CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) gained notoriety with Howard R. Bowen’s 1953 publication Social Responsibilities of the Businessman, and although times have since changed and CSR has taken on various forms, a constant question remains unchanged.
Article by Kimberlee Josephson from FEE.
What is the role of business in society?
Some claim that a greater focus on corporate social performance over corporate financial performance is now warranted, while others adhere to a more classical viewpoint, siding with Theodore Levitt’s assertion that business should simply aim to achieve material gain while operating in good faith. Levitt, a German-American economist and professor at the Harvard Business School, spoke of “The Dangers of Social Responsibility” in a 1958 Harvard Business Review article. He posited that profit maximization over the long term should be the primary goal of business as this would have a spillover effect improving the wellbeing of society.
The propensity to exchange to benefit oneself as a means for societal advancement was most notably espoused in Adam Smith’s 1776 magnum opus, The Wealth of Nations. Milton Friedman later drove this message home in his seminal essay in the New York Times Magazine about how the “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits.”
Yet, the prioritization of self-gain has proven to be a hard pill to swallow for a culture that seeks emotional fulfillment via altruism. As such, businesses have not only been encouraged to engage in CSR, but also to harness it and pursue a higher calling.
A prominent depiction of the evolution of business interest in CSR, along with society’s expectations for business behavior, is Archie Carroll’s CSR Pyramid, first published in 1991.
At the base of the pyramid is the economic responsibility for firms to be a productive element of society and contribute to the financial wellbeing of the organization. The next level concerns the legal responsibility of a firm to abide by the ground rules and regulations within the societies they operate. Further up the pyramid concerns a firm’s ethical responsibility, since laws are not sufficient in and of themselves for maintaining order. Indeed, societies establish mores and conventions which influence culture and communal interactions. For instance, it is not illegal to cheat on one’s spouse, but it does violate the institution of marriage; and to the same extent firms are wedded to the societies they are established within and should abide by certain expectations to maintain a healthy relationship.
The top of the pyramid is designated as the discretionary responsibility of philanthropy, wherein the company “gives back,” and this responsibility was posited to be “desired” by society rather than required.
The CSR Pyramid is still widely referenced and Dr. Wayne Visser, CSR professional, attests it to be a useful framework for managerial decision making. However, over time, the expectations for the top two tiers of the pyramid have expanded, and even what constitutes ethical behavior has evolved since Carroll’s publication.
In today’s competitive landscape, CSR constitutes a management strategy that goes beyond corporate giving and charitable networks. In fact, as defined by the United Nations, CSR is quite distinct from philanthropy given that it takes into consideration the social and environmental impact of a firm in addition to an economic impact.
An emphasis on the people, planet, and profit has become par for the course, and a variety of methods and forms of assessment regarding sustainability have come about for companies to prove their “good” work. John Elkington, who coined the term triple bottom line (TBL) for determining the social, environmental, and economic impact of a firm, claims TBL doesn’t go far enough and the business view of CSR is too narrow. He claims that firms should go beyond aiming to be the “best in the world” and instead aspire to be the “best for the world.”
What is “best” and for whom it is best, though, is largely subjective and open to interpretation. For instance, some social issues are undebatable, such as the desire to end world hunger, but the means for addressing them are usually complex and contestable.
Nevertheless, corporations are viewing themselves as social stewards with a moral charge, and this is an important shift to note, particularly since it is being driven by public opinion.
A 2018 study reported that 78 percent of Americans believe companies must have a positive societal impact beyond their productive purpose, and 77 percent of Americans “feel a stronger emotional connection” to purpose-driven corporations. Companies are responding to public sentiments and reinforcing such expectations through cause-related marketing campaigns and social labelling schemes, and this is a worrisome matter given the potential to compound the issues at hand.
Unlike the stages of the CSR Pyramid, which tended to be industry oriented, firms stretching beyond their domain of competence to prove themselves as worthy contributors to society at large (rather than streamlining efforts toward core stakeholders) is disconcerting for shareholders and distracting for budding entrepreneurs.
The spearheading of virtuous ventures and advocacy advertising show no sign of slowing down—and it won’t, until social pressure shifts back to value rather than virtue.
‘The Purge’ by Big Tech targets conservatives, including us
Just when we thought the Covid-19 lockdowns were ending and our ability to stay afloat was improving, censorship reared its ugly head.
For the last few months, NOQ Report, Conservative Playbook, and the American Conservative Movement have appealed to our readers for assistance in staying afloat through Covid-19 lockdowns. The downturn in the economy has limited our ability to generate proper ad revenue just as our traffic was skyrocketing. We had our first sustained stretch of three months with over a million visitors in November, December, and January, but February saw a dip.
It wasn’t just the shortened month. We expected that. We also expected the continuation of dropping traffic from “woke” Big Tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter, but it has actually been much worse than anticipated. Our Twitter account was banned. Both of our YouTube accounts were banned. Facebook “fact-checks” everything we post. Spotify canceled us. Medium canceled us. Apple canceled us. Why? Because we believe in the truth prevailing, and that means we will continue to discuss “taboo” topics.
The 2020 presidential election was stolen. You can’t say that on Big Tech platforms without risking cancellation, but we’d rather get cancelled for telling the truth rather than staying around to repeat mainstream media’s lies. They have been covering it up since before the election and they’ve convinced the vast majority of conservative news outlets that they will be harmed if they continue to discuss voter fraud. We refuse to back down. The truth is the truth.
The lies associated with Covid-19 are only slightly more prevalent than the suppression of valid scientific information that runs counter to the prescribed narrative. We should be allowed to ask questions about the vaccines, for example, as there is ample evidence for concern. One does not have to be an “anti-vaxxer” in order to want answers about vaccines that are still considered experimental and that have a track record in a short period of time of having side-effects, including death. One of our stories about the Johnson & Johnson “vaccine” causing blood clots was “fact-checked” and removed one day before the government hit the brakes on it. These questions and news items are not allowed on Big Tech which is just another reason we are getting canceled.
There are more topics that they refuse to allow. In turn, we refuse to stop discussing them. This is why we desperately need your help. The best way NOQ, CP, and ACM readers can help is to donate. Our Giving Fuel page makes it easy to donate one-time or monthly. Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal as well. We are pacing to be short by about $3700 per month in order to maintain operations.
The second way to help is to become a partner. We’ve strongly considered seeking angel investors in the past but because we were paying the bills, it didn’t seem necessary. Now, we’re struggling to pay the bills. We had 5,657,724 sessions on our website from November, 2020, through February, 2021. Our intention is to elevate that to higher levels this year by focusing on a strategy that relies on free speech rather than being beholden to progressive Big Tech companies.
During that four-month stretch, Twitter and Facebook accounted for about 20% of our traffic. We are actively working on operating as if that traffic is zero, replacing it with platforms that operate more freely such as Gab, Parler, and others. While we were never as dependent on Big Tech as most conservative sites, we’d like to be completely free from them. That doesn’t mean we will block them, but we refuse to be beholden to companies that absolutely despise us simply because of our political ideology.
We’re heading in the right direction and we believe we’re ready talk to patriotic investors who want to not only “get in on the action” but more importantly who want to help America hear the truth. Interested investors should contact me directly with the contact button above.
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