Corporate Social Responsibility

Length: 5 Pages 1174 Words

Introduction Over the past decades, there have been increasing concerns from the public that many businesses have little concern for the consumer, care nothing about the deteriorating social order, and are indifferent to the problems of the environment and minorities. What do business and ethics have in common? Is ethical behavior expected and rewarded in the business world? Is it sufficient as a businessman to manage business as long he comply government regulations? Or basically, what is the purpose of the big business organization? These concerns are often related as what social responsibilities have. Is there a social responsibility of business? This question is asked many times in a variety of ways, with just as many answers. Most of the debates focused on the two extreme classical and socioeconomic views of social responsibility. The classical view holds that corporate social responsibility is to maximize profit (Friedman, 1970). Opposing to such view is the socioeconomic view of social responsibility. Theorists such as R. Edward Freeman (1984) supporting such view believe ‘that business owes something back to the society that supports t, and that this debt is greater than the debt of the individual members of society Continue...

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The classical view feels that managers do not have the expertise (social skills) to make social decision, as they are more financial and operational orientated. The above critics do not recognize the distinction between corporate social responsibility and corporate governance. Kelso and Adler (1958) who also shared the same views insist that 'the sole function of any company is to generate and diffuse capital for the benefit of its shareholders' Like Friedman, they call for substantial curbs on managerial freedom within companies. The general public seems to disagree with Friedman's underlying presumption. Edward Freeman's article, "Stakeholder Theory of the Modern Corporation presents a direct challenge to Friedman's view. In short, they may reject what was regarded as unwarranted attack on business activity, but end up by calling for more rigorous corporate governance by imposing more controls over the activities of corporate executives and directors. Friedman's view holds that if free market cannot solve the social problem, then it falls upon government and legislation to do the job. Argument for Corporate Social Responsibility One of the most practical reasons for business to be socially responsible is to ward off future government intervention and regulation. In some cases, laws have been broken. Friedman further explained in his article that thus instead of acting as the agent of the stockholders, customers or the employees, in a different way that they would have spend it, the corporate executive is 'in effect imposing taxes on the one hand, and deciding how the tax proceeds shall be spent on the other'. The article by Milton Friedman is the best to demonstrate the classical view of purely profit-based responsibility of business. Freeman (1984) defines a stakeholder group as 'any group or individual who can affect or is affected by a business. Executive Summary Body Social responsibility is defined as a business firm's obligation, beyond that required by the law and economics, to pursue long time goals that are good for society.


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