The Corporate Social Audit: Getting on the Learning Curve

by Raymond Bauer

Fall 1973

Volume 16
Issue 1

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The article focuses on the corporate social audit. The concept of a corporate audit promises the development of a key institution in facilitating the evolving role of the corporation. It is now trite to observe that the corporation is under pressure to do things that it did not do in the past. And the pressure is of a new kind, coming from activists who have learned how to mobilize public and political pressure in new ways. All of these pressures and demands on the corporation are an integral part of the attempt to turn the institutions and priorities around so that the society will perform better in serving human needs. The idea of social audit usually originates with someone's idea that it would in some way be a good thing to do. With little notion of exactly why or how it should be done, or what resources are needed for doing it. In most instances it is in some way political. It may mean an increase in power of someone inside the firm. It means that the performance of executives is going to be judged. And, even when executives are not worried about themselves, some are anxious about what it will reveal to the public about the firm.

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