Social responsibility is a term referring to the accountability businesses have to balance out their commitments to people, including customers, other businesses, investors and employees. People form opinions of a company based on its actions and this is where social responsibility becomes important. Accommodative social responsibility is a strategy used when a company chooses to accept responsibility for certain problems and takes the initiative to solve them.
The accommodative approach to social responsibility is regarded as an ethical issue. Ethical issues are issues where people or organizations can choose to do the “right” or “wrong” thing in a situation. Ethical issues extend far past laws. Laws are designed to give guidance on many issues. Social responsibility takes this a step farther.
Social responsibility is conducted by taking one of four approaches. The first two approaches are very similar. The obstructionist approach happens when managers try to block information from reaching the public and is not a socially responsible approach, while the defensive approach does not go beyond what the law requires. The proactive approach has the greatest focus on social responsibility. Under this approach, a company tries to figure out how to help with the problem. The accommodative approach willingly provides information and facts and attempts to address the concerns of various stakeholders.
Since social responsibility is strictly an ethical issue and not a legal one, organizations are free to choose whichever approach they prefer. Companies do not have to be socially responsible past the point of what the law requires, though one characteristic of companies with an accommodative approach is that they are more willing to do whatever is asked of them, even if it is more than the law requires.
Consumers are more likely to trust businesses that have either an accommodative or proactive approach. These types of businesses appear to really care and value people and their opinions. Companies that try to hide, distort or lie about facts are rarely trusted by consumers. Consumers can often see the way an organization runs just by listening to the news or reading the paper.