Social and ethical responsibilities in management

Social and ethical responsibilities in management

Organizational managers don’t just manage employees, projects, or the company. In management, everyone is responsible.

Directors not only assign tasks to their managers but also rely on them to be responsible leaders who follow rules and regulations.

For example, the project manager is not only responsible for the project and development but also follows rules created by PMP, PRINCE2, BVOP, Scrum, etc.

The product manager aims to develop the product but at the same time follows the right design patterns.

The human resources manager follows even more human-oriented practices and norms.

And directors, CTO, CEO, CIO, and other management positions often have full formal responsibility for their actions and must follow all legal and management rules.

Social responsibility is a concept that reflects the qualities of the relationship between the organization (through leaders) and society. It is a set of attitudes, decisions, and actions of the organization that are oriented to society.

The social responsibility of the organization is something that is appreciated by others. The question that many managers ask themselves is what they need to do to be assessed as socially responsible.

The answer to this question can be found in the following three aspects, from which the essence of social responsibility is evident.

And these aspects are Social responsibility, perceived as a social obligation of the organization.

  • Social responsibility, perceived as a social reaction of the organization.
  • Social responsibility, perceived as a social activity of the organization.
  • Social responsibility, perceived as a social obligation.

The problem of social responsibility of organizations has long attracted the attention of professionals and society, but only in the 60s of the twentieth century began to question the thesis that the only social responsibility of management is that organizations receive maximum profits.

In the discussion that erupted after the 1960s, two opposing views and approaches emerged. One approach is purely economic and the other is socio-economic.

Milton Friedman, a Nobel laureate in economics, is considered to be the most active supporter of the economic approach (now classic).

According to his theory, most managers are management professionals, do not have their own business, and are hired by the owners to manage their companies.

Based on this, Friedman concludes that managers are liable only to the shareholders of their companies. Opponents of Milton Friedman point to the short-term perspective of the organization’s profit development as a major shortcoming of the classical approach.

What would happen, for example, if a restaurant manager found out that the chef had health problems and instead of firing him, ordered him to continue his work.

Proponents of the socio-economic approach, in contrast to the economic approach, are based on the fact that management is responsible not only for ensuring profit but also for protecting and enhancing the well-being of the society in which this organization operates.

They note that organizations can be formed only with the permission of the state and only it is the one that can deprive them of this right. Thus, organizations are not an independent business entity that is solely responsible to its shareholders.

The organizations are also accountable to the general public, which has given its consent to their creation. And this already presupposes social responsibility, which goes beyond the creation of profit alone, by protecting and increasing the well-being of society.

At the beginning of the last century, large companies began to set aside part of their profits to solve social goals and objectives. Andrew Carnegie, the owner of a steel company, invests $ 350 million in social programs, including more than 2,000 libraries in the United States.

The doctrine of capitalist charity was promoted by Carnegie in his work The Gospel of Prosperity, published in 1900.

In addition to these 2 approaches, there is a moderate trend, according to which the organization is socially responsible if its attitudes, decisions, and actions are oriented towards the creation of goods, against making a profit, according to the rules established by law.

Social responsibility is perceived as a social reaction. A social reaction is a compliance of the organization (its leaders) with the social norms, values ​​, and expectations of society. Reference: “Management and leadership: theories and approaches”,

Of course, these are not only expectations for the production of goods, they also include expectations for bearing part of the costs of society, for environmental protection, for the environment, for social costs, as well as expectations for the organization to participate in solving social problems. which society cannot cope with.

The social reaction is a set of voluntary, not coercive attitudes, decisions, and altruistic actions. The social reaction is a response to what excites society, but for some reason, this society cannot cope alone.

Well-known researchers believe that an organization cannot qualify as socially responsible if it strictly adheres to the minimum requirements of the law. The social response requires that these minimum requirements be exceeded.

Social responsibility, perceived as a social activity. Social activity is that aspect of social responsibility according to which the organization has an attitude, makes decisions, and performs actions that anticipate events. Reference: “Managerial decision making: methods and models”,

For example, it identifies needs and does everything possible to meet them through production, through communication with public groups and government agencies. Reference: “The groups in the organization and their effectiveness”,

The socially active organization and its leaders are actively looking for ways to solve a social problem that exists – a local school, university, homes for children and the elderly, kindergartens, cultural monuments, environmental protection, etc.

Ethics determines which behavior is right and which is wrong. The term “ethics” was first used by Aristotle in the Latin ethos, it has two meanings. The first concerns morals and the second concerns the character of the man and his predisposition.

Aristotle conceived of ethics as a philosophy. Other Greek philosophers regard it as a philosophy of morality. In the most general form, ethical responsibility is seen as a reflection and summary of the moral goals and values ​​in the activities of all employees in the organization.

Ethnos – a set of ideas that form a common culture. Values ​​- principles or standards that guide the judgment of what is good and what is bad. Ethics – the rules that transform and implement the generally accepted ideals and ethnicity in everyday practice.

In organizational activity, it is necessary to distinguish between unethical, illegal, and incorrect. Many of the ethical norms written as texts in laws are legal norms.

Unlike moral norms, legal norms are generally binding. From there, a distinction is made between unethical and illegal. Criteria for right or wrong behavior often coincide with moral criteria, but do not fully meet them.

Improper behavior is a violation of normal practice, not ethical in violation of ethical norms and values. Corruption can fall into any of these categories (not ethical, incorrect, illegal). The absence of ethics in the organization is more noticeable than its presence.

Ethics is usually talked about when it is missing or seriously violated. The problems of ethics are becoming increasingly important. Ethics and standards of conduct are important elements in public life. The transformation of the ethnos into concrete behavior is a process of movement from the abstract to the concrete.

But the relationships and interactions between ethnicity, values, ethics, and behavior are very complex, too often overlapping and not always following the logical sequence. For example, the relationship between ethics and values ​​can be expressed in the application of ethical standards and principles in resolving conflicts of values ​​or other problems related to values. Reference: “Conflict management in the organization”,

Rules of ethics can affect values ​​even to the extent that they are transformed into legal norms that express state – protected values. Moral and ethical norms are norms that exist in the minds of people, some of them can be written down, but they are not legally binding, they can not be enforced and through the mechanisms of state power.

For their part, the criteria for “right” and “wrong” can often coincide with moral and ethical criteria, but in no case do they fully meet them. An unethical act or behavior violates ethical and moral standards, principles, and values. A behavior may be unethical, although it is not illegal or wrong.

The distinction between illegal, improper, and unethical behavior is of practical importance. The possibilities for control and sanctioning of illegal behavior are precisely regulated. Illegal acts and actions may be subject to judicial and administrative control.

Incorrect facts and actions may be subject to administrative control, but not to judicial control.

Unethical actions can be subject to administrative and internal control, as well as public control. The difference between wrong and unethical actions is not always clearly demarcated.

By Michael Young

Michael Young is the chief publisher of and is passionate about all project management and business management disciplines from the modern education programs presented by the popular universities in the United States (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK)

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