Definition | CSR
“There is one and only one social responsibility of business – to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game.”
Milton Friedman (1970)
Source: Friedman, Milton: The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits, in: The New York Times Magazine, September 13, 1970
We have already talked about Milton Friedman’s rather radical views in class. This definition is similar to his statement: “The business of business is business.” Maximizing profits can not be the only goal for a company in today’s society. I think that this definition is outdated and that “staying within the rules of the game” – as he phrases it – is not the right approach. Quite the contrary, companies should make an effort for our society and also be aware of other things than profit.
Everybody who ever played a game knows that rules can be adapted to whatever the playing person is up to.
Had quite the same thought and would add that such rules should be set beforehand.
This definition is too harsh and does not define what CSR is. Milton Friedman chose a very radical wording that implies how a business can succeed, generate profit and grow within a certain framework and in respect to certain rules. However CSR goes far beyond “the rules of the game” and therefor a definition as such does not illustrate what CSR stands for.
This definition is simply not sufficient to define CSR. The only focus of this definition is on money/profit. I also think that the rules of the game is a very difficult phrase, because what exactly are the rules? The state’s law ? Ones conscience?
This definition is overcome and to radical for today. We know that it isn’t profitable to just concentrate on generating profits only in the framework of laws as systems become more complex and the rules of the game are changing as well as societies awareness in social and environmental issues increases.
Friedman’s point of view on CSR is obsolete and way too harsh. When thinking of CSR one shouldn’t be thinking about profit, but more about the impact that a business has on the society and all its stakeholders.
This definition is clearly formulated and does not leave any doubts about Friedmans point of view. In another point of view businessmen like Friedman are the first against the wall when revolution comes because they play the game of survival of economically fittest. The myopia of this on the long run consist on two defaults. First; if this game is once finally won, it is over – in the meaning of there is but one survivor who owns the whole but empty world. Second; there is nothing wrong about being an egoist, but true egoism has to act altruistic because businessmen creating win-win-solutions for all partners last longer in business as those with a me-first-attitude for the simple fact win-win-business gains more partners.
This is on my opinion not a good definition, already due to the fact, that social responsibility is not there to increase its profits – at least if it is honestly followed & lived!
Of course, this definition is outdated. But I wouldn’t say it is a bad one. Friedman states that companies want to increase their profits while following the rules of the game. The rules of the game have simply changed but I wouldn’t blame companies for being profit-oriented – as long as they generate their profits in a sustainable manner.
I totally agree with my colleagues. The definition of Friedman is outdated and a little bit too harsh. Nowadays social responsibilty is not about increasing profits – it is about creating awareness in social and environmelntal issues.
I also have to agree with my colleagues. Friedman’s definition of CSR is not at all what we would describe as CSR nowadays. He describes Corporate Social Responsibility from a capitalist, company-centered perspective. In a globalized world, the argument about sticking to the rules of the game also doesn’t make sense anymore, as the rules/laws a company has apply to can be different, depending on the region the company is active in.
Its sounds to me outdated and very black-white-radical. Times are changing, society is changing and therefore the role and expectations in regard to a business entity as well!
I think it’s too hard to say there’s only one corporate social responsibility. Making profit is not enough, so that`s why this definition does not reflect the idea of CSR in my point of view.
Beside this, Friedman doesn’t write a precise definition of what the rules of the game mean to him.
This definition is quite too radical and really does not include an aspect of what CSR stands for. Friedman’s definition implies just the need for companies to generate profit within a framework and as long as it stays within the rules. But CSR is much more than rules of a game.
This definition is outdated. You cannot act like this if you want your business to survive. You need to take much more aspects, factors, topics, … into consideration to run your business profitably.
I don´t think that the defintion ist oiutdatet, i´ts just not “finished”. You also have to define the game and than you have to define the rules of the game. Are there same rules for every company?
In my opinion this definition is not highly sophisticated yet. You have to consider the rules of the game. When all companies over the world would act like this there won’t be any holistic CSR activities.
This radically liberal, “free-market” and, frankly, outdated approach looks like it would backfire long-term as it practically invites the state to impose strict regulations which would change – and have changed since 1970 – “the rules of the game” concerning safety and well-being of employees, environmental output etc. By refusing a dialog on corporate social responsibility big business would concede its place on the table where “the new rules of the game” are discussed.
In my opinion this definition is very old fashioned and has to be redefined completely. It is not acceptable to only focus on profit as long as it stays within the “rules: laws”. One could argue that these rules also include social awareness but in my opinion this term shall be included into the definition.