Psychological aspects of the problem of social responsibility...

Psychological aspects of the problem of social responsibility and business ethics

Psychological analysis of business is impossible without analyzing the place of business in the social structure. Self-perception of a businessman, his "image of I", various options and ways of building relations with the world around him are somehow determined by the position of business in society, its relations with other social systems and institutions.

Business as a social institution

Among sociologists there is no agreement on the term "social institution". The most common is the understanding of the social institution as a kind of human activity based on a clearly developed ideology, a system of rules and norms, and developed social control over their implementation. The social institution is an organized system of links and social norms that unites significant social values ​​and procedures that meet the needs of society.

• Business is part of a social system.

Emerging in the course of social practice, social institutions are formed through the repetition and evaluation of acceptable patterns of behavior, which gradually turn into standardized customs and habits. For example, banks as elements of the business institute developed in the conditions of the need for accumulation, transfer, loans and postponement of money. In order for the banking system to settle in the society, it was necessary to pass a number of stages of satisfying the users' needs for this system. In particular, people should have accumulation and the need for their preservation and augmentation. People had to unite, formulate common goals, certain rules and norms for the relationship between owners of money and bankers, and then, in real interaction through practical tests and errors, gradually develop procedures for banks based on norms and rules. Through the practical application of the norms, rules and procedures of banks and the approval of a system of sanctions for their maintenance, a system of status and roles was created to ensure the functioning of the bank as a social institution.

This process is natural, because people always try to institutionalize their relationships related to actual needs. For example, in a situation of limited resources, the sale of goods or services to a large number of people almost always creates the need for a fair distribution order. The first applicants are those who have come before, which leads to the appearance of a queue. If this involves the consolidation of certain roles (queue manager, controller, etc.), the creation of a clear system of statuses and roles, then a specific queue institution may arise to receive material benefits.

In this case, social ties will have full institutional status. If the behaviors, roles and statuses in the queue have not received the proper social approval, then the institution will not develop and will gradually disappear.

Thus, the social institution has its own history. It seems wrong that despite the ever-lasting need for goods and services in the society, according to many experts engaged in the history of business, the centuries-old experience of merchants, changed all those who provided vital activity to countries and peoples, can not strictly relate to the history of business, but only is a prerequisite for its occurrence (Emelyanov, Povarnitsyna, 1998). This question is very controversial, especially in the psychological context. Today there are more than one hundred definitions of business, the concept of business has changed over time, so it would be more correct to say that modern business, known to us as profit-making activity, has a recent history, although the social institution of business in its numerous forms as well eternal, like the institution of the family. In this connection it is appropriate to recall the words of A. Whitehead, who wrote that "In their general sense, commerce (business, mutual exchange of material goods and their production in the terminology of the author) means any kind of exchange committed by people through mutual belief."

In business, like any other social institution, there are institutional roles that reflect the most constant set of behavioral expectations, the deviation from which adversely affects performance. For example, theft, despite its wide distribution in people's lives, is always perceived as a violation of social norms and socially significant roles, and therefore it is condemned and punished. Moreover, it threatens the very existence of business. If a person came into business and tries to establish a business without taking into account the role expectations, most likely, he is unlikely to be able to take a worthy place in this matter. With all the diversity of roles in business, a businessman is expected to be able to engage in activities aimed at making a profit. The role repertoire of business entities is very diverse. It depends on many factors, including cultural traditions, perceptions and stereotypes, within different socio-economic strata of society, etc. At the same time, it is possible to distinguish roles, statuses, types of activity that steadily determine the activity of a businessman in any conditions. Considering business as a social institution helps psychologists to better understand many of the phenomena in business, such as the boundaries of individual differences or the nature of conflicts. One businessman is cheerful and lucky, the other is anxious and diligent, but the behavior of both is determined by role requirements, so they must demonstrate the set of qualities necessary to achieve success in their activities. Understanding of this peculiarity of the social institution stimulates the psychologist to analyze the existing culture of business relations and allows more effective organizational consultation of managers and staff, training of business etiquette and communication.

Conflicts that arise within the institution can lead to a clash of individuals, but at the same time they also mean a clash of roles. In business there are perpetual role quarrels, such as the producer, who needs to sell all the products, and the customer who needs to check the validity of the product; a seller who must sell the product and make a profit, and a buyer who wants to purchase the goods and save their money, etc. This is an example of the clash of institutional roles, the understanding of which allows an individual engaged in business to better align his relations with other people, more effectively anticipate their actions.

In order to fulfill its functions, the social institution must take into account the abilities of various functionaries, formulate standards of conduct, adhere to the basic principles, develop cooperation with other institutions. In accordance with this, business as a social institution:

• Develops public values, i.e. shared ideas and goals by the business community;

• Produces public procedures, i.e. standard ways, patterns of behavior of individual representatives of business and business groups;

• relies on a system of certain social ties, i.e. intertwined roles and statuses through which the behavior of the individual and the group in business is carried out and held within certain limits.

For example, to successfully implement the tasks of promoting goods and services to markets, businessmen and business organizations should rely on the values ​​that have developed in culture (attitude to property, quality of life and products, attitude towards consumers, partnership interaction, etc.) implement specific procedures (organization of feedback from customers, partnership rules and obligations, concern for prestige, etc.), be involved in a complex intertwining of roles and statuses (producer, seller, buyer, advertiser, etc.).


Considering what has been said, we can note a number of important signs that allow us to determine the level of business development as a social institution:

• standards and norms of behavior (productivity, profitability, profit generation);

• Own symbolism (name, trademark, brand of the company, page on the Internet),

• material objects (office, equipment, shop, factory, overalls, forms, folders);

• A formal code supporting institutional roles (contracts, contracts, licenses, honor word);

• Fundamental beliefs, ideology (ownership, international character of business, free trade, the right to work, the role of money in society, the principles of business relations).

More developed institutions are characterized by a full set of characteristics. Business as a whole is one of such developed public institutions, but its separate structures (companies, enterprises, etc.) may not go to the institutional level. Thanks to these features, business exists as some kind of integrity that can be recognized among other social structures. According to certain features of the Institute, one can, to a certain extent, form an idea of ​​it as an integral structure. For example, an image of a company can be imagined from its name, main office or page on the Internet.

As a social institution, business arises and functions, satisfying certain people's needs. In every society there is a need for a large number of various goods and services that are necessary for a full life of people, and the development of society as a whole. Business provides the functioning of many other institutions, such as family, school, state, religion. For example, a happy family life is impossible without satisfying a whole range of material and spiritual needs, the provision of which directly depends on the current system of business relations in society. The usual problem of family rest, even the most affordable, for example, going out of town, going to the cinema, can be resolved in different ways depending on the range of services offered by the business in this area. Therefore, a psychological analysis of the business can include both the identification of the social needs that are met, and the consequences for individuals and groups of specific business proposals.

Business belongs to the category of those institutions that have emerged in response to enduring needs and characterize the life of developed societies: family, politics, business, education, religion, science, medicine, the media, etc. The condition for the development and success of business is a broad interaction with all social institutions. For example, the production of consumer goods and services takes into account the demographic situation, the traditions of families, the specifics of the activities of educational and cultural institutions.

Business is ultimately determined by the needs of people, but also forms norms, social structures, relationships between people. Realizing through people who use the established norms and procedures in practice, business develops institutional norms and rules of behavior. Business activities are carried out by people who are organized into groups and associations, where the division into statuses and roles is carried out in accordance with the needs of individual social groups or society as a whole. In this sense, business supports certain social structures and order in society and has an impact on social processes.

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