Corporate Social Responsibility: Guidelines for Top Management

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

6
Social Prominence (1930-1988)
The 1930s signaled a transition from a primarily laissez-faire economy with industrial power and might in control to a more mixed economy with unions and government taking a more activist role. The Western Electric Company Hawthorne studies alerted both industry and labor to the fact that workers were not just simple-minded people whose only concern in life was economic, but rather that the worker was intelligent and was a socially oriented human being with feelings and desires beyond a weekly paycheck. The Great Depression of the 1930s weakened business' hold on labor and the economy as a whole and showed that business did not have all the answers. The New Deal under President Franklin D. Roosevelt ushered in several factors that changed the entire atmosphere of the country:
1. The passage of the Wagner Act in 1935 swung the pendulum in the direction of favoring labor over industry.
2. The conversion and/or replacement of conservative, business-oriented Supreme Court judges with more socially oriented pro-labor judges gave the federal government and labor more active power than they had ever previously had or exercised.
3. The implementation of numerous federally sponsored socially oriented programs to help out the deplorable economic condition of the country made people more socially minded.
4. The adoption of Keynesian welfare-oriented economics permitted the federal government to try to speed the country into recovery through large deficit spending and implementation of numerous welfare programs.

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