Corporate Social Responsibility: Guidelines for Top Management

By Jerry W. Anderson Jr. | Go to book overview

3 )
Premedieval Period (5000B.C. -- 550A.D.) and Medieval Period (550A.D. -- 1450A.D.

Much of our present day thinking and action in the area of social responsibility is a product of our past. No matter how rapidly social attitudes change, they still have their roots in past history and are influenced by it to a greater or lesser extent. Whether we look at the present as part of a historical development from what has happened in the past or a rejection of it, the past still has an influence on the present. It is therefore imperative, if we are to understand current values and what the future may hold for us, to at least have a brief knowledge of the path we have followed to get where we are today. This reflection on the past is necessary in order to see what our foundation was, how effective it was and what we can learn from it to help us today and in the future.

Today, in the highly industrialized societies, people are questioning their behavior (good or bad) more than in the past, less rapidly moving times. This is occurring for several reasons. The higher level of formal education, even though considered by studies conducted today to be lacking in historical perspective and quality compared with education of earlier days, encourages these people to be more questioning of past and existing values. Second, there is a feeling among many that the traditional values of the past are not adequate for today's rapidly changing dynamic society. Third, the perceived and/or actual rights of the stakeholders and business are more often in conflict today than in the past. The fourth reason is that the increased number of choices that people now face in the modern industrial society -- greater ease of moving around, choosing a career, choice of lifestyle, whether to marry,

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