Attitudes of Managers Toward Corporate Social Responsibility

by Lyman Ostlund



In reaction to pressures on all fronts, corporations are being called upon to direct attention and resources to social problems far removed from their central economic mission. Often such demands are vague, even though forceful, and conflicting even though worthy. Certain of these demands become translated into law, where the only remaining question becomes the speed and spirit of obedience by corporate managers. In many other cases, corporations are asked to act, and indeed do act, before any such demand is translated into law. Regardless of its origin, each new social demand upon the corporation contributes to a redefinition of its role in society. Indeed, society as a whole has already brought about some redefinition even while advocates of polar positions enjoy their continued and fruitless debate over whether the corporation should or should not bear social burdens. The inescapable issue for the corporate executive usually concerns implementation. That is, his or her opinions as to the "best" corporate social responsibility policies may or may not agree with society's view, or with those of fellow executives. But regardless of attitudes toward any one social responsibility policy, the executive may well be left to undertake implementation. The executive's degree of enthusiasm for the policy may well be reflected in the implementation timetable, however.

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