Critics of the social responsibility concept put forward the following arguments.
1. Vague Concept: The concept of social responsibility is very vague and amenable to different interpretations. There is no consensus on its meaning and scope. In such a situation, it would be futile as well as risky to accept social responsibility.
2. Dilution of Economic Goals: By accepting social responsibility, business will compromise with economic goals. Business is an economic institution and its only responsibility is to make maximum possible profits for its owners. It would endanger its economic viability by accepting any other responsibility.
In the words of Million Friedman, social responsibility of business is a ‘subversive’ doctrine.
3. Lack of Social Skill: Business ordganisations and their managers are not familiar with social affairs. There are specialist social service organisations such as Government which can better deal with social problems.
4. Burden on Consumers: If business deals with social problems, Costs of doing business would increase. These costs will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices or will have to be borne by owners. This would be taxation without representation.
5. Responsibility without power: Acceptance of social responsibilities will involve diversion of precious managerial time and talent on social action responsibilities with social power. If business is allowed to intervene in social affairs it may perpetuate its own value system to the detriment of society.
6. Misuse of Responsibilities: Acceptance of social responsibilities will involve diversion of precious managerial time and talent on social action programmes. It may result in misdirection of valuable corporate resources.
7. Lack of Yard-stick: Profitability is the common criteria for decision-making in business. Tempering it with social responsibility would make the decision-making process quite complex and controversial.
8. Improper Role: The proper role of business is to use its resources and energies efficiently so as to earn the best possible return on investment within the confines of law and ethics. Business should concentrate on economic performance leaving social service to other organisations.
9. Already Responsible: Business organisations are already serving society by providing goods and services. Generating employment, developing technology and contributing to public exchequer through tax payments. It would be unjust to overburden them with further responsibilities.
Public opinion is in favor of the assumption of social responsibilities. In fact, the question today is not whether or not to accept responsibilities but how much responsibilities to assume.