Why Managers Cultivate Social Responsibility

by Earl Cheit



The article focuses on American business and their social responsibilities. American businessmen are engaged in a campaign to justify their autonomy, to fortify their image, and to promote new understanding of their place in society. In the late 1940s, they were preaching free enterprise, today, it is the Gospel of Social Responsibility. Business, and the men who pursue it, have almost always enjoyed a secure and honorable place in American life. The coming to power in 1952 of a conservative government hastened the same realization among businessmen. Faced with the realities of working with New Deal legislation and the obvious public support for it, a responsible government could find no way to divest itself of its economic inheritance. Some 700 companies were queried for documents which each firm regarded as a managerial creed or statement of basic objectives. One hundred and three firms responded, and a detailed follow-up was made with fifty-one companies. That is why managers in the U.S. cultivate social responsibility.

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