Answer the qustions from the Articale
1. What are the responsibilities of the corporate Board of Directors and the corporate management group running the corporation? Based upon the state law, the corporate charter and public, why is this so ?
2 What are the essential interests of each of the stakeholder groups in the stakeholder model of the corporation? How can they be heard by management and than reconciled?
Corporate Responsibility 8
O O C O C
The Socral Responsnbihty of Busmess Is
to I ncrease Its Profits
When I hear businessmen speak eloquently responsible are businessmen, which means
about the ?social responsibilities of business individual proprietors or corporate execu-
in a free-enterprise system,? I am reminded tives. Most of the discussion of social respono
of the wonderful line about the Frenchman sibility is directed at corporations, so in what
who discovered at the age of 70 that he had follows I shall mostly neglect the individual
been speaking prose all his life. The busi- proprietors and speak of corporate execu-
nessmen believe that they are defending free tives.
enterprise when they declaim that business In a free-enterprise, private~property sys-
is not concerned ?merely? with profit but tern, a corporate executive is an employee of
also with promoting desirable ?social? ends; the owners of the business. He has direct re-
that business has a ?social conscience? and Sponsibility to his employers. That responsi-
takes seriously its responsibilities for provid- bility is to conduct the business in accord-
ing employment, eliminating discrimina- ance with their desires, which generally will
tion, avoiding pollution and whatever else be to make as much money as possible while
may be the catchwords of the contemporary conforming to the basic rules of the society,
crop of reformers. In fact they are-or both those embodied in law and those em-
would be if they or anyone else took them bodied in ethical custom. Of course, in some
seriously-preaching pure and unadulter- cases his employers may have a different ob-
ated socialism. Businessmen who talk this jective. A group of persons might establish a
way are unwitting puppets of the intellectual corporation for an eleemosvnary purpose-
forces that have been undermining the basis for example, a hospital or a school. The
of a free society these past decades. manager of such a corporation will not have
The discussions of the ?social responsibil- money profit as his objectives but the ren-
ities of businessâ€ are notable for their analyt- dering of certain services.
ical looseness and lack of rigor. What does it In either case, the key point is that, in his
mean to say that ?business? has responsibili- capacity as a corporate executive, the man-
ties? Only people can have responsibilities. ager is the agent of the individuals who own
A corporation is an artificial person and in the corporation or establish the eleemosy-
this sense may have artificial responsibili- nary institution, and his primary responsio
ties, but ?business? as a whole cannot be said bility is to them.
to have responsibilities, even in this vague Needless to say, this does not mean that it
sense. The first step toward clarity in ex- is easy to judge how well he is performing
amining the doctrine of the social responsi. his task. But at least the criterion of perform-
bility of business is to ask precisely what it ance is straightforward, and the persons
implies for whom. among whom a voluntary contractual ar-
Presumably, the individuals who are to be rangement exists are clearly defined.
From Milton Friedman. ?The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits.â€ New York Times Magazine,
September 13, 1970. Copyright ? l970 by The New York Times Company. Reprinted by permission.
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