The Three Perspectives of Social Responsibility


The three perspectives of corporate social responsibility are economic responsibility, public responsibility, and social responsiveness.  The three perspectives represent a continuum of commitment to social responsibility issues, ranging from economic responsibility at the low end and social responsiveness at the high end.  The economic responsibility perspective argues that the only social responsibility of business is to maximize profits within the “rules of the game.”  Moreover, the proponents of this viewpoint argue that organizations cannot be moral agents.  Only individuals can be moral agents.  In contrast, the public responsibility perspective argues that businesses should act in a way that is consistent with society’s view of responsible behavior, as well as with established laws and policy.  Finally, the proponents of the social responsiveness perspective argue that businesses should proactively seek to contribute to society in a positive way.  According to this view, organizations should develop an internal environment that encourages and supports ethical behavior at an individual level.



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