Ford Motor Company’s Stakeholders: A CSR Analysis

Ford Motor Company stakeholders interests, corporate social responsibility analysis and case study
A 2009-2011 Ford Fiesta (WS) Zetec 5-door hatchback. Ford Motor Company’s diverse corporate social responsibility programs effectively satisfy stakeholders’ interests. (Photo: Public Domain)

Ford Motor Company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs are designed to respond to the demands and interests of the firm’s stakeholders. Ford impacts these stakeholder groups through its business activities. At the same time, the stakeholders are significant because they affect the company through their purchases and sociopolitical pressure. As one of the biggest U.S.-based automobile manufacturers, Ford must address the needs of its stakeholders to maintain its industry position. Thus, improving corporate social responsibility efforts can help sustain Ford’s long-term development toward its aim of becoming the global market leader.

Ford Motor Company’s comprehensive corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs address stakeholders’ interests and optimize the firm’s relations with target customers around the world.

Ford Motor Company’s Stakeholder Groups & CSR Initiatives

Ford’s stakeholders are comprehensively addressed through various corporate social responsibility initiatives and programs. The following is Ford’s prioritization of its stakeholders, with customers having the highest priority:

  1. Customers (Ford’s top-priority stakeholders)
  2. Employees
  3. Investors
  4. Communities (Ford’s least-priority stakeholders)

Customers. Ford’s top-priority stakeholders are its customers. The interests of this stakeholder group are high quality products and services, especially after-sales services. Customers are significant stakeholders because they directly determine the company’s revenues. Ford’s corporate social responsibility efforts for this stakeholder group are as follows:

  1. Product innovation for quality, fuel economy, and safety
  2. Ford Smart Mobility
  3. Ford Driving Skills for Life program

Ford Motor Company continues to innovate its products for quality, fuel economy, and safety to maximize satisfaction among customers as stakeholders. Majority of the firm’s 2015 vehicles received five-star ratings from the United States New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). Also, the Ford Smart Mobility program aims to increase mobility and provide autonomous/driverless vehicles. In addition, the Ford Driving Skills for Life free driver education program helps novice drivers develop skills for safe and efficient driving. Thus, Ford’s corporate social responsibility programs extend beyond just offering vehicles, and improve the driving skills of customers as the top stakeholders.

Employees. Ford considers its employees as second-level priority stakeholders. This stakeholder group is interested in career development, high wages, and equal treatment and opportunities. Employees are significant stakeholders because they influence the production and service capacity of the business. For instance, even a small decline in this stakeholder group leads to a proportionate decline in the company’s productivity and performance. To address the interests of employees as stakeholders, Ford has the following corporate social responsibility initiatives:

  1. Sustainable Workforce
  2. Product Online Training
  3. Global Learning and Development
  4. Global leadership development programs

Ford Motor Company has reformed its workplace safety policies through time to protect this stakeholder group and ensure regulatory compliance. The firm’s Sustainable Workforce initiative aims to optimize employees’ health, efficiency and productivity. For instance, Ford’s new global safety standards have reduced workplace injuries by 90% since 2000. The company also offers online product training to keep this stakeholder group always up-to-date and capable of doing their jobs. In addition, the firm’s corporate social responsibility efforts include the Global Learning and Development program, which offers continuing education through classroom-based and online courses, as well as mentoring and shadowing to maximize performance and satisfaction in the stakeholder group. Moreover, Ford has global leadership and development programs like (a) the Global Leadership Summit for executives and general managers, (b) the Global Executive Leadership Program for directors and senior managers, (c) the Experienced Leader Program for middle managers, and (d) the Salaried Supervisor Institute/Program (SSI) for new or experienced leaders. These programs reflect Ford’s corporate social responsibility and dedication to support the interests of employees as one of the company’s most important stakeholder groups.

Investors. Ford Motor Company’s investors are interested in maximum profits and business stability. These stakeholders are significant because they affect the firm’s capital. To address the interests of this stakeholder group, Ford implemented the One Ford plan in 2008 under former CEO Alan Mulally’s leadership to achieve consistency and synergy in its global organization. The One Ford plan reduces costs and maximizes the company’s profits worldwide. This effort is part of Ford’s corporate social responsibility strategy to improve its performance, especially in the aftermath of the recession of the late 2000s.

Communities. Ford has a number of major corporate social responsibility programs for communities as stakeholders. The interests of this stakeholder group include support for community development, as well as environmental conservation. Communities are significant stakeholders because they can influence the perceptions of Ford’s customers. These interests are addressed through the following corporate social responsibility programs at the company:

  1. Supplier sustainability training
  2. Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services
  3. Ford Volunteer Corps
  4. Ford Driving Skills for Life program

Ford Motor Company provides sustainability training to its suppliers to improve their sustainability performance, which is linked to environmental impact. Also, the Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services is the company’s nonprofit organization for a wide variety of philanthropic efforts for this stakeholder group. For example, the firm’s corporate social responsibility efforts provide investments for community irrigation, as well as education programs in rural areas. In relation, the Ford Volunteer Corps, mainly composed of the company’s employees, supports community development. Moreover, the Ford Driving Skills for Life program also ensures that driving does not create issues with community safety. Thus, the company’s corporate social responsibility activities for these stakeholders are diverse.

Ford Motor Company’s CSR Performance in Addressing Stakeholders’ Interests

Ford has excellent corporate social responsibility performance. The company has major programs and strategies to address the interests of its stakeholders. The improvement in the company’s performance following the 2008 reform under the One Ford plan is of note. However, for long-term sustainable operations, the company must emphasize more of product development and cost minimization in its corporate social responsibility efforts. For example, more affordable, more energy-efficient, hybrid or electric vehicles can increase customer satisfaction and add to the company’s business performance.

  • Ford Motor Company (2013). Ford’s New Sustainable Workforce Initiative Helps Ensure Hourly Employee Health, Efficiency and Productivity.
  • Ford Motor Company (2015). Leadership Development.
  • Ford Motor Company (2015). Product Online Training.
  • Ford Motor Company (2015). Supporting One Ford.
  • Ford Motor Company (2015). Sustainability Report 2014/2015.
  • Ford Motor Company (2015). The Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services.
  • Miles, M. P., Munilla, L. S., & Darroch, J. (2006). The role of strategic conversations with stakeholders in the formation of corporate social responsibility strategy. Journal of Business Ethics69(2), 195-205.
  • Pater, A., & Van Lierop, K. (2006). Sense and sensitivity: the roles of organisation and stakeholders in managing corporate social responsibility. Business Ethics: A European Review15(4), 339-351.
  • Peloza, J., & Shang, J. (2011). How can corporate social responsibility activities create value for stakeholders? A systematic review. Journal of the academy of Marketing Science39(1), 117-135.
  • Vos, J. F. (2003). Corporate social responsibility and the identification of stakeholders. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management,10(3), 141-152.
  • Werther Jr., W. B., & Chandler, D. (2010). Strategic corporate social responsibility: Stakeholders in a global environment. Sage Publications.