The other day we began discussing social responsibility and the different types of people that an organisation might have to answer to during the course of operation: organisational stakeholders, the environment, and the general public. I hope you really won’t be surprised to hear that while many people support corporate social responsibility, others do not. Let’s take a brief look at why.
Those who argue that social responsibility should exist are usually advocates for the environment or for society. They claim that many of the problems in the world today are caused by large organisations. Some of these problems include pollution and unemployment. Supporters claim that organisations should be held just as accountable as individual members of society, all of which make contributions to the overall welfare of the public. They also argue that most organisations have a profit margin that puts them in a position to make a larger contribution than the average individual.
Those who are against social responsibility make valid points as well. They feel as though the purpose of a business is to help owners earn a profit and that businessowners should have a choice as to how they spend that money. Others are afraid that businesses, many of which seem to have an incredible amount of power over society to being with, will only become more powerful if they are allowed or forced to make visible social contributions. It’s also unfair to ask a company to make a quality decision about which charitable organisations to support knowing that so many exist.
Do your management training courses cover the importance of social responsibility in the workplace? If not, consider whether or not they should. Your management teams and employees should have a clear vision of your social goals and missions. Having one will make it much easier for them to respond to critiques or questions if a client should ever pose one.
Originally published: 4 February, 2009
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