Compare and contrast the ideas of social obligation, social responsiveness, and social responsibility.
Social obligation occurs when a firm engages in social actions because of its obligation to meet its economic and legal responsibilities. The organization does only what it is obligated to do and nothing more. This idea reflects the classical view of social responsibility that says that management's only social responsibility is to maximize profits.
In contrast to social obligation, however, both social responsiveness and social responsibility reflect the socioeconomic view. According to this view a manager's social responsibilities go beyond making profits to include protecting and improving society's welfare. This view is based on the belief that corporations are not independent entities responsible only to stockholders, but have an obligation to the larger society.
Social responsiveness occurs when a company engages in social actions in response to some popular social need. Managers are guided by social norms and values and make practical, market-oriented decisions about their actions. A socially responsible organization views things differently. It goes beyond what it is obligated to do or chooses to do because of some popular social need and does what it can to help improve society because it is the right thing to do.
Social responsibility is defined as a business's intention, beyond its legal and economic obligations, to do the right things and act in ways that are good for society. A socially responsible organization does what is right because it feels it has an ethical responsibility to do so.
Source: Management, 11e (Robbins/Coulter)