IKEA Has Good Social Responsibility


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Riddle me this: You’re walking down the street and see someone drop five dollars on the
ground and they haven’t noticed it fell out of their pocket. Would you pick it up and keep it for
yourself? Or would you return it to the owner? Now try this! You own your own business selling
microwaves. You have to pick a vendor for your supplies to make the microwaves however, you
are on a strict time schedule and low budget. Vendor A has everything you need, can get you the
supplies within 24-48 hours and is completely within your budget but, the quality can potentially
be dangerous to consumers as far as the radiation it gives off when in use to not only the air
quality but the food. Vendor B cost more than half your budget and will take one month
minimum to prepare and ship your supplies. But this will allow you to produce safer quality
microwaves. You can make more money and fast with Vendor A in comparison to Vendor B.
Which vendor would you choose? In other words, we make ethical decisions every day. This
doesn’t exclude businesses that we know and love.
Social Responsibility
Major businesses play a vital role in today’s society with the ethical decisions they make.
This is often referred to as social responsibility. According to Pachamama Alliance, Social
Responsibility is “is an ethical theory, in which individuals are accountable for fulfilling their
civic duty; the actions of an individual must benefit the whole of society. In this way, there must
be a balance between economic growth and the welfare of society and the environment”. (2019).
In light of that businesses must also have social responsibility especially when they are
producing products that effect consumers in one way or another. It would be ideal for all
businesses to have good social responsibility but, sadly this isn’t the case for all businesses. With
that in mind if we make good social responsibility a trend and more prevalent than maybe it
could increase the number of businesses with good social responsibility to nearly all. For
example, a company with good social responsibility is IKEA.
IKEA is a furniture retailing business that sells ready to assemble furniture. IKEA was
founded in 1943. Their vision and business idea are:
Vision: “We have a passion for life at home. Our culture is built upon enthusiasm,
togetherness and a “get-it-done” attitude. We’re optimists, constantly looking for new
and better ways to do things, from how to design a rocking chair that fits into a flat-pack,
to creating LED light bulbs that are affordable to everyone. Our vision is to create a
better everyday life for the many people – for customers, but also for our co-workers and
the people who work at our suppliers”
Business Idea: “to offer a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing
products at prices so low, that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.”
Most popularly they produce home furnishing the also have a philanthropic aspect as well. The
IKEA foundation is an organization that helps the welfare of society by not only donating
funding but IKEA products to those in need. In accordance with the text, Business and Society
by Ferrell Thorne Ferrell sixth edition, IKEA demonstrates two concepts that impact their good
social responsibility; chapter 5 organizational culture (organizational or corporate), and chapter
11 sustainability.
Organizational Culture
Ferrell Thorne Ferrell defines organizational or corporate culture as “a set of values,
beliefs, and artifacts shared by members or employees of an organization” (p.170). IKEA does
this by having set values that drive the overall culture of the company. IKEA values are
togetherness, caring for people and planet, cost consciousness, simplicity, renew and improve,
different with a meaning, give and take responsibility, and lead by example. (Working at the
IKEA Group). According to IKEA, these values are to create a culture that depicts that of
IKEA’s Swedish roots. IKEA also creates an equal opportunity for all employees and aspiring
employees. They currently have a 50:50 gender ratio and partner with supporting foundations of
the LGBTQ+ community. This then creates diversity and inclusiveness within the organization.
Organizations need diversity as it brings more perspectives than one to the decision-making table
or just as it pertains to innovation ideas etc. that could potentially bring the company more
opportunities and with more opportunities comes more money. Same concept applies with ethics
as different cultures have different ethics and with a fairly mixed group of people who all come
from different cultural backgrounds, they will also have differing ethics/morals. Ethical Diversity
“refers to the fact that employee values differ from person to person” (p.169). Therefore,
organizational values must be appropriately determined in a way that can fit everyone in some
way (inclusiveness) and still gives a positive portrait of the organization and what they stand for.
Additionally, this will lead to a positive work culture in the organization. As IKEA has these
things this is one reason why they have good social responsibility because they have a good
organizational culture within which effects the quality the exude to consumers. Given that, this
tyoe of organizational culture promotes everyone within the organization to emanate exceptional
customer service skills that strengthen IKEA’s good social responsibility.
Ferrell Thorne Ferrell defines sustainability as “the potential for long term well being of
the natural environment, including all biological entities, as well as the interaction among nature
and individuals, organizations, and business strategies” (p.360). IKEA has two imperative raw
materials that they heavily use in producing their products; cotton and wood. IKEA stated that
100% of their cotton comes from a sustainable source and they’re working to do the same with
the supplier of their wood by this year, 2020. “Since 2015, all the cotton we use for IKEA
products comes from more sustainable sources. This means that the cotton is either recycled, or
grown with less water, chemical fertilizer and pesticide… when it comes to wood, our goal is to
source all of our wood from more sustainable sources by 2020” (IKEA – A sustainable IKEA).
Additionally, IKEA has a variety of test labs that allows them to test their products. “Our
designers, product developers and engineers consider how a product is likely to be used – and
abused – and test it accordingly” (IKEA – Developing safe products you can trust). This
demonstrates that IKEA takes the extra precaution to test their products by not only making sure
that they can perform the task they are supposed to but making sure they won’t be harmful to
consumers if used in any other manner than the one that it is intended to. IKEA Also test for
things like Global Product Safety in regard to, affecting the environment. Baby and Child safety
to see is this product safe for kids to play with as they find various way to play with toys.
Chemical safety in relation to the environment and possible skin hazards. Stability safety to see if
sturdy products are stable and sturdy to perform its appropriate task. They test for Electrical
safety. Holes, gaps, and openings for ensure that a person and/or any type of limbs could get
stuck in openings on select furniture that is designed to have holes, gaps, and/or openings.
Lastly, they test for small parts safety by purposely excluding any small pieces in baby products
to prevent choking hazards. IKEA states, “We evaluate safety, quality, and environmental impact
in a wide range of areas, such as chemicals, fire, surfaces, corrosion, lighting and electronics,
function and durability, washing and assembly” (IKEA – Developing safe products you can
trust). All in all, IKEA sustainability practices contribute to their good social responsibility.
A sustainable IKEA. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ikea.com/us/en/this-is-ikea/about-ikea/asustainable-ikea-pub0b61e238
About IKEA – Vision & Business idea. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2020, from
Developing safe products you can trust. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ikea.com/us/en/this-isikea/design/how-ikea-develops-safe-products-pub2e79be51
Ferrell, O. C., Thorne, D. M., & Ferrell, L. (2017). Business and society: a strategic approach to
social responsibility & ethics. Boston: Chicago Business Press.
Social Responsibility and Ethics. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.pachamama.org/socialjustice/social-responsibility-and-ethics
Working at the IKEA Group. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ikea.com/in/en/working-at-theikea-group/-pubbc667ec1

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