ISO 26000: Social Responsibility in 21st Century Management

Dr. Donna M. Schaeffer, Marymount University and Dr. Patrick C. Olson, National University

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a network of public and private standards institutes in 157 countries:

(Source: Mapserver)

Member institutions may be public, or private:

Hellenic Organization for Standardization

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

Nigerian Organization for Standards

Instituto de Normas Técnicas de Costa Rica.

Some commmonly adhered standards:

ISO 14000: Greenhouse Gases: How to quantify and report emisssions

ISO 15830: Design and performance specifications for a 50th percentile male side impact dummy

ISO 17090: Digital certificates for providing security for the transmission of electronic health care records

Why is a Standard Important?

  • Organizations must provide products and services that satisfy the customer

  • Environmental concerns (see The Story of Stuff )

  • There is little agreement on what the term "social responsibility" means

  • There are high-level movements, such as the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights , the UN Global Compact , and the International Labour Organization (ILO) ; and individual-level efforts from individual organizations, such as Body Shop , Gap Project Red , and Intel.

  • Challenges of globalization

  • Growing awareness of abuses of human rights

  • Increase in poverty levels

  • Legislation:


    ISO 26000: Social Responsibility

  • assist organizations in addressing their social responsibilities while respecting cultural, societal, environmental and legal differences and economic development conditions;

  • provide practical guidance related to operationalizing social responsibility, identifying and engaging with stakeholders, and enhancing credibility of reports and claims made about social responsibility;

  • emphasise performance results and improvement;

  • increase confidence and satisfaction in organizations among their customers and other stakeholders;

  • be consistent with and not in conflict with existing documents, international treaties and conventions and existing ISO standards;

  • not be intended to reduce government's authority to address the social responsibility of organizations;

  • promote common terminology in the social responsibility field; and

  • broaden awareness of social responsibility.