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Friedman's statement (published by The New York Times Magazine in 1970) suggests that economic and social objectives are separ - Essay Example

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Corporate Social Responsibility Corporate social responsibility or CSR is a process through which a corporation balances its environmental and socio-economic responsibilities within its functional operations in order to meet the expectations of various stakeholders and shareholders…
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Friedmans statement (published by The New York Times Magazine in 1970) suggests that economic and social objectives are separ
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Download file to see previous pages CSR has however remained a debatable topic, as regards actual role played by corporation within societies, as firms have attempted to minimise their CSR roles or devised ways to use social responsibility as another method (a branding tool) for increasing their profits. Milton Friedman has been a major proponent of anti CSR movement, and has written articles, which are considered as seminal pieces of work against CSR and corporations that promote CSR. This is evident in his 1970 article, “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits,” published by The New York Times Magazine in 1970, where he claimed “businessmen who talk this way are unwitting puppets of the intellectual forces that have been undermining the basis of a free society these past decades” (Friedman, 1970: 1). He further suggested that social and economic goals are distinctly different entities for any corporation and the two cannot work hand in hand. In this context, the article will explore Friedman’s ideas in the light of different views about the nature of the corporation, as discussed by Klonoski’s (1991) in his article, “Foundational Considerations in the Corporate Social Responsibility Debate.” The researcher’s stand that CSR is an important part of modern business strategy will be illustrated with examples from scholarly articles and real life instances. Discussion There is a great deal of significance associated with the concept of CSR, as conducting business is a process selected by society for manufacture and dissemination of products and services. Initially, it was felt that any business firm could ful?l its social obligations by merely sustaining in the competitive market and optimizing their pro?ts. The business firms could use all social and natural resources for making profits simply by adhering to the basic governmental rules imposed for controlling malpractices. The existing market system created a framework essential for monitoring and controlling the system, while pro?ts guaranteed efficiency and incentives. Under this system, self-interest and ethics (workplace and individual) formed to be main guiding principles for a corporation’s operations. Therefore, by generating pro?ts, firms helped in growth and development of a country’s economic system that in turn created a scope for increased employment and income generation for more people (Beck, 1992). Therefore, CSR was limited to improving the bottom line, and it was generally acknowledged that a business firm would fail to survive without making pro?ts; hence, the question of assuming a social role was never raised. It was only recently experts opined that besides having profit-making goals (or economic objectives), corporations must work towards addressing certain public expectations, that is, aim at social welfare. Owing to this, the very concept of social responsibility associated with pro?t optimization underwent changes, and social and economic goals both received equal attention. Buchholz (1991), while defining CSR, distinguished ?ve main elements that delineate the term. These are: Business firms have obligations that go beyond manufacturing products and providing services at a financial gain; These obligations help to resolve significant social issues, especially ones created by the firms themselves; The impact from the operational ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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