Social Responsibility in managing todays organisations

Essay by mscou1University, Bachelor'sA, September 2006

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Social responsibility is more relevant to managing today's organisations than ever before.

Today's organisations are entrenched in a conflict over the two opposing views of social responsibility. The classical view holds that management's only social responsibility is to maximise profits. (Robbins, Stagg, Coulter, 2003, p136) The most famous advocate of this approach is economist Milton Friedman who believed the only obligation a company had was to its shareholders. Cooper and Hill (2004:1) also argues that business's are commercial, and not social or political institutions and the central focus of any business is on building shareholder wealth. Durie (2002:401) however argues that managers who operate with this one-dimensional view of the corporation will not survive in today's changing environment. Durie (2002:402) takes on the socio-economic view that 'managements social responsibility goes well beyond the making of profits to include protecting and improving society's welfare' (Robbins, Stagg, Coulter, 2003, p137). According to Durie (2002:403), many organisations have been widely criticised by society for being too - overly concerned with profit, and failing to take its broader responsibilities seriously.

Skinner (2004:44) argues that to achieve sustainable development managers must plan beyond short term profit considerations and look to deliver on the 'triple bottom line', - known in business as the outcomes of an organisations economic, social and environmental performance. Simmons (2002:1) also argues that the social responsibility of an organisation is a company's obligation to be accountable to all of its stakeholders in its operations and activities, with the aim of achieving sustainable development not only in the economical dimension but also in the social and environmental dimension'. Such changes reflect a shift in what society expects of organisations today, and the ability for managers to understand and adapt to social and environmental issues is the major leadership challenge they face. The classicist...