Evaluation: Ethical Perspectives on Social Responsibility
This paper evaluates Cohen’s article on social responsibility and considers how his perspective and ideas align in comparison with other management experts including Drucker and Friedman. Some key components that are included in the evaluation are:
• A definition of the concept of social responsibility.
• What Cohen identifies as the social responsibility of a business to the workers, stakeholders, and society as a whole.
• How Cohen’s perspective of the social responsibility of business aligns with the perspective of Drucker.
• How Cohen’s opinion of the social responsibility of business compares with the opinion of Friedman.
• Finally, an identification of which of the expert opinions best aligns with the current business climate promoting a ‘green environment and why.
The basic definition of social responsibility is that all companies should embrace more than just the focus of maximizing profits, and should have as part of their business model the goal to have a positive impact upon the society in which they operate. (Investopedia, 2014) Some businesses believe that social responsibility can only be applied to individuals and not to a corporation or business entity, and that the social responsibility of business is only to maximize the profits of the company for the shareholders of the organization. By maximizing the profits of a business, society as defined by these companies, is benefiting because the business is successful adding value to the entire society in which the company is operating.
Cohen was a student of Peter Drucker and thus understandably his beliefs on social responsibility align with those of Drucker. Some of Cohen’s beliefs regarding the social responsibility of a business to workers, stakeholders and society as a whole include:
• Those considerations for workers in and out of the workplace were the responsibility of the corporate leader just as much as the profits, survival, and growth of the business or organization. (Cohen, 2009)
• Government cannot solve many social problems. (Cohen, 2009)
• The corporate mission always comes first. (Cohen, 2009)
• There is an unlimited liability clause involved in social responsibility efforts. (Cohen, 2009)
• There are unique ethics involved in engaging in social responsibility. (Cohen, 2009)
• There are opportunities for competitive advantage in fulfilling social responsibility. (Cohen, 2009)
Friedman holds the belief that for the most part the concept of social responsibility is applied in the contest of corporations, and thus applies his opinions to corporate executives. Friedman’s belief is that the responsibility of those executives is:
• To ensure the corporation maximizes the profits of the corporation that those executives are employed by. (Friedman, 1970)
• By maximizing profits, society benefits the most from the corporation’s actions,...