“Shame on you, KFC!”

Dirty DishesCan Corporate America sink any lower? There’s plenty of muck to be raked in the China stables of US companies if this horrific headline is to be believed. 

KFC Gives No Satisfactory Explanation For Dirty Plate

OK you ask, surely there’s more to this story and why is it being featured in China CSR?  Well folks that pretty much is the whole story, except there may have been several plates and the “dirt” was a “stinky yellow filth.”  KFC has offered compensation and an apology, but the diners’ demands to have the “stinky yellow filth” identified have so far not been satisfied.  My advice (since no one appears to have gotten sick): forget about getting that explanation.  Sure, I want to know what that black scaly thing was in the white rice my daughter purchased last week from our local noodle house, but that knowledge isn’t going to make anyone feel any better. 

More importantly what does this incident have to do with Corporate Social Responsibility?  I thought the premise of CSR was that corporations should consider the interests of all impacted stakeholders, not just the economic interests of shareholders, when operating their businesses.  Surely such time-honored, profit-driving concepts as “the customer is always right” would provide a satisfactory response to all involved in this incident.  After all the premise behind that aphorism is that the customer is occasionally, in fact, mistaken, irrational, and/or larcenous, but our business interests will be better served if we act in a way that enhances customer loyalty.  I suppose such long-term perspectives are not as current these days, and maybe that is a concept CSR attempts to push back into the equation.  However, if the definition of CSR is expanded to the point where it suggests responses where traditional profit-making motives should suffice to accommodate all stakeholder interests, doesn’t it risk diluting, or worse, trivializing, its impact? 

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