The Debate over Corporate Social Responsibility

By Steve May; George Cheney et al. | Go to book overview

2

A New Generation of Global Corporate
Social Responsibility

MICHAEL STOHL CYNTHIA STOHL NIKKI C. TOWNSLEY

The social responsibility of business is to increase its prof-
its … to make the most money as possible while conform
ing to the basic rules of the society, both those embodied
in law and those embodied in ethical culture.

Milton Friedman

CR is not new. When Robert Owen joined David Dale in
1800 at his spinning mill in New Lanark he created a school
and workers' housing and he provided medical services. In
short, he ploughed business profits into improving the lives
of employees and their families. And over the course of the
next century the Cadburys, Frys, Rowantrees [
sic], William
Lever and others followed suit. And so it has continued to
the present day.

Nigel Griffiths

At its best, CSR is defined as the responsibility of a com-
pany for the totality of its impact, with a need to embed
society's values into its core operations as well as into its
treatment of its social and physical environment. Respon-
sibility is accepted as encompassing a spectrum—from the
running of a profitable business to the health and safety of
staff and the impact on the societies in which a company
operates.

Sir Geoffrey Chandler

Despite the ubiquitous acknowledgment of globalization in virtually all areas of social, political, and economic life, conceptualizations and discussions of ethical and responsible organizing within academic, policy making, and local communities often remain remarkably parochial. Typically, for example, when Americans think about the personification of corporate social (ir)responsibility, Enron's Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling loom large in public consciousness. The enormity of the financial fraud and the extent of human devastation brought forth by the Enron scandal come to mind. Twenty-nine top executives secretly sold millions of dollars in stock options while employ

-30-

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