Case for Social Responsibility

The issue of social responsibility is a complex one since it deals with the institutions that are at the heart of a society. Business employs a vast majority of the workforce in India and is in control of vast human and financial resources. Any modification of decision about how these resources are put to use has obvious consequences for the balance of society It is the resource power base that generates many of the arguments favoring greater social involvement of business:

Long term Business Interest:

Survival and success or growth are two most important long term objectives of business which depend not just on profit alone which is a short term gain but on public patronages as well to a great extent. Business can expect cooperation and continued patronage from society only when it does something more than just selling goods and services for profit . In other words business must not find itself enamored with profits and its genuine concern must be for the welfare of the society by discharging certain social obligations if only to require then intangible benefits of cooperation and patronage bestowed on it by society . And so, business must view social responsibility as a natural ally of profit and must realize that one is as indispensable as the other in serving its own long term objectives or interest.


Business operates in society and so, needless to say, both are dependent on each other. Business needs the patronage of society while the latter needs the services of the former . The interdependence makes its imperative on the part of both business and society to understand each other’s objectives and aspirations in a mutually accommodative spirit .Since business cannot exist or function in a vacuum it is all the more necessary to correlate its actions to the welfare of the society which is in its own interest.

Moral Justification:

A business sells goods or services for profit and a customer or consumer buys them to satisfy his need at a mutually acceptable price. Nobody is obviously doing anybody any favor. Where then is the question of moral obligation on the part of business to respond to the call of social welfare ? On the face of it there appears no ground or moral justification for such an apparently one sided gesture But if we care to look deeply into the matter, we find gesture.

Certain invisible and intangible benefits accrue from business activity which are enjoyed more by businesses than by other members of society . These benefits include a high social status derived from economic success of business, easy accessibility to powerful elements in society government by virtue of their businesses contacts or money power and last but not the least, a clear and unequal edge over others in the matter of wielding power or influence due to social importance accrued from social dealings.

Although society confers such intangible benefits on businessman unconsciously the latter should consider it as their moral duty to acknowledge and repay the debt of gratitude by discharging certain social obligations.

Public Image:

If a business assumes social responsibility voluntarily it may not result in instant profit but it certainly enhances its reputation which is a positive gain for business. A good public image is its own reward and it pays rich dividends to business in the long run. Since public image and good reputation have a direct bearing on social responsibility business must willingly and voluntarily undertake social obligations.

Need to avoid government regulations: A business enterprise indulging in malpractices will be doing more harm than good to itself and to the community as a whole. Such unhealthy business practices invite not only public wrath but also governmental interference , both of which prove fatal and costly to the business . Besides government regulation reduce freedom of action and flexibility in decision making. Hence, every businessman must resist the temptation of more profit and must adhere to the accepted principles of social justice and fair play which alone ensures a safer berth for him in society.

  • Another factor that will be entering into the business space is the recent approval by ISO of the ISO 26000 Social Responsibility standard. Unlike ISO 9000 and ISO 14000, this is NOT a management system standard, and ISO 26000 is intended to provide guidance. But the mere availability of internationally-recognized guidance on SR may indeed help many more organizations adopt practices in line with its recommendations.

  • Nagaraj1946

    dear hr friends
    this is a good topic. Infact we, in India, are not serious about this issue, though some companies are doing some work in this direction. Examples like Bhopal Gas Tragedy, recently known Sathyam Computers matter throw light on the CSR
    I have during my career of 30 years always insisted about this subject, but i got little response from the employers. A very few employers are doing without much fanfare but it is the responsibility, the corporates have to take.
    This is vast subject. Needs participation from all the concerned, specially from the corporates.
    the corporates have responsibility towards its share holders, government and employees. but the responsibility towards society is overlooked. this has also to be fulfilled.
    we have many debts (Rin in sanskrit) mother, father, god, teacher and also towards society. this aspect is forgotten. this is need of the day.
    i have dealt this in detail, in my paper submitted for my Ph D.
    Before i part, let quote an example, which i have read. A family went to himalayas for darshan of Mt Kailash (Everest). Struck by its beauty, the child asked the mother Ma, this is so beautiful, let us take it home. anyone would have laughed or rebuked the child. But the mother (salute her), getly remarked by telling her child, see baby, we cannot do that, tomorrow some others will bring thier children, if we take the Kailash, what they will see!!!. so let it remain there so that many more years let the people come here enjoy the beauty.
    Oh I was amazed at the answer.
    So what we have today, should be there tomorrow intact, so that the future generation enjoy the same.
    dr nagaraj