Definition of Social Responsibility

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Definition of Social Responsibility

Every year, the global economy has increasingly evident tendency to revise the basic tenets of doing business, to change in its major landmarks, priorities and values. The “wild capitalism” in which each participant is trying to fast, without taking into account the interests of other actors (and sometimes – with intentional disregard or violation of these interests) to accumulate large amounts of capital, rooted in the past. Its place is taken by a modern type of business that focuses on society’s needs and interests – a socially responsible business (Cooperrider, 2008). Such process has modern re-orientation purposes and interests of the business, and it is not accidental. It is caused by the objective reasons connected with the evolution of business values.

Organization is a complex part of the external environment on which depends the very existence of the organization itself. Components of this environment include customers, suppliers, local communities, the media, etc. This social environment can strongly influence the achievement of their goals now, so organizations have to balance the purely economic objectives with the economic and social interests of the constituents of the medium. Consequently, social responsibility is organizing actions undertaken for the benefit of society voluntarily, and not required by law. Organizations should devote part of their resources and efforts on social channels. They have to sacrifice for the benefit and improvement of society. Moreover, companies have a responsibility to act in the areas of environmental protection, health and safety, consumer protection. Acting responsible the organization will be trusted by the society and will be able to receive more profit and opportunities to develop its performance.

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Thus, corporate social responsibility of the company, as a term, can be defined as a voluntary initiative of the owner of the company or the founders of the organization for the development and implementation of certain socially-oriented, non-profit activities that aim to improve the quality of the external environment of the company or organization. Corporate social responsibility can be subject to the achievement of sustainable development and self-responsible companies and organizations that meet their long-term interests contributed to social peace, security and well-being of citizens, environment protection, and respect for human rights.

Taking social responsibility allows organizations to strengthen ties with the various elements of the environment: it means to directly or indirectly affect the public institutions in a timely manner to adjust to changes in public opinion, etc. It also does not allow the organization to realize the full economic principles focus on earnings and savings of resources; requires the organization and the ability to choose the best to solve the social problems the solution of which is well-reflected in the organization’s image and relationships. Social responsibility demands the organization of a permanent, the most complete and the most spectacular public awareness about its social activities (Hopkins et al, 2009).

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However, despite the increasing spread of the principles of corporate social responsibility and awareness of the benefits that they provide both businesses and society, the limits of social responsibility are very blurred. Depending on the purpose of the study, each author interprets corporate social responsibility in its own way. Someone limits the social responsibility of business to the producing of high-quality, safe products for consumers; someone places an emphasis on additional social protection of the workers. Other authors reduce it to the manifestations of charity, support, education, science, culture and spirituality, an active environmental policy. The display of responsibility also shows if a business manifests itself as a reliable business partner who observes the laws and supporting justice, etc. Therefore, social responsibility cannot be determined unambiguously. It is a broad and multifaceted concept. Generally, it can be defined as a socially responsible business entrepreneurship, which uses only the methods of making profits that are not harmful to people, nature, society, and in some cases, should assume some of the functions of the state in the field of social security, health care, culture, sports development, environmental protection and so on.

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The company’s management is placed to control the moral “health” of organization, using techniques such as personal example, a code of ethics and different ethical framework. First of all, it should be based on the personal example which helps to build sustainable and socially responsible organization. Director and senior managers of the company should openly and confidently maintain standards of ethical conduct, initiate upgrade of the ethical values ​​of the organization (Posner, 2009). Commitment to ethical values ​​must be declared during the speeches, directives, in-house publications. However, management actions and its leadership performance play a special role. If management brings ethics to sacrifice short-term interests, the company instantly spreads rumors about it. Following the oath of adherence to ethical ideals is useless. Thus, the behavior of the leaders sets the tone for the entire organization. Leadership for a manager in the organization should be inextricably and naturally linked with the responsibility for the decisions and actions, because people trust the leader. Definitely, a push to be a responsible leader, which is interested in sustainability of the company, can only be done by the internal motives: it means the creation of optimal conditions for high productivity and efficiency of staff, as a result of return of the corporate social responsibility initiatives, personnel policy and its transformation into tangible economic indicators (Simms, 2009).

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The most important thing in the creation of the effective social responsibility that will be supported by the effective and responsible leadership, and will create sustainability of the company:  it means everyone’s understanding that social responsibility is not only the destiny of a leader, a manager, or a business owner; it touches everyone who lives in the society and interacts with other people. Social responsibility is a manifestation of social maturity and love and without this love and responsibility there is the risk to become a society of the herd. The future makes a call, rather than dictates.

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