What is the business of business?

What is the business of business? August 11, 2005

  • By recasting the long-running argument about the role of business in society, companies can dislodge a debate that’s now wedged between two seemingly incompatible points of view.
  • The relationship between big business and society can be viewed as an implicit social contract, with obligations, opportunities, and mutual advantages.
  • Large companies must take the lead in explaining their contribution to society. They should define their ultimate purpose in a way that is more subtle than "the business of business is business" and less defensive than most current approaches to corporate social responsibility.
  • It is time for big business to recapture the intellectual and moral high ground from its critics and to build social issues into strategy in a way that reflects their actual importance to companies.

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