Here is a compilation of term papers on the ‘Social Responsibility of Business’ for class 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short term papers on the ‘Social Responsibility of Business’ especially written for school and college students.
Term Paper Contents:
- Term Paper on the Meaning and Definition of Social Responsibility
- Term Paper on the Arguments in Support of Social Responsibility
- Term Paper on the Arguments against Social Responsibility
- Term Paper on the Measures for Enforcing Social Responsibilities
Term Paper # 1. Meaning and Definition of Social Responsibility:
Business does not operate in a vacuum but in an environment. Business environment is the total of all things external to a firm that affect it, but are uncontrollable to a large extent. For the successful growth and survival of the business the businessman must know the overall environment within which business operates and the interaction of its many facets must be understood by him properly. The environment is classified into two major groups known as economic and non-economic.
Economic environment includes the nature of economic system, the structural anatomy and functioning of the economy on the fiscal, monetary, commercial, industrial tariff and other policies of the government. Each element of economic environment affects the functioning of the business in many ways. A favourable economic environment will always facilitate business growth and development.
Non-economic environment consists of legal, political, social, cultural, physical and technological factors. Each factor of non-economic environment has a definite influence and impact on the functioning of the business.
To be successful there should be effective interaction not only between the environment and business but also between and among the various elements of the environment. Management must be capable of anticipating, meeting and adapting creatively to ever changing business environment by its dynamic attitude and approach. This requires a good amount of managerial expertise.
Organisations are neither self-sufficient nor self-contained. They exchange resources with the outside environment and depend on it for survival. They draw inputs from the environment in the form of raw material, labour, capital, energy etc.; transforms them into products and services which are supplied as outputs to the external environment society is the home of business.
Business has a natural and intimate state in the viability of the society, in the stability and growth of its economy, in the orderly functioning of its free and democratic institutions under the rule of law. These are the new concepts of business and they are called social responsibilities.
The term social responsibility is to be clarified first before we proceed to discuss its facets. There are two terms in social responsibility. They are Social and Responsibility. The term social or society refers to all those individuals, institutions and other entities that come in contact with a business enterprise. It does not mean society as a whole, rather the ‘society of the business’.
The term responsibility denotes some kind of obligation on the part of businessmen to fulfill legitimate expectations of such individual, institutions and other entities in so far as they help in conducting business activity. So social responsibility means that businessmen have wider public interest while taking managerial decisions.
In the present day world a business organisation is not only an economic institution and a living member of the society. It performs both economic as well as social functions which are indispensable for its survival, growth and profitability.
To have a better understanding of social responsibility a few definitions given by various authorities are listed below:
Social responsibilities refer to “The businessman’s decisions and actions taken for reasons at least partially beyond the firm’s direct economic or technical interest.”
Howard R. Brown:
Social responsibilities or obligations to “pursue those policies’ to make those decisions or to follow those lines of action which are desirable in terms of the objectives and values of our society.”
Kennth R. Andrews:
By social responsibility we mean the intelligent and objective concern for the welfare of society that restrains individual and corporate behaviour from ultimate destructive activities’ no matter how immediately profitable, and leads in the direction of positive contributions to human betterment.
Koontz and O’Donnell have defined social responsibility as “The personal responsibility of everyone, as they act in their own interests to assure that the rights and legitimate interest of all others are not infringed.”
In the words of Peter F. Drucker social responsibility requires managers “to consider whether their action is likely to promote public good, to advance the basic beliefs of our society, to contribute its stability, strength and harmony.”
These definitions try to identify the concept of social responsibility in their own way. We can state that it means an intelligent and objective interest for the genuine welfare of the society. A business organisation as an economic agent of society must use its economic power to protect and promote public interest and social values.
It has a sincere concern for public interest and social good which legitimizes the pursuit of private profit. It serves as an instrument of purposeful and positive social change within the constraints of its economic viability and solvency. It has keen social orientation and social sensitivity which are embedded into its objectives, policies and day to day functioning.
The concept social responsibility is to be differentiated from social obligations and social responsiveness. Social obligations mean the activities of a business organisation directed in response to market forces and internal aspirations.
But social responsibility is a concept of wider input and it requires an organisation to meet the expectations, norms and value of the society. Social responsibility relates to current issues whereas ‘Social responsiveness’ is anticipatory in nature. A social responsive organisation is expected to anticipate changing or emerging social problems and respond to them.
Social responsibility may manifest itself in several ways. Every business organisation finds out and pursues an appropriate harmony between economic and social goals. They will not venture into any activity which is opposed to public policy. There are arguments for and against social responsibility.
Term Paper # 2. Arguments in Support of Social Responsibility:
The arguments in support of social responsibility are:
(1) Public Expectations of Business:
The public expectation is that business exists only because it satisfies valuable needs of society. Business is a social organ. Society provides factors of production to the business. Therefore, if business wishes to remain viable in the long run it must respond to society’s needs and give society what it wants.
(2) Creates Business Supporting Environment:
Social responsibility creates a better and healthy environment for business. The businessmen have realised that by meeting demand and aspirations of society they can create a good environment, education, better employees, customers, favourable response from suppliers.
(3) Public Image:
Social responsibility improves the public image of business. By enhancing public image the organisation can gain more customers, better employees, favourable response from suppliers and other benefits. This object can be achieved provided business firm realises its social responsibilities.
(4) Avoidance of Government Control:
If the businessmen are not meeting their social responsibilities then they have to face strict action through legislation. This action is expensive for organisations, they are subject to government interference and it affects the public image. So business organisations voluntarily undertake to fulfil the social responsibilities with the object of avoiding government control.
(5) Socio-Cultural Norms:
Every business unit is to function well within the set-up of socio-cultural norms and restrains. It is the duty of every business organisation to respond positively to social obligations.
(6) Consumer Consciousness:
The consumers of the present day are well informed. They expect a higher quality products at reasonable prices. They can organise themselves in case business resorts to undesirable practices and opposed to public policy.
(7) Strong Labour Union:
Spreading of education and level of education among workers has been increasing. With the object of promoting their social and economic interest the workers organise themselves into unions and voice their grievances. So the business organisations must feel the social responsibility and cater to the requirements of employees.
Term Paper # 3. Arguments against Social Responsibility:
There are arguments against assumptions of social responsibility by the business organisations.
They are as follows:
(1) Profit Maximisation:
Business is an economic institution. It should earn maximum profit for its owners. This is needed for the survival and growth of business organisations. Profit maximisation and social responsibility are conflicting considerations. Further the element of risk in business is greater so the businessmen will always try to maximise the profits.
(2) Spoils Self-Interest:
Self-interest always motivates and activates businessmen. Assumption of social responsibility will definitely hinder the self-interest as they come into conflict with each other.
(3) Lack of Social Skills:
Businessmen have very good business acumen for earning profits. But they do not have necessary social skills. They really do not feel at home with social matters. Their incompetence may result in over spending and dissipation of their energies.
(4) Increases Cost:
Social responsibilities assumed by business organisation either out of compulsion or necessity may result in huge investments without proper returns. So the businessmen would like to pass the cost of social action to consumers in the form of higher prices. Their incompetence and higher cost of investment and operation may impose heavy burden on consumers.
(5) Distortion of Market Mechanism:
Assumption of social responsibility results in erosion of the drive to use resources efficiently and there will be unnecessary distortion of market mechanism.
(6) Lack of Yardstick:
Profitability is the common criteria for evaluation of the performance of a business. Tempering it with social responsibility would definitely make the process complex and controversial.
(7) Responsibility without Power:
Business organizations possess only economic power and not social power. Without social power the business organizations are to assume social responsibility may result unfair functioning and it may perpetuate its own value system which is detrimental to the interest of the society. Further assumption of responsibilities will involve diversion of valuable managerial time and talent on social programmes. It may result in misdirection of valuable corporate resources.
(8) Playing an Improper Role:
Business organisations should concentrate on economic performance and they are not suitable for social service. Their functioning will resemble the fixing of a square peg in a round hole. So they will be forced to play an improper role.
Business organisations are already serving the society by providing goods and services, generating employment, developing technology and contribute to the government treasury by paying taxes. It would be unjust and improper to over burden the business units with further social and unjustified responsibilities.
But public opinion is in favour of business units accepting social responsibilities. So they are to assume social responsibilities for its betterment and for the betterment of the society.
Managers are to recognise and understand the inevitable constraints in accepting social responsibility whether they have been forced to be more concerned, or persuaded to be more concerned and due to separation of ownership and control in companies.
The constraints are given below:
(a) In accepting a social responsibility a proper balance should be maintained between social responsibility and economic viability.
(b) Management is to confine itself on social responsibilities where they have competence.
(c) Regarding social responsibility managements should confine to the areas in which they have legitimate authority. Otherwise social action may result in usurpation of authority.
(d) The concept of social responsibility is reciprocal. In undertaking social responsibility the business owes responsibility to various interest groups and these groups owe responsibility to support and assist business.
(e) Before accepting any social responsibility the management is to conduct a social cost benefit analysis.
The forces which are responsible for forcing the business to recognise and honour social responsibilities are:
(i) The threat of public regulation or public ownership.
(ii) The pressure of organised labour.
(iii) The change of public opinion about the role of business in society.
(iv) The development of consumerism in many countries insisting on consumer protection.
(v) The development of moral values and social standards applicable to businessmen.
(vi) The emergence professional managers without vested interests and their functioning as trustees and adopt objective attitude in the distribution of surplus among all interested parties.
(vii) The development of business education and the interaction of the people with the government.
(viii) Recognition of human element contributing to the long-run interest of the business people.
Various other social, ethical and economic forces have translated business a socio-economic activity. In the present day the business organisation is functioning as an economic institution in a social environment. It has to reconcile its economic interest with the demands of the society with which it interacts. This is responsible for the emergence of social responsibilities.
Term Paper # 4. Measures for Enforcing Social Responsibilities:
The problem of social responsibility is so complicated that no single measure can be adequate. An integrated approach involving both statutory and voluntary measures is required to ensure responsible behaviour from business organisations. So a fair mixture of compulsion and inducement is needed.
(1) Legislative measures,
(2) Voluntary measures.
(1) Legislative Measures:
With the help of legal framework the business enterprises can be made more responsive towards social responsibilities.
In this direction the recommendations made are:
(a) The compliance of legal provisions is to be tightened and it should be made obligatory and more strict.
The non-compliance with legal formalities should attract heavy penalties.
(b) Secondly, the various enactments should be modified to incorporate concepts like “Trusteeship”, “social reporting” and “social audit”. The term trusteeship clearly implies that businessmen are the trustees of society’s money and property and they should use it in the larger interests of society.
Social reporting is done with the object of reinforcing the concept of trusteeship. The term social audit means the contribution made by an organisation towards social welfare. The social credit assesses the degree of social involvement of business organisations and the effectiveness and efficiency of social programmes.
(2) Voluntary Measures:
The legislative measures are needed to achieve a socially responsible and responsive business enterprise but they alone do not accomplish anything.
Besides legislative measures voluntary measures are also needed:
(a) Boycott of Product/Services:
The consumer associations may persuade people not to buy the products or services of those organisations who indulge in antisocial practices like adulteration, hoarding, black-marketing etc.; consumer movements have been functioning effectively in economically advanced nations.
(b) Informational Picketing:
This is another form of social action where individuals pass out information about an issue to the general public around. Trade unions follow this approach in attempting to arouse public sympathy.
(c) Media Campaigns:
Media exposure is an effective means of publicizing the issues in which public are interested. Such exposure can be through Press, newspapers, radio and television.
Representations can be made to legislators through letters making them to realise and to take up the cause with the government. This is even lead to passing of amendments to the existing enactments and may result in introduction of new bills.