Social responsibility “reflects behaviours of willingly contributing to society, to one’s social groups, and generally to the welfare of others. It includes acting responsibly, having a social consciousness and showing concern for the greater community” (Fernandez et al., 2012). In recent years a number of businesses have been reassessing their purpose and what role it plays in society. At the heart of this movement is the notion of “purpose over profits”, which can be fostered through the EQ skills of Social Responsibility, Problem Solving and Empathy. 

Social Responsibility

Is “willingly contributing to society, to one’s social groups, and generally to the welfare of others. Social Responsibility involves acting responsibly, having social consciousness, and showing concern for the greater community” (MHS, 2011). In an annual letter to CEOs, Larry Fink, founder, chairman and CEO of BlackRock, wrote: “Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose. To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society” (Sorkin, 2018). This points directly to the skill of social responsibility. When this skill is underdeveloped it manifests as apathetic, uninvolved team members who are self-seeking and prioritise their own gain over the greater good. When well developed, it manifests as teams who are actively involved in the organisation and beyond, who lay down their desires for the benefit of others (Fernandez et al., 2012). 

Problem Solving 

Is the “ability to find solutions to problems in situations where emotions are involved. Problem solving includes the ability to understand how emotions impact decision making” (MHS, 2011). Social responsibility is a very broad category and incorporates multiple facets including, but not limited to, ethical decision making, sustainability, social upliftment, and equality All these facets contain complex challenges involving emotions that require good problem solving skills. The EQ skill of problem solving is all about solving real world problems –  the ones we face in our daily social environments (Nezu et al., 2013). 


Is “recognising, understanding, and appreciating how other people feel. Empathy involves being able to articulate your understanding of another’s perspective and behaving in a way that respects others’ feelings” (MHS, 2011). The ideal of “purpose over profit” is founded in empathy – in looking beyond yourself, your own needs, desires and wants and gaining insight into the experiences of others.