Social Responsibility

Synonyms for responsibility authority, control, power, management, duty, influence.

Linking articles: Becoming a Caring Citizen; Responsibility: Rules

Definition of Social Responsibility

Social responsibility is an ethical theory that states that an entity or individual ought to show a civic duty to their community and perform actions that benefits the economic growth, social welfare, and the environment. Social responsibility reminds individuals that certain actions can cause harm to others.

The idea of social responsibility rest on the notion that individuals will tend to do things for their sole benefit or material gain. This is seen most in a company (an entity) where the owners may make a decision that benefits the company through profits but the product they sell causes much pollution to the environment.

On the other hand, if an entity or an individual is socially responsible they can get the help they need to succeed. For a company, it could mean increase employee performance, increase customer satisfaction, efficient use of resources, and lower cost. For an individual, it means that the person would get the support they need to succeed at what the individual wishes to do.

Personal Choice

It is good to know you have the social responsibility to your community and country. However, we cannot talk only on this without considering personal choice. We have the freedom to choose our courses in life. This is referred to as free will and free will is linked to moral responsibility and also to social responsibility. Our free will is exercised by our actions, done freely as desired. We do not practice free will in a vacuum; we are responsible for what we do and our actions. Our actions pays us back. We feel the consequences of our personal choice. So, what do you think is expected of you!

Read the poem below aloud and discuss why the writer is asking the reader to remember.


1. Remember, child, remember,
That God is in the sky;
That He looks down on all we do,
With an ever-wakeful eye.

2. Remember, oh remember,
That, all the day and night,
He sees our thoughts and actions
With an ever-watchful sight.

3. Remember, child, remember,
That God is good and true;
That He wishes us to always be
Like Him in all we do.

4. Remember that He ever hates
A falsehood or a lie;
Remember He will punish, too,
The wicked, by and by.

5. Remember, oh remember,
That He is like a friend,
And wishes us to holy be,
And happy, in the end.

6. Remember, child, remember,
To pray to Him in heaven;
And if you have been doing wrong,
Oh, ask to be forgiven.

7. Be sorry, in your little prayer,
And whisper in his ear;
Ask his forgiveness and his love.
And He will surely hear.

8. Remember, child, remember,
That you love, with all your might,
The God who watches o’er us,
And gives us each delight;
Who guards us ever through the day,
And saves us in the night.

Typically, we would hope we gain from our personal choice. However, as the poem warns, we can also feel the consequences of our personal choice. Consequences is a result or effect from a bad choice, it is not always pleasant or welcome, but it is occurs when we make decisions that is selfish and greedy.

Worksheet: Personal Choice (Action and Consequence)

Worksheet: Personal Choice (Good or Bad)

Checklist – How to develop social responsibility

First ask yourself:

  1. Have you taken full advantage of the opportunities offered to you?
  2. Are you working to your full capacity at school?
  3. Have you clean your own room?

Start doing this:

  1. Stop doing what you know your doing to be wrong.
  2. Get to school on time.
  3. Stop interrupting people.
  4. Make peace with your parents and siblings.
  5. Use everything you have at hand.

Do not avoid your responsibility. Read the story below aloud then discuss the question below.


“Don’t you hate splitting wood?” asked Charlie, as he sat down on a log to hinder Rob for a while.

“No, I rather like it. When I get hold of a tough old fellow, I say, ‘See here, now, you think you’re the stronger, and are going to beat me; so I’ll split you up into kindling wood.”

“Pshaw!” said Charlie, laughing; “and it’s only a stick of wood.”

“Yes; but you see I pretend it’s a lesson, or a tough job of any kind, and it’s nice to conquer it.”

“I don’t want to conquer such things; I don’t care what becomes of them. I wish I were a man, and a rich one.”

“Well, Charlie, if you live long enough you’ll be a man, without wishing for it; and as for the rich part, I mean to be that myself.”

“You do. How do you expect to get your money? By sawing wood?”

“May be—some of it; that’s as good a way as any, so long as it lasts. I don’t care how I get rich, you know, so that it’s in an honest and useful way.”

“I’d like to sleep over the next ten years, and wake up to find myself a young man with a splendid education and plenty of money.”

“Humph! I am not sleepy—a night at a time is enough for me. I mean to work the next ten years. You see there are things that you’ve got to work out—you can’t sleep them out.”

“I hate work,” said Charlie, “that is, such work as sawing and splitting wood, and doing chores. I’d like to do some big work, like being a clerk in a bank or something of that sort.”

“Wood has to be sawed and split before it can be burned,” said Rob. “I don’t know but I’ll be a clerk in a bank some time; I’m working towards it. I’m keeping father’s accounts for him.”

How Charlie laughed! “I should think that was a long way from being a bank clerk. I suppose your father sells two tables and six chairs, some days, doesn’t he?”

“Sometimes more than that, and sometimes not so much,” said Rob, in perfect good humor. “I didn’t say I was a bank clerk now. I said I was working towards it. Am I not nearer it by keeping a little bit of a book than I should be if I didn’t keep any book at all?”

“Not a whit—such things happen,” said Charlie, as he started to go.

Now, which of these boys, do you think, grew up to be a rich and useful man, and which of them joined a party of tramps before he was thirty years old?

Corporate Responsibility

Companies also must practice social responsibility. Companies must ensure that they make positive impacts in the community and country they exist. Consumers love businesses that give back to the community.

Business ethics provides principles and standards that determine acceptable moral conduct. This regulates how the business do business with their customers and the world. Socially responsible businesses try to do what is right. These good practices show the company in a positive light. However, corporate social responsibility success relies on the individual who must do the right thing.

Discussion Questions

List three business practices that can be considered unethical.

How does individuals encourage companies to act responsibly?

Distinguish between group and individual responsibility.

How does rules encourage individuals to act responsibly?

List four tasks for which you are responsible at home, school and in the community.

Observe the video below then discuss the following questions in your class.

  1. Name and discuss two acts on the film above that is unethical or socially irresponsible.
  2. How has Nestle acted unethical? How has Walmart acted unethical?
  3. What is forced labour? How does it affect families and poor people?
  4. Why should a government be concerned about child labour?
  5. How can you, as an individual, act socially responsible to force companies to act responsibly?
  6. How has the fashion industry acted unethically?
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