSR Reports.
So, i would recommend use latest audited CSR Reports which are available.
Hammad Ahmed Qureshi – OBU Registered Mentor.March 15, 2016 at 1:14 pm
Thank you sir.March 15, 2016 at 1:19 pm
@ Ahmed Qureshi
If i choose a competitor which is not entirely similar to my choosen company will that that be okay.i mean their products are not similar but they operate in the same industry.Thank you.March 15, 2016 at 1:20 pm
I meant products are not ebtirely similar for eg.Google and oracle corporation.
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