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CSR – An Image or Ethos

CSR – An Image or Ethos

A company’s sense of responsibility towards the community and environment in which it functions is known as corporate social responsibility.The object of social responsibilities of business has become the hot topic for discussion. Let’s not forget that really big companies are into the process of service benefiting economically backward population. It is widely accepted that accountability to owners is too narrow a concept for today’s business and that there is no reason why owner’s interests should take precedence over the interest of other claimants-employees, consumer community and the society at large.

corporate social responsibility

Responsibilies of Business Concerns:

There is no definition of the concept of social responsibility which is valid for all business concerns and for all times. This is because responsibilities of business should be related to the changing societal expectations, which is dependent upon the social, cultural, political and other environmental forces, which are dynamic too. Business responsibility to the society goes beyond simply assuming the profit-making role. It implies that the management has to protect and improve the welfare of the society as a whole along with its own interest.

What is the primary objective of a business?

One common misunderstanding about the concept of social responsibility has to be clarified here. It does not challenge the primary objectives of business. It does not say that “to make profit is to sin.”Profiteering is different from profit making. Selfish interest is different from self-interest. Social responsibility is against profiteering and selfish business behavior. But profit making and self interest should be the basic elements of corporate responsibilities.

Economic concerns and social concerns need not be viewed as opposite ends. They are complementary to each other. They are consistent with one another. Thus the nature and content of business responsibilities depend upon societal expectations placed on organizations which include invariably the economic performances and legal obligations, and go beyond them. How far it goes beyond depends on the economic, social and political environment in which the business and society operates.

Arguments against social responsibility:

The arguments against social responsibility are based on the belief that the society assigns a strictly economic role to the organizations and the concept dilutes the primary purpose of the business. Business should mind its business and business persons don’t have the right attitude to serve the society. Let it be the responsibility of government and social service organizations. Business has already enough economic and social power and no more concentration of power is necessary to business circles.

Service to society is undoubtedly an important objective of business. It can render service to society by providing quality goods and services to the community; it can provide adequate opportunities to the members of the society; provide goods and services at reasonable price. Another important aspect would be to ensure control of pollution towards air, water and soil. Showing concern for the well -being of other constituencies of the society is a good gesture that helps the business to earn goodwill and support of the society as a whole.