Deciding on the types of social activities that the management wants to pursue, organizing the resources that are necessary to meet those responsibilities and then controlling the management processes so that these social goals are optimally accomplished without wasting any organizational resources in the process, are the key functions of management in this area in order to maintain a high level of social responsiveness.
Approaches to Meeting Social Responsibilities:
Various managerial approaches to meeting social obligations determine an organization’s level of social responsiveness. Some organizations are highly responsive and eagerly seek ways to accommodate societal needs, whereas others resist external obligations. In general there are four basic approaches that characterize business responsiveness. These are:
Some companies adopt this approach and actively fight to eliminate, delay or fend off the social demands being made on them. They usually do as little as possible to solve social or environmental problems. As an example, Beech-Nut Company, which makes baby food, found a few years ago that their apple juice contained chemical additives, while they were advertising it as “pure”.
Rather than recalling the product and losing money, the management decided to let it go until the inventory was completely exhausted. This action put organizational benefit above the community benefit.
This approach reflects an attitude whereby an organization meets its social obligations as mandated by law and by some societal expectations but does no more. These social obligations are consistent with economic objectives and profitable operations. For example, tobacco companies are required by law in America to put warning labels on their cigarette packs. In that respect, they are meeting some social obligations.
However, they are heavily promoting their products in other countries without putting such label on them, because they are not required by law, even though it would be socially desirable.
This approach meets its social obligations and is willing to react positively to appropriate societal demands. It sees business as having both economic as well as societal goals. It goes beyond the legal requirements that have been enacted to protect societal interests and accepts broader extra-legal and extra-market criteria for measuring corporate performance and social contributions.
This approach goes beyond the call of corporate duty for social involvements. It reflects an attitude which is highly socially responsive and considers it an obligation to prevent any social problems from occurring and assist in solving these once they occur. This approach is also known as proactive approach.
It takes a definite stand on issues of public concern and actively seeks areas of social concern where the organization can assist. An example would be McDonald’s hamburger food chain which has established Ronald McDonald houses around the country to help the families of sick children.