Discuss the role that social responsibility plays in today's organizations.

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For a variety of reasons, I think that companies and business organizations possess a greater level of social responsibility.  One need only look at the public relations nightmare within which the petroleum company BP is immersed.  British Petroleum, faced with mounting social and political pressure to answer for its role in the disaster, ended up blaming the primary company operating the oil rig, Transocean.  Then, it ended up blaming the company that produced the portion of the rig that malfunctioned, Halliburton.  While the blame game went around, the lack of social responsibility for these organizations has been something that has been noted.  While BP sought to avert its corporate and social responsibility for the oil spill, the US government has squarely blamed it for a lack of oversight and a pattern of environmental and social irresponsibility.  In response, the government has placed the burden of all costs of cleanup on BP's shoulders.  This incident has proven to a great extent the mammoth role of social responsibility in today's business organization.

krishna-agrawala | Student

Organizations today have much greater impact on well being and happiness of the societies that they serve and  within which they operate, than was the case in the past. These organization provide goods and services to the people. At the same time, they also use up resources available to the society. This includes direct resources as well as indirect impact on resources such as environment.

The impact of organization on society has increased because of increasing size of organizations as well as the increasing proportion of all human activities performed through organized efforts. Power of organizations as compared to those of individuals has also increased because of increasing complexities of technology and specialization. Because of this individuals are not able to understand, as well as organizations do, the effect of products they use and the processes adopted by organizations in manufacturing and marketing these products.

Along with increased power and impact on society, organizations must also accept greater responsibility for the impact of their activities and products on society. Organizations face two kinds of pressure for assuming greater social responsibility. One is the the ethical and moral considerations of doing what is right and in overall interest of the entire society, rather than pursuing narrow and selfish goals. The second pressure is created by organizational self interest. In long term, an organization cannot continue to make good profit and grow by hurting the best interest of the society. Organization that follow the narrow approach of focusing only on their selfish interest of profit, are likely to be forced out of business, in the long run, by natural forces of market as well as by legal restrictions, when their negative impact on society and their callous approach towards society comes to light.