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Corporate Social Responsibility and Its Benefits, Essay Example

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Milton Friedman argued that corporate social responsibility undermines the foundations of free society and the sole purpose of each company should be to make as much money as possible. It is apparent from Friedman’s line of reasoning that his argument was inspired by his economic principles. Friedman might have said this because he believed corporate social responsibility results in inefficient allocation of limited resources and adds little value to the economic production activities. But Friedman’s argument is flawed, even from economic point of view. A business that imposes negative externalities on the society such as pollution doesn’t always take this cost into account or bear responsibility for the actions. Friedman puts too much emphasis on stockholders as if they are the only stakeholders in an organization.

Companies today should realize that while stockholders are important, they are not the only stakeholders. Other stakeholders include employees, management, customers, government, and even community members whose lives are affected by the actions of the organizations. Thus, the true purpose of the organizations is not to protect the interests of only shareholders but of all the relevant stakeholders. Some stakeholders may have greater rights than others, depending upon the nature and type of the organization. Organizations do not exist independently of the communities in which they operate in and as such have responsibilities towards communities. Communities make it possible for them to conduct their everyday business by creating ideal conditions for business. Those who argue against the importance of communities in enabling commercial activities should compare socialist regimes with free market systems. In addition, the actions of the organizations impact external stakeholders as well. This doesn’t mean that organizations have responsibility to solve all of the social issues but they do have responsibility to contribute towards the society’s wellbeing in some ways.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not only ethically and morally right thing but also has several economic benefits. It increases customer loyalty and provides differentiation from the competition. Thus, CSR even makes economic sense, too. Good examples of companies benefitting from exemplary CSR include Johnson & Johnson, Costco, and Starbucks in the U.S.

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