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Stances to Social Responsibility Issues

Stances to Social Responsibility Issues

Author: James Howard
Description:

This lesson outlines the basic stances of a companies to social responsibility issues.

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Hello, and welcome to this tutorial on stances to social responsibility issues. Now as always with these tutorials, please feel free to fast forward, pause, or rewind as many times as you need in order to get the most out of the time that you'll spend here.

Now people react differently to change. Some love it. Most absolutely hate it. Some will go out of their way to keep the change from happening. Well, companies are no different, as we're about to find out. Now during this lesson, we're going to be covering responses to social responsibility issues that companies may take, and we're also going to be looking at those stances that they may take in practice. The key terms we're going to be using for this lesson are obstructionist stance, defensive stance, accommodative stance, and proactive stance.

But let's get started with the obstructionist stance. Now each one of these key terms we're about to go over are different stances or different reactions that companies could have to social responsibility issues or any change for that matter. So obstructionist stance-- that's defined as an approach to social responsibility in which the organization actively tries to avoid, to slow down, or to stop social responsibility.

In this case, now the US automotive industry could be used as a good example of an obstructionist stance when it comes to installation of seat belts in cars. When seat belt laws were first passed that they had to be installed in cars, the companies went out of their way to say that it was dangerous, or it was going to add way too much money. They were trying every tactic they could think of to avoid, to slow down, or to stop this change from happening.

So next up is the defensive stance. Now this is defined as an approach to social responsibility in which the organization will fight any allegations of social responsibility. Oh, no, I didn't do that. That didn't really happen. You might see the tobacco industry in this way. I have no responsibility for what people do with their own bodies. I have no responsibility for the fact that these people are getting cancer. All I'm doing is producing a product. It's up to them to choose to use that product or not. Might be how the line goes.

Next up is an accommodative stance. So an accommodative stance is an approach to social responsibility in which the organization goes beyond the minimal standards of social responsibility, but doesn't necessarily seek to meet major changes. For instance, in international trade, these are the companies who would abide by all the laws and be sure that they're not cheating anybody or doing something overt, but they're not going to go out of their way to change the market in a way that might benefit the people who are producing the coffee for them.

Next up is the proactive stance, and this is an approach to social responsibility in which the organization goes beyond the minimal standards of social responsibility by actively anticipating future issues. And Ben and Jerry's ice cream can be used as a great example for this. Recently, they changed their entire recipe for Coffee Heath Bar Crunch. How do I know? Well, because I eat it.

They stopped using Heath bars and went with another producer who was engaged in free trade practices, who was using more organic material, something that was in line with their stance on social responsibility. And in doing this, they took a big risk of alienating people who eat that particular ice cream. But it was how that company wanted to act, and it fit their social responsibility stance.

Now these stances may not occur in isolation. For instance, companies will generally take the same stance, but businesses may vary in their stance based on the specifics of their situation. So generally, I agree, but, well, in this situation, it may not be so good for us. And some departments, even within the same company, may take the same stance, but that stance may be different than others.

You can see in something as slippery as social responsibility, as far as the fighting it, things could get a little complicated, even within the same company that generally holds one particular stance on an issue.

Let's look at stances and practice. Let's talk about air pollution. Now here in California, air pollution is a big, big deal. There's a lot of folks out here. So naturally, air regulations are pretty tight. Now companies with an obstructionist stance would do things like advertising about how it's bad for the economy, or they would move out of state, or they may even stop doing business in California altogether. Companies with a defensive stance will continue to do things as normal, but they may do things under the table and then deny that operations are contributing to the air pollution problem within a certain state or a nation.

People with the accommodative stance will follow the law. Heck, they may even buy the latest technology, but they're not going to do anything to change the situation any further. Happy with the way it is. And lastly, you have folks who have a proactive stance, and these are people who are obeying the law, they've being as socially responsible as they can be, but they're not satisfied with doing more than the law requires. They want to make sure that this issue is taken care of, and it's taken care of by business. So these are people who might advocate or fund political campaigns for air pollution laws and regulations within that particular state or nation.

So to recap, what have we learned today? Well, we looked at the responses that are possible to social responsibility issues-- the obstructionist stance, the defensive stance, accommodative and proactive stance. And next, we looked at those stances in practice and how companies might view things like air pollution using each one of those stances.

I want to thank you for spending some time with me today. I hope you had fun. I'll see you next time.

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Obstructionist Stance

    An approach to social responsibility in which the organization actively tries to avoid, slow, or stop social responsibility.

  • Defensive Stance

    An approach to social responsibility in which the organization will fight any allegations of social irresponsibility.

  • Accommodative Stance

    An approach to social responsibility in which the organization goes beyond the minimal standards of social responsibility but does not necessary seek to make major changes.

  • Proactive Stance Accommodative Stance

    An approach to social responsibility in which the organization goes beyond the minimal standards of social responsibility by actively anticipating future issues.