In stark contrast to the publication “Business Ethics and Stakeholder Analysis”, “The Social Responsibility” article seems to denounce the ethical view that CEO (as authoritative figure in the company) should look to include their businesses in philanthropic ventures as well as look out for the social well-being of all related stakeholders. While Freeman is adamant that the stakeholder should be put before company profits Friedman, albeit in a rather strong tone, poses some counter arguments that cannot be ignored. And while the ethical points made are quite valid, reality dictates that profits should be the CEO’s main focus.
The way the world is run and works is that there is a cycle in which governments are sustained by the spending power of its businesses who thrive on the spending power of the customer. Also put, the more the customer invests, the better off the country and government are. Friedman highlights that the CEO and other executives are placed in their position by the stockholders who expect returns on their investment. That is the job that the CEO has and that is what he must strive to accomplish. Friedman puts it rather bluntly that if CEO’s are concentrating on how more ethical the company should become then they are taking on the role of a social worker.”If they are to be civil servants then they must be selected through a political process” says Friedman who tried to further the claim that the job of the CEO is to purely make profits.
In some respects he is right but a CEO, in my opinion, can still be conscious about the ethicalness of the company and still produce profits. Friedman and Freeman take two very opposite and extreme view on this subject when I believe that, in this day and age, the middle ground is where the “best” solution is found. Stockholders are the final word no matter what way you look at it as to be prosperous and grow you need returns and investment which leads to think that between both ideas, Friedman’s is the only plausible one (unless the company has no desire to satisfy the investors who are also willing to take a loss on the investment). However, ethics needs to be involved in the strategic plans of these companies because in order to please stockholders there are always ethics that are compromised in some form. That is why I see the middle as the “best” solution as we all know no matter what if a company is doing its job in satisfying the stockholder then some ethics will be compromised but some can also be dealt with. This is all under the assumption that pleasing the stockholders is the companies objective and if it’s not then more ethics can be addressed which would lead to an economy that was more conscious about its ethic behavior but also less profitable.