Corporate Responsibility

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's April 2001

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Question 5: What are the "˜narrow' and "˜broad' views of corporate responsibility? Which of these views are you more inclined to endorse? It is safe to say, that as a corporation, it is entitled to the same moral and political rights as individuals, it should be that corporations bear the same moral and political rights as individuals: such as accountability and the capacity for moral decision making. Seeing this leads us to the discussion of corporate responsibility. Responsibility is merely being accountable to someone for an action or for the successful carrying out of a duty (Encarta). Therefore the question lies where in what are the responsibilities of a corporation. There are two major views of corporate responsibility: the narrow view and the broad view. These views consider issues based on mere profit maximization and "community service".

First, let us examine the "˜narrow' view of corporate responsibility. It aims to prove that businesses have no social responsibilities other than to maximize its profits of its shareholders. Here we see freedom defined in contractual relationships that exist within the "rules of the game". The rules of the game simply "rule out" deception, force, and fraud within contractual obligations. Therefore in a sense, a business has two responsibilities: to obey the elementary canons of (face-to-face) civility, in addition to seeking material gain. We must also recognize when the rules of the game and the profit maximization goal have been undermined, which also undermines the foundation of our free society. In any case in which corporate executives usurp the role of the government by "taxing" shareholders (owners) or redistributing their wealth to fund social causes, they therefore transform themselves into civil servants, violating the rule of reciprocal non-coercion. Once this act is performed, the contractual obligations have been surpassed,