Social Responsibility – a Slippery Slope?

This analysis is a little too short for such a broad topic, but it's something I want to link to because I keep meaning to address this topic in a longer more detailed post..

But the social responsibility mavens are arguing that the corporation is a social institution that has a duty to directly address larger problems. It's tempting for CEOs to embrace that view because they have been on the defensive for so many years. Embracing a broad view of social responsibility could be a way to reclaim lost legitimacy.

Pop over and read the whole thing. It isn't very long.

  • Bill

    Is there a fear that prohibits business leadership from realzing the requisite capital necessary to solve and address complex pRoblems?

  • Also why are business leaders either so nieve or so arrogant to believe that they can divert focus/capital from the mission of the company towards another endeavor and still think they are utilizing the companies resources in an effort of making more money now and in the future? Which is the only thing that can guarantee customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and shareholder satisfaction.

    Bill, maybe the fear that exists is if you solve the complex pRoblems and make money they call it “wind fall profits” and you suddenly appear beore the Senate

  • Here we are again. “The corporation should be evaluated solely on how much money it makes.”

    I’m starting to think this is an issue like gun control or global warming. Maybe it is impossible to get consensus no matter what the science says.

    But for those of you who question that the real purpose of a business should be to make money there’s plenty of evidence that says that the corporation should be measured first and foremost on their ability to “find, keep, and grow the right customers.” Next comes the stewardship of all resources and making money is the result of doing those things right.

    Money can be made in many ways that are illegal, unethical, and harmful to the future of the enterprise. How do you discover that (before it becomes a disaster) if all you measure is your take?

    So just because some “institute” says “The corporation should be evaluated solely on how much money it makes” doesn’t make it true.

  • Even when you accept that “The corporation should be evaluated solely on how much money it makes”, social responsibility STILL makes sense.

    In “Built to Last”, Jim Collins showed that the companies that make the most money, are those who don’t focus exclusively on making money. This is a counter-intuitive truth that is much overlooked in business today.

    CSR is not for the naive or the do-gooders. It’s not a tool for easing a burdened corporate conscience. It’s a way to make more money.

    As a board member or shareholder of a major corporation, I demand that they get involved in CSR, because that will help maximize the return on my investment. And it might incidentally do some good :o)