Every company, no matter what its size, has a certain level of social responsibility (whether the CEO’s want to admit it or not). Everything you do has an impact on society as a whole, whehter that impact is small or widely recognized. It’s important to understand the different types of corporate social responsibility, of which there are three main categories:
Organisational stakeholders are people, whether individuals or other organisations, who are directly impacted by the actions a company takes. Organisational stakeholders are made up of creditors, suppliers, employees, owners, the government, and a number of others. The actions a company often focus on their main stakeholders and how they would respond. For example, a company that considers their customers amongst their main stakeholders would always strive to treat them as fairly as possible.
The natural environment is another area in which organisations have social responsibility. Responsibility towards the environment pertains to matters concerning pollution, the disposal of waste, and anything else that might impact the world we live in. Many companies now have departments dedicated towards making sure their operations have as little impact on the environment as possible.
There are a few people and organisations who believe that major corporations should be responsible for the general welfare of the community at large. This means hosting events for the public, making financial contributions to charitable organisations, or helping to improve the public education system.
Some of these areas of social responsibility, such as general welfare, are the subject of considerable controversy. In the coming weeks we’ll take a closer look of the arguments for and against social responsibility as well as how companies can approach their goals as they apply to social responsibility.
In the meantime, take a step back and look at your organisation. Are you, as a manager, an organisational stakeholder? What about your employees and customers? Does your organisation take your concerns into consideration? Share your thoughts. I’d love to hear what you think!
Originally published: 2 February, 2009