Differences in Viewpoints of Supporters

Differences in Viewpoints of Supporters
  1. Differences in Viewpoints of Supporters and Critics

    The critics of the doctrine of socially responsible management view it from the historical perspective of Western man's struggle for individual freedom. The individual is the highest good in their value system. He is viewed as a reasoning being who is primarily motivated by a desire to maximize his individual welfare. Competitive markets are used to spur businessmen to greater efficiency and to dispense a stern but equitable justice to investors, workers, and resource owners; and reliance is placed on regulated self-interest to maintain social order. There is no elite which runs the capitalistic system because one is not needed. The invisible hand of the market assures attainment of social goals and group welfare. Organizations which concentrate power, particularly economic and political organizations, are viewed with suspicion. As Clark Kerr said, "This is the open society to which the western world has been dedicated for a century and a half. It is a society of accommodated conflict rather than universal collaboration.

Underlying the criticisms of the doctrine is a strong ideological commitment to the market system. In addition to its economic function of directing resources into their most efficient use and maintaining a check on production costs, the market performs the ethical function of protecting and fostering the freedom of the individual and the political function of minimizing private power and protecting the rights of minority groups. The relationships between the economic, ethical, and political functions of the market system are expressed by Milton Friedman in the following five propositions:

1 The fundamental question in a free society is: What is the best relation-ship between people?
2 The best relationship is that which maximizes freedom.
3 Maximum freedom requires the elimination of power or its dispersal.
4 The market disperses economic power most effectively and results in the greatest degree of individual economic freedom.
5 Without economic freedom there can be no political freedom.

The social thinkers whose writings implicitly support the doctrine of socially responsible management do not have the unanimity of the critics on matters of ideology and theory. Mayo's theoretical orientation is psychological, and his views are not based on any particular political or economic ideology. His starting point is the analysis of conditions necessary for individual mental health.

From it he derives the idea that the manager's responsibility to society is to prevent social disorganization by introducing human relations into industry. Romney, on the other hand, espouses the position of the philosophical conservative. His view of the good society is essentially that of Plato modified to fit the conditions of industrialism. Cable's views are those of an ideological determinist. He attempts to link the concept of Christian love to the conditions of economic growth. Keynes's ideological position is that of a reform liberal. He believes in individual freedom as strongly as Friedman.

But he does not place all his trust in the market system, and he thinks large corporations administered by socially responsible managers are necessary to protect individual freedom in industrial society. The unifying theme in these four approaches is the idea that management must become a socially-responsible elite in order to help overcome the serious structural and functional problems which threaten the collapse of Western civilization.


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