Social Responsibilities of Business

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Lesson 4

Social Responsibilities of Business

You know that business is an economic activity, which is carried out on a regular basis to earn profit. However, you must have seen businessmen spending money on different aspects, which is not going to give them any profit straightway. For example, you must have seen businessmen maintaining and developing gardens and parks on streets and squares in cities. Some businessmen engage themselves in research for improving the quality of products; some provide housing, transport, education and health care to their employees and their families. In some places businessmen provide free medical facility to poor patients. Sometimes they also sponsor games and sports at national as well as international level. Did you ever wonder why they do so? Let us learn more about why businessmen engage themselves in such activities.

4.1 Objectives
After studying this lesson, you will be able to:
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explain the concept of social responsibility of business; appreciate the importance of social responsibility; recognize the responsibility of business towards different interest groups; explain the concept of social values and business ethics; identify the causes of environmental pollution; and describe the role of business in preventing and controlling environmental pollution.

4.2 What is Social Responsibility
In your daily life, you perform a number of activities. For example, brushing your teeth, listening to your parents, showing respect to elders obeying traffic rules on road etc. Now

Business Studies

why do you perform all these activities? It is because you live in a family as well as in a society and the members of your family as well as the society want you to do all of them. They do several things for you and expect something from you, which you must do. The expectations of the family or society become your obligations, which you need to fulfill. For example, taking care of your parents or children, keeping the road clean by not throwing garbage on it, etc. There are also obligations towards yourself, which you need to fulfill. For example, taking food timely, going to sleep early at night, etc. that keep you fit and takes care of your health. Now you fulfill all these obligations by performing certain activities which are called your responsibilities. Any responsibility you have, particularly towards members of the society with whom you interact or towards the society in general, are called your social responsibility. The obligation of any business to protect and serve public interest is known as social responsibility of business

This is true in case of business also. As we know, every business operates within a society. It uses the resources of the society and depends on the society for its functioning. This creates an obligation on the part of business to look after the welfare of society. So all the activities of the business should be such that they will not harm, rather they will protect and contribute to the interests of the society. Social responsibility of business refers to all such duties and obligations of business directed towards the welfare of society. These duties can be a part of the routine functions of carrying on business activity or they may be an additional function of carrying out welfare activity. Let us take an example. A drug-manufacturing firm undertakes extensive research and thus, produces drugs which are qualitatively superior. It also provides scholarships or fellowships to the family members of its employees for studying abroad. We find, in both the cases, the drug-manufacturing firm is carrying out its social responsibility. In case of the former, it is a part of its routine business function while in the latter case it is a welfare function.

4.3 Concept of Social Responsibility
We all know that people engage in business to earn profit. However, profit making is not the sole function of business. It performs a number of...
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