Corporate Social Audit, The

Corporate Social Audit, The

Raymond A. Bauer
Dan H. Fenn
Copyright Date: 1972
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 276
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7758/9781610440301
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  • Book Info
    Corporate Social Audit, The
    Book Description:

    Much has been said about the general subject [of how to measure a corporation's social performance] but little has been contributed to answering this fundamental question. Thus, in November 1971, Russell Sage Foundation sponsored a development effort aimed at examining the "state-of-the-art" and at suggesting a program of research that would advance that state.

    "Raymond Bauer and Dan Fenn have provided us with a first product-a state-of-the-art conception and description, and recommendations for future development. They are to be commended for their astute considerations and their clear thinking in the murky pond of corporate social audits. Their effort has provided the social science community with a point of departure for future research in the area."-Eleanor Bernert Sheldon

    A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation's Social Science Frontiers Series

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-030-1
    Subjects: Business, Finance, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Foreword
    (pp. iii-vi)
    Eleanor Bernert Sheldon

    That business has a responsibility to society beyond the making of profits is now a commonplace, though still far from a universally accepted idea. Nonetheless in a climate of social responsiveness, as evidenced strongly in the late 1960’s and projected to continue for some decades ahead,¹ it is important to note that the issue of corporate social responsibility hasnotgenerally polarized around profits on the one hand and social responsibility on the other,² which in itself may be an indicator of the changing business climate.

    Actually the veryconceptof socially responsible business has existed at least since the...

  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-2)

    This paper deals with what may be an emerging new social institution, the formal “corporate social audit.” The concept, which has a thin history, indeed, began to appear in the past decade or so, though, of course, society has been making generalized judgments of business for centuries. But the past year has seen a literal explosion of interest on many fronts, some quite unexpected, all in the context of the new attention being paid to the “social responsibility of business.” In its full vision, the corporate social audit should permit firms to report their performance on issues of current social...

  5. Corporate Responsibility in the 70’s: Toward Definition and Measurement
    (pp. 3-14)

    Underlying much of the discussion of business responsibility today, be it cocktail party chatter or business conference speeches, is the chauvinistic assumption that concern with broad corporate social obligations is an American discovery dating from the late 1960’s. Although there are clearly some important new aspects to the issue today which set it apart from earlier manifestations, this assumption is demonstrably inaccurate. Even a cursory reading of history shows that we are operating on a continuum which goes back at least as far as the ancient Greeks. Furthermore, a look at the concerns of businessmen and social philosophers of the...

  6. The Social Audit Today
    (pp. 15-42)

    There is available, of course, a great deal of written material which includes general definitions of social responsibility. Eels and Walton [1961], for example, interpret the term as dealing with those problems which arise when the corporate entity “casts its shadow on the social scene,” and with “the ethical principles that ought to govern relationships between the corporation and society.” They believe it represents a concern with the impact of the company on the individual, and also the recognized need for reconciling big business, labor and government with the deeply rooted values of our culture and form of government. Cheit...

  7. The Future of Corporate Social Audits
    (pp. 43-80)

    In this section we speculate on what form or forms the concept of corporate social audits may take in the future. Our goal is not to prescribe or predict a single form of audit. This is premature. We assume that if the concept has a future, its form or forms will evolve largely out of the experience of people and institutions in doing audits, out of reactions of others to those audits, and out of the mores of the community as the audits develop.

    We should note that some experienced and wise observers raise grave doubts that this kind of...

  8. Needs for Research and Development
    (pp. 81-100)

    We have repeatedly recorded our uncertainty as to the future of the concept of the corporate social audit. However, if it develops along anyone or combination of the lines implied in the preceding chapters, the course of that development may be facilitated by the acquisition of certain understanding, knowledge, and skill which we will try to identify in this chapter. For practical purposes, all new social innovations have grown to date on anad hocbasis without the aid of such social research and development. It is our faith that the deliberate development of such knowledge and skills could enable...

  9. References
    (pp. 101-102)