The Social Responsibility Audit
For many years there have been "financial audits" performed by most companies. In recent years there has been more pressure placed on business management to perform what has become known as the "social audit." The mere fact that a company should conduct a social audit carries with it the implication that business does have an obligation to society. This book has tried to describe some of the areas in which business does have an obligation and commitment to society. In many instances, federal legislation dictates what the minimum obligation of business is: however, how a company determines how well they are meeting these obligations is to a great extent the responsibility of the company itself. This can be accomplished through a social audit. Keith Davis and Robert Blomstrom define the social audit in this manner: "A social audit is a systematic study and evaluation of an organization's social performance, as distinguished from its economic performance. It is concerned with possible influences on the social quality of life instead of the economic quality of life. The social audit leads to social performance. 1
External expression of the concept of social audit appeared as early as 1940 with Theodore J. Kreps' presentation of a monograph on the Measurement of the Social Performance of Business." 2 Kreps' monograph, however, measured what today would be classed primarily as economic factors: employment, production, payroll, and dividends and interest.