What is a Socially Responsible Organization?
Socially Responsible is a subjective phrase. What is socially responsible to one person, may not be socially responsible to another. Therefore, defining what is considered Socially Responsible by IS IT is essential to being able to choose whose success to contribute to among the myriad of organizations and businesses in the world, and to being understood by those looking to have services provided by IS IT.
Fundamentally this approach to doing business is about choice. IS IT is founded on the idea that we make choices each day which shape the world we currently live in and create the world we, and our children, will live in tomorrow. The idea is based on the fact that we do have control over the world that we create, and would like to see created, and that control is exercised through our choices.
IS IT supports organizations that it feels contribute to creating a world desirable to live in. There are any number of ways an organization can work toward that goal. The organization does not necessarily have to be a non-profit, or advocacy organization. Nor does it have to claim to be, or be considered, a "socially responsible" business. The organization simply must have in place practices that, in their implementation seek to create a better world. In line with this, what follows are some guidelines as to how IS IT determines Social Responsibility:
- Organizations that work toward creating a more democratic (choice-based) society. The cornerstone of a free society is choice. Allowing individuals to choose the direction of their lives is essential. Minimizing, or eliminating, the power that larger organizations have over the ability of individuals to make their own choices is a good thing.
- Organizations that
seek to create understanding between groups. Mediation, example, or direct involvment in conflict (local or global) makes a peaceful world. Peace (internal or external) are the only circumstances under which choice can truly occur.
- Organizations that work toward preserving, or caring for, the environment. The tragedy of the commons can be prevented through government control, or activism. Organizations assuming the role of actively protecting the environment are encouraged to contact IS IT for services.
- Organizations which seek to educate the public about increasing their effectiveness in creating a better world. These organizations seek to empower the public through knowledge. This knowledge encompasses everything from holistic health practices, through positive parenting, to socially responsible investing.
- Organizations which take an enlightened approach to managing their staff. Enlightened management seeks to identify the individual within, their intrinsic motivations, and put them to work enhancing the work of the organization while at the same time improving the career of the individual by providing the opportunities for them to use their natural talents and inclinations. Unenlightened management seeks to define a position and force a person to become that position, ignoring their innate abilities and focusing solely on the hierarchy or position-system that is in place.
- Organizations that make an effort to develop a progressive work environment for their staff. Developing a communicative, functional atmosphere for people to work in creates adjusted adults that can function in our world. Secretive, cloak-and-dagger, authoritative, don't-ask-questions kinds of environments spread fear and dysfunction in the world. Even if your mission is of the highest intent, if your work environment produces reactionary people that does less to help the world than a non-mission oriented company that truly helps people become greater human beings.
- In General, IS IT seeks to operate through a set of criteria originally defined in the book, "Good Works: A Guide To Social Change Careers." The book outlines four ways which we can contribute to social change:
Educating The Public - so they may understand the problem before attempting to resolve it,
Empowering Citizens - usually based on membership around a common interest to take direct action,
Changing Institutionial Behavior - corporate watchdogs, etc.,
Developing Alternative Institutions - alternative Health Care, energy, co-operative institutions.
If your organization is involved in one of these arenas, it is most likely that IS IT will be willing to contribute to the success of your efforts through improving its Information Technology, and efficiency.
IS IT also encourages job seekers to put some thought into what they will be contributing in their careers and take a Graduation Pledge to contribute to the world positively. The pledge reads "I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmentalconsequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organizations for which I work." For more information, or materials, on the Pledge program contact Neil Wollman at Manchester College, or visit their web site.
- Contributing to the success of Socially Responsible Organizations. -
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