Article Information

The New Meaning of Corporate Social Responsibility
Drucker, Peter F.
26/2  (Winter 1984): 53-63 *

The article presents a discussion on social responsibility of business. The first social responsibility of business is to make enough profit to cover costs of the future. If this social responsibility is not met, no other social responsibility can be met. Decaying businesses in a decaying economy are unlikely to be good neighbors, good employers or socially responsible in any way. When the demand for capital grows rapidly surplus business revenues available for non-economic purposes, especially for philanthrophy, cannot possibly go up. They are almost certain to shrink. In most of the present discussion of the social responsibility of business, it is assumed, if only by implication, that making a profit is fundamentally incompatible with social responsibility, or is at least irrelevant to it. Business is asked to do things because it earns, or seems to earn, a profit, which enables it to do good even if it does not obligate it to do so. In most discussions of social responsibility, business is seen as the rich man who should, if only for the good of his soul, give alms to the less fortunate. But in the next decade it will become increasingly important to stress that business can discharge its social responsibilities only if it converts them into self-interest, that is, into business opportunities.


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