Ethical Perspectives: Friedman vs Drucker, Murphy

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Ethical Perspectives: Friedman vs. Drucker, Murphy Geraldetta Lovelace Northcentral University Ethical Perspectives: Friedman vs. Drucker, Murphy A review of three articles written by Friedman, Drucker, and Murphy with differing views of business ethics is presented herein. A comparison and contrast of the views presented as well as this writers’ opinion, follows the review. The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits by Milton Friedman (1970) In Friedman’s opinion, the purpose of a corporation is to make money for the owners of the corporation and to follow their directives. The term “social responsibility” when applied to a business is incongruous. According to Friedman, “Only people can have responsibilities. A corporation is an artificial person and in this sense may have artificial responsibilities, but “business” as a whole cannot be said to have responsibilities, even in this vague sense.” (Friedman 1970) An executives’ obligation is to serve at the pleasure of the stockholders, a group of individuals who may have individual as well collective ideas as to what constitutes social responsibility. The executive is also the overseer of social responsibility for the employees of the company, as well as the customers they serve, as it pertains to the operations, processes and products of the company. In addition, the executive may also have his or her own personal ideals of social responsibility. Friedman states that this is why “the doctrine of “social responsibility” involves the acceptance of the socialist view that political mechanisms, not market mechanisms, are the appropriate way to determine the allocation of scarce resources to alternative uses.” (Friedman 1970) The executive, as an employee of the owners, must make decisions based on political realities as opposed to a market response. When that decision coincides with the
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