Definition: Social responsibility refers the to business ethics concept of being accountable for impacting society and culture. Ethics takes a major role in the modern era of business. Most companies have special training, seminars, and even a separate division to establish corporate standards and policies of ethics and morality. This is largely to do with the accounting and finance scandals of the early 2000s where companies and executives committed financial fraud because of loose entity-wide ethical standards.
What Does Social Responsibility Mean?
Social responsibility takes internal ethics standards to another level. It focuses on the effects a business can have on the outside world in society and culture. This is a much broader view of corporate ethics because it looks past the financial affairs of the company and concentrates on the how the business benefits the society instead of it’s shareholders.
These responsibilities are widely debated, but most people have a firm foundation that businesses should hurt society in their normal course of operations. For example, chemical companies and leather factories were notorious in the early 20th century for dumping huge amount of chemicals in lakes, rivers, and fields. These chemicals would pollute the drinking water and cause animals to migrate to other more sustainable regions. Today this practice is outlawed and labeled as a responsibility that businesses should be held accountable for their messes.
Some people argue that companies should also help contribute to the society and culture of their surroundings. Cleaning up their pollution and not causing additional problems is not enough. Some people encourage companies to give back to the community that allows them to grow. These social responsibilities can take the form of giving discounts to children and seniors or donating a portion of company profits to fundraisers and non-profit groups to help fight diseases.
These are just a few of the views on corporate social responsibility. There full studies on how scholars think businesses should behave and give back.