Some Considerations Regarding the Social Responsibility of Entrepreneurs in the European Union

Some Considerations Regarding the Social Responsibility of Entrepreneurs in the European Union

Mirela Matei (Department of Management, Accounting and Finance, Prodean of the Faculty of Economics, Petroleum and Gas University of Ploiesti, Poliesti, Romania) and Marian Catalin Voica (Department of Management, Accounting and Finance, Petroleum and Gas University of Ploiesti, Poliesti, Romania, & The Bucharest University of Economics Studies, Bucharest, Romania)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/ijsem.2013010103
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The concept of corporate social responsibility is in constant development. It passes from the sphere of large transnational companies to the smaller sized companies, in the field of SMEs. Although SMEs don’t have the impact of great corporations, they have a duty to carry out social responsibility programs. An SME, as a singular unit, does not have the social impact of transnational corporations, but the large number of SMEs creates a social impact comparable to the one generated by large corporations. Due to competitive pressures, large transnational companies have outsourced some activities. SMEs that have taken over these activities have taken over responsibility for social programs to offset the negative effects arising
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1. The Concept Of Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has its origins in the need of companies to enhance the image in front of the society and to offset the negative influences through the realization of social projects. Over time many, theories emerged about the concept of CSR, the forms it takes or should take, the reasons underlying the decision to achieve an action in the field of social responsibility etc.

The development of the concept of CSR was accompanied by much debate and, in the way to the present form, multiple opinions pro and against social projects made by companies have generated. First steps with charitable or philanthropic nature have been made many centuries ago (Metaxas & Tsavdaridou, 2010) but studies have shown rapid growth since the late nineteenth century, when it appeared the first charitable projects of the American and European industrialists in order to create better living conditions for work force employed and their families. The 20th century has resulted in diversification of actions that enter the field of CSR. Among the various actions that can be framed as the CSR, in addition to the specific actions of the charitable and philanthropic organizations of the 19th century, now we can enumerate voluntary actions in the field of human rights, environmental protection, consumer welfare, improving conditions in education, the fight against corruption.

Definition of the CSR is very complex, and the surprise of all specific features is difficult, which is why many definitions and theories have been proposed and constructed to capture more accurately the social involvement of the companies. The initiator of the concept of CSR, H. R. Bowen says that organizations have the obligation to “pursue those policies, taking decisions, follow those lines of action that are desirable in terms of the goals and values of society.” (Maignan & Ferrell, 2004).

The next important step in the development of CSR concept was designed by Archie Carroll in 1979 along with the construction of the model of social responsibility. In 1991 the Carrol has developed model or social responsibility for pyramid building. According to this model, a company's social responsibilities can be divided into several types: economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic that depend on the demands of the society in which the company operates:(Carroll, 2004):

  • Philantropic Responsibility: Be A Good Global Corporate Citizen And Do What Is Desired By Global Stakeholders;

  • Ethical Responsibility: Be Ethical And Do What Is Expected By Global Stakeholders;

  • Legal Responsibility: Obey The Law And Do What Is Required By Global Stakeholders;

  • Economic Responsibility: Be Profitable And Do What Is Required By Global Capitalism.

Concluding, A. Caroll feels that the responsibility of a company is to gain profit, to comply with the law, to act ethically and to be a good citizen.

Milton Friedman believed that the sole objective of the company is getting the profit and the only responsibility is to the shareholders, fact that come into conflict with the involvement of more and more powerful companies in actions in the field of CSR. Companies should not have social responsibility because they are not people, they are pseudo-people, and the only people who can initiate actions or philanthropic charities are shareholders, and in terms of social responsability, public authorities are empowered to get involved socially because they know best the needs of society. In fact, the public authorities have a major role in the context of social responsability (Matei, 2012).

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