What appears to be the most accepted forms of corporate social responsibility is the ‘four-part model proposed by Archie Carroll.
Archie Carroll construes forms of corporate social responsibility as a complex concept that has four essential components, levels or aspects that are interrelated: economic; legal; ethical; and philanthropic responsibilities.
These levels of responsibilities are usually presented in such a way that corporations are expected to satisfy all of them in order to be truly socially responsible.
The four forms of corporate social responsibility is quite pragmatic in the sense that while it structures the different social responsibilities into various segments, it acknowledges and gives premium to the demands placed on businesses to be profitable and legal.
However, it has a limitation of specifying how a conflict between any two or more of these responsibilities should be resolved.
For instance, what should a business organisation do when the responsibility to be efficient and profitable conflicts with that of providing secure jobs for employee?
So the idea of business corporate social responsibility should be on responsiveness that focuses on the strategic aspects of corporate social responsibility that deals with how corporations actively respond to social concerns, expectations and pressures. Let’s discuss these forms of social responsibility and see how they affect the society.
Forms of Corporate Social Responsibilities:
They are discussed below:
1. Economic responsibility:
Businesses are set up basically to generate profit for their owners, provide good-quality products for their customers or clients, and also well paying jobs for employees.
Achieving these objectives constitutes the basic economic responsibility of businesses, and it is the extent to which this economic responsibility is fulfilled that a business could be said to be a properly functioning and viable economic unit.
Besides, the economic responsibilities of generating a profit, providing good-quality products, and well-paying jobs is considered as the basis for all other forms of responsibilities.
2. Legal responsibility:
The legal responsibility of corporations places an obligation on them to carry out all their activities in accordance with the law or all the legal requirements of the society in which they operate.
It is in this regard that they are expected to play the game of business according to the rules of the game of business. Law, in this regard, may be rightly construed as the codification of the moral values of society.
Hence, abiding by them is requisite for further reasoning about social responsibilities.
3. Ethical responsibility:
Ethical responsibilities are the obligations that corporate entities have to do what is right, just, and fair even when there are no legal requirements that they should do so.
They consist of those general expectations that society have towards corporate entities. These include for example maintaining a safe environment.
4. Philanthropic responsibility:
The Greek word, philanthropy, means the love of fellow humans. Hence, philanthropic responsibilities of a corporation include all that it can do to improve the quality of life of its employees, local community and society in general.
This responsibility includes charitable donations, support for local schools, sponsoring social events such as sports and arts, and building recreational facilities for employees and their families or even the local community.
Generally, it includes all those things that are desired of corporations but which they are not required to do. As such, this category of responsibilities appear to be the least important of the four categories of corporate social responsibilities.
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