Corporate Social Responsibility: What Business Obligations Rank First?

  • 2015

Corporate Social Responsibility: What Business Obligations Rank First?

Author:
Guillermo Samuel Salas
Abstract:

There is a movement stressing on good corporate practices and business ethics, known as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). It is a new tendency toward good management and accountability, thinking of stakeholders and society as the main beneficiaries. The purpose of this paper is to argue that there should not be a meta-ethic driving the actions of enterprises, other than making profits for its owners. Debates over CSR refer to two contrasting views regarding business obligations. First, a perspective associated with Nobel Laureate and economist Milton Friedman, claiming primacy for the obligations owed to the firm’s owners (shareholders). Second - a more general view - is holding broader responsibilities in serving stakeholders such as corporation’s employees, consumers, and local communities. Private companies must focus on their primary goal of maximizing owner’s value. Doing-good is much more of a public sector’s task and obligation. Nonetheless, firms must pursue profits - always within the law - and observe ethical conduct.