Can Business Afford To Ignore Social Responsibilities?

by Keith Davis



This article discusses social responsibility of business decisions. Social responsibility is a nebulous idea and, hence, is defined in various ways. It is used here within a management context to refer to businessmen's decisions and actions taken for reasons at least partially beyond the firm's direct economic or technical interest. Thus, social responsibility has two rather different faces. On the one hand, businessmen recognize that since they are managing an economic unit in society, they have a broad obligation to the community with regard to economic developments affecting the public welfare, such as full employment, inflation, and maintenance of competition. A quite different type of social responsibility is, on the other hand, a businessman's obligation to nurture and develop human values, such as morale, cooperation, motivation, and self-realization in work. These human values cannot be measured on an economic value scale. Accordingly, the term "social responsibility" refers to both socio-economic and socio-human obligations to others.

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