Since the 1970s, the assertion the ultimate purpose of any publicly held corporation is to maximize shareholder wealth has come under increasing fire. Many companies and their executives still hold to this tenet, and it is still taught as a guiding principle in major business schools around the world. However, alternative views are gaining acceptability in both professional and scholarly circles. In fact, some scholars have gone so far as to suggest there really isn’t a conflict between social and financial goals at all. Research continues to emerge supporting the idea that the pursuit of so-called “socially responsible behavior” may not only be morally good but also financially advantageous.
Upon successful completion of this discussion, you will be able to:
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) can been defined as “discretionary actions undertaken by companies intended to advance social issues” (Richardson, Welker, & Hutchinson, 1999, p. 18). CSR has been the subject of heated debate since at least 1932, when Merrick Dodd (1932) wrote, “For Whom are Managers Trustees?” Citing the philanthropic efforts of several companies, Dodd wrote about a new view of the corporation that was emerging, “a view of the business corporation as an economic institution which has a social service as well as a profit-making function” (p. 1148).
The idea that corporate social responsibility could actually be a profitable undertaking, however, is one of the most hotly debated topics in all of social science (Kolstad, 2007). Literally hundreds of studies have now been conducted on the relationship between corporate social responsibility and organizational performance, with little consensus. Nevertheless, by the turn of the century, this idea had fully taken hold in the professional world. In an article titled “How Good Should Your Business Be?” the Economist (2008) noted for most modern managers “the only real question about CSR is how to do it” (p. 12).
Dodd Jr., E. (1932, May). For whom are corporate managers trustees? Harvard Law Review, 45(7), 1145–1163. doi:10.2307/1331697
How good should your business be? (2008, January 19). The Economist.
Kolstad, I. (2007). Why firms should not always maximize profits. Journal of Business Ethics, 76(2), 137–145.
Richardson, A. J., Welker, M., & Hutchinson, I. R. (1999). Managing capital market reactions to corporate social responsibility. International Journal of Management Reviews, 1(1), 17–43. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2370.00003
Despite the claims of many scam artists and get-rich-quick gurus, there are very few real secrets to finance. However, if there is any special magic to be acquired through a study of finance, it would have to be the time value of money. The principles of the time value of money can take a modest salary, combined with discipline and time, and turn it into a considerable pile of wealth. The world’s wealthiest people understand the incredible power of compound interest and the time value of money. It is also the basis for powerful discounted cash flow techniques that are essential to good decision making in business.
Upon successful completion of this assignment, you will be able to:
“Capital budgeting” is the process of evaluating major, strategic investments. Every business of any significant size has a capital budgeting process. Like other critical business processes, it can be measured and improved, and it can either serve as a competitive advantage or a significant obstacle to success.
Good capital budgeting processes involve the use of discounted cash flow techniques based on the principles of the time value of money. Your understanding of these principles and techniques and the ability to apply them effectively make you extremely valuable to any organization. It can separate you from the pack. Furthermore, these principles can radically alter your perspective on personal finance, and possibly enable you to change the financial direction of your entire family.
With this assignment, you will complete a series of short exercises designed to help you develop your skills with time value of money principles and techniques and to apply them to real-world capital-budgeting decisions.
Throughout this course, you have strengthened your understanding of financial principles. You have learned how to prepare and interpret financial statements and how to develop financial plans to support decision making. Capital budgeting involves both financial planning and decision making. Such decisions are often the most difficult and high-stakes a business will face. So, it is time to get some practice. This mini case presents a common real-life situation: evaluating a major investment to decide if it is a wise use of the company’s limited resources.
Upon successful completion of this assignment, you will be able to:
In this workshop, you learned techniques for analyzing capital-budgeting problems using time value of money principles. These techniques are very common in practice, but relatively few understand how to properly apply them, and the consequences of a mistake can be deadly. In the real world, capital budgeting requires discerning, meticulous people who can ask tough questions, challenge assumptions and stay objective. This exercise is designed to give you an opportunity to do the cold analysis of capital budgeting, applying these techniques to a real-life scenario.
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