Social Responsibility and Ethics in Business

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Social responsibility is important in business since it promotes ethics and extends a positive impact on the environment and society. A responsible company is concerned about the influence of its decisions on the community and ensures that its behaviors support sustainable welfare, development, and health. It also encourages accountability and fulfillment of actions and civic duty that benefit society. It is achieved when an equilibrium is attained and maintained between the environment and society’s welfare and economic growth (Ericksen).

Social responsibility theory is based on ethics, where actions and decisions are ethically validated. A socially irresponsible action can harm society and affect sustainability. Inherent moral values explain what is right and encourage every business to avoid engaging in the wrong activities. This paper explores social responsibilities and ethics in business and discusses the impact of good and bad decisions.

Main body

Businesses are expected to develop a social responsibility system depending on the operating environment. This means that the environment and workers should be given equal attention, similar to the organization’s economy. Social responsibility promotes the protection of the environment and improves society’s integrity. Ethical considerations should be prioritized before personal benefits or interests since they support more people. Breaking environmental regulations is an unethical decision that can harm society (Rietdijk).

The government needs to intervene to ensure that companies do not engage in activities that can damage the community. For instance, they should not be allowed to drain their effluents to sources of natural water. It is also necessary to control the release of greenhouse gases since they can extend detrimental impacts that would eventually affect everyone.

Poor social responsibilities influenced banks to lose integrity and ethics in the 2008-2010 financial meltdown. Although many years have passed, these institutions are still struggling to rebuild their image to the public. Traditional banks can sustain and improve the negative public opinion by making integrity their core values, ensuring control over the compliance, and making resilient decisions (Rietdijk). It is necessary to identify social needs and strive to satisfy them to remain relevant in the market and improve public opinion.

Many organizations have failed to achieve social responsibility because of making ethical compromises in an attempt to attain high performance. Most businesses are over-focusing on achieving more profits and outdoing competitors while disregarding their responsibilities to society (Ericksen). For instance, the first three priority values for Boeing Company are integrity, quality, and safety. This shows that social responsibility is not among its top interests since the company is paying attention to how it can achieve higher returns on its investment. The case of Boeing presents a direct contradiction of the core value statement, which shows that the company is concerned about social responsibilities. However, it is clear that it is only concerned with higher production and increased revenue. The case reveals that adopting a value system requires management commitment in the implementation of business ethics.

Poor social responsibilities were noted with Boeing’s Everett Washington plant. In 2017, the company failed to manage its debris to the extent that it affected society and exposed many people to the risk of developing health conditions (Ericksen). The U.S Department of Defense, which was a customer of the company, responded by abandoning its product until the problem was addressed. It suspended buying KC-46 Tankers from the plant in Everett to influence the elimination of trash, bolts, and tools in the planes’ bodies (Ericksen). Since the problem was being realized in all Boeing plants, it is clear that the company was only concerned with production output and ignored other core values.

Unethical behaviors can cause many problems, including compromising customers’ confidentiality and trust. Failing to use recommended production procedures to reduce the cost of operations can affect the overall quality of products. This means that generated products may fail to attain the minimum requirements, particularly when wrong or inadequate raw materials are used. When the product fails to meet the expectations of consumers, the involved company is likely to experience increased complaints from the market and a subsequent reduction in sales (Ericksen). This translates to reduced profits and market share, which can eventually eliminate the business from the market.

Focusing on enhancing production increase at the expense of issues that can affect consumers usually comes with more shortcomings than benefits. As the company develops strategies to improve its sales and production, it must evaluate the implication of its activities to society. This can facilitate the making of appropriate decisions that would boost production and promote social responsibilities and ethics.

Effective corporate social responsibility helps businesses attain improved brand recognition, reputation, financial performance, growth, and customer loyalty (Rietdijk). It is placed in a better position to retain and attract talents from the job market. These benefits facilitate market expansion since more customers and suppliers would like to be associated with a successful company. Everyone would like to transact with a responsible business that is concerned with the welfare of others.

Efforts to reduce the use of resources, emissions and waste can help save money and the environment. Investing in renewable energy can reduce environmental degradation practices and bring down the cost of fuel and utility bills. This can enable companies to realize more profits and improved expansions. Responsible businesses tend to reduce their regulatory burden since they achieve a desirable relationship with authorities (Rietdijk).

They are also more likely to identify and explore new business opportunities to support the development of enhanced services and products. Moreover, they access finances since more investors would be interested in working with them. When a company behaves responsibly, it achieves positive media attention, particularly when engaging in community activities. Overall, the operation of a business affects all of its stakeholders. How it operates and performs contributes a lot to its reputation. It is a business’s responsibility to act ethically to achieve its overall growth and to gain acceptance from society.


In conclusion, many companies have been doing poorly in terms of social responsibility and ethics. This has been contributed by focusing on the development and profitability only while failing to pay attention to social and ethical roles (Rietdijk). Every business should ensure that its activities, behaviors, and actions are sustainable and do not harm the environment. Although the achievement of economic targets is important, organizations should ensure that workers and environmental welfare are also considered during the planning process.

Bad decisions can result in a detrimental impact and sometimes expose the business to legal issues. The problems affect the organizational reputation and make it difficult to achieve its objectives. Businesses should understand that improving their social responsibilities could promote their reputation and eventually enable them to realize better returns.

Works Cited

Ericksen, Paul. “Is Ethics in Business Possible?”. Industry Week, 2020. Web.

Rietdijk, Tames. “How to Improve Ethics in Banks and Financial Institutions”. Business Forensics. 2020. Web.

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