The concept of Individual Social Responsibility has several strands:
- The degree to which people minimize their negative impact on others.
- The positive benefits people bring to the community and to society in general.
- The positive steps people make to minimize their environmental impact.
- Following a code of ethics.
- Being more “We than Me”
So, in summary, then we can perhaps see Individual Social Responsibility as:
“The continuing commitment to behave ethically and contribute to people’s development while improving the quality of life of other individuals, groups, teams as well as society at large”
Some examples of the lack of individual social responsibility and the possible consequences are as follows:
- Cars parking on yellow lines = dangerous overtaking is needed, traffic flows are blocked
- Cyclists dressed in black and with no lights on at night = little visibility for others = accidents/personal injury
- Litter = someone has to pick it up (at a cost to “society”)
- Speeding = a dangerous practice causing loss of life and accidents (that always happen to someone else)
- Not voting in a democracy = cultural apathy
- Not responding to requests for public consultation, e.g. on planning regulations = views “they” do what they want
- Overall, not thinking about the effect our behavior has on others
- By not challenging outdated rules and procedures that we know are wrong, we merely “continue to row the boat we know” yet “if we always do, what we have always done, then we will always get, what we always have got”.
So what happens without ISR?
This is where people:
- Do not follow standard rules and regulations that exist for the “common good” e.g. speed limits when driving, parking on yellow lines, rules over litter
- Do not speak to those who they see and know break standards (as they choose to leave it someone else to make a complaint and/or believe that “everyone is free to do just what they want”)
- Show no respect for other people
- Are more about “me” instead of more “we”
To change behavior, we may well have to look at the attitudes/thinking, values, and beliefs that underpin what we do.
How can you do this?
Perhaps answering the following questions will get you started:
- How would the world be, if everyone practiced ISR?
- How do we get ISR?
- What would I need to change in myself?
So the message is that each of us needs to:
Think – reflect – reframe – visualise – reconsider – revise
- “If you think you can or think you can’t; you are right”
- “If it is to be, then it is down to me”
- “From little acorns, mighty oak trees grow”
- “Change starts with me-so what will I do?”