5. on the social and moral obligations of business (modules 9 and 10


This is a graded discussion forum set up for discussing a variety of different issues concerning different views on the moral obligations of business. There are a variety of different views on this. To receive all of the 25 points for participation in this discussion forum we expect you to do the following:

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4. Remain civil and respectful of other posters in the forums. We welcome disagreements and contrary opinions that we can debate and respond to. After all, that is what makes for a good discussion, but we also want to make sure that, even as we disagree about the issues, we will still remain cordial in responding to each other.

response 1 


When discussing the matter on the social and moral obligation of business we can see that,  social and moral obligations of a business are stands for those issues that affects negatively on healthy relationship between members of society. In the context of business, moral obligation suggested to follow the legal rules or laws that help in governing transaction between different individuals and organizations. However, a moral and social obligation depends on the different kind of business industries and it changes according to the industries. As an example, the general moral and social obligations suggested not to harm others. In, case of civil laws the prohibition of homicide, dangerous behavior and drunk driving stands for moral and social obligations. On the other side, the social obligation stands for four significant factors in the field of every kind of industries such as philanthropic efforts, organization diversity, volunteer efforts and environmental conservation.

In addition, cultural preferences and diversity stands for the overlapping of moral and social obligation that suggested an organization to avoid discriminatory practice and maintenance of equity in respect to opportunity providence. Besides, the observation of proper business ethics also falls under the social and moral obligations in respect to a business. The most significant social and moral obligation of the organizations lies on the corporate social responsibility  practice which signifies the environmental and social contribution of an organization through their different type of activity. The contribution to the communities towards their lifestyle development can also be recognized as social obligation. On the other hand, the maintenance of carbon footprint limit and enhancement of natural resources through corporate social responsibility practice can be recognized as moral obligations.

 C. Y., Wu, S. C., Liu, H. C., & Liang, C. (2017). Revisiting the antecedents of social entrepreneurial intentions in Hong Kong. International Journal of Educational Psychology, 6(3), 301-323.

response 2


I was struck by the great contrast between Milton Friedman’s argument about the social responsibility of business, and the approach that our culture takes more or less for granted on that subject today.

Friedman argues that “only people have responsibilities,” and therefore we cannot even properly speak of a business having responsibilities. In Friedman’s view, it is only sensible to speak of the responsibilities of business executives, whose primary responsibility is to the shareholders of the company he manages. If he is construed as also having some sort of responsibility to society at large, he can only fulfill this at the expense of the shareholders’ best interests. Friedman also views such social-oriented activity as amounting to a tax on any shareholders who disagree, and functioning as an under-the-table strategy for enacting social agendas that have been unable to gain traction through normal democratic processes. The proper responsibility of a corporation, for Friedman, is to generate profit for individuals, who do have social responsibilities as well as the right to choose how best to fulfill them using their own resources

Contrast that with our modern business environment, in which it is not only commonplace but expected for businesses to take moral positions on all kinds of social issues that may or may not have a bearing on their business. Above and beyond merely seeing themselves as having social responsibilities, there are an increasing number of businesses that actually use a socially-minded outlook as the lynchpin of their marketing mix: “while brands dominate the marketplace, their power lies…in their intangible symbolic attributes. These intangible qualities are particularly salient in ethical brands such as Fairtrade where it is the moral rather than the utilitarian connotations of the label that have inspired growing numbers of consumers to change their everyday purchasing practices.” (1) More cynically, we see marketing agencies explicitly referring to “morality marketing”, which one agency defines as “marketing constructed around an ethical (moral) viewpoint or stance” which “will leave an impact on your audience through messaging that resonates with their core beliefs.” (2)

Friedman speaks of this kind of business activism as a subversion of democracy, and I am inclined agree with him. Not all consumers share the same opinions about social controversies, and it frustrates many people to see simple purchase decisions (a soft drink, maybe) becoming freighted with messages they may not want to support. This is especially true when the brand is perceived to be acting not out of conviction, but in pursuit of profit. For example, many consumers perceive Nike’s social justice advertising as hypocritical given its labor practices at overseas factories. (3)

(1) Warrier, M., & Dolan, C. S. (2011). Branding morality: The case of Fairtrade. In The politics of fair trade: a survey (pp. 37–37). introduction, Taylor & Francis. 

(2) Rathjen, T. (2020, May 5). So, What Exactly Is Morality Marketing? Decibel Blue Marketing & PR. https://decibelblue.com/so-what-exactly-is-morality-marketing/. 

(3) Williams, B. (2019, May 30). Is morality marketing right for your brand? (Probably not). Bizcommunity.com – Daily Marketing & Media news. https://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/12/191425.html.