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CSR : The new context of business repositioning

By  Princewill Ekwujuru

What is Social Responsibility.? There are several definitions for social responsibility as there are many authors writing on this topic. Once, an author defined it as the intelligent and objective concern for the welfare of society which restrains individual and corporate behaviour from ultimately destructive activities, no matter how immediately profitable, and which leads in the direction of positive contributions to human betterment.

In the early 19th century, the mission of businesses were primarily economical. But within the past few decades there have been pronounced changes in the views of many business managers about their social responsibilities which have paralleled and partly reflected the changing priorities and expectations of society about business social functions.
This is because business relies on the society for existence. In view of this, the interrelationship between organisations and their environment has become increasingly important.

The society, managers and organisations are quite aware of this interdependence. As a result, organisations, especially in the business sector, are no longer viewed as totally private endeavours that are free to pursue their own ends as long as they break no laws.
Instead, their actions are seen as having public consequences that go beyond serving customers and paying returns to owners.
The out come of this notion is a rising public clamour for social responsibility, on the part of businesses as well as other social organisations.

Over the years,  it has remained the duty of business people to know  what to do to meet the demands of various claimants for social responsibility. For instance, what do they expect.? How do they define social responsibility.? And what particular responsibility should be given priority.?

These are possible questions needed to be asked before engaging in social responsibility drive.
However, with the development of large corporations coming on the heels of the industrial revolution beginning from the French colony, it became pertinent to confront the environmental impact and social dimensions of the operations of companies.

Given the fact that governments made statutory and voluntary demands on their citizens and had an inverse responsibility to deliver good governance and social welfare in the public interest, many business operators functioned under a laissez faire, under scored by the notion that they only existed to cater to the needs of their immediate stakeholders which they did by meeting of a society in exchange for profit.

However, governments across Europe and America started to stress the idea of human rights which included freedom of association and expression, provision of pipe-borne water, clean and decent living condition.


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