Public good

An overwhelming majority of executives no longer believe (or feel they can no longer say) that profit maximisation is the sole purpose of business, according to this survey of more than 4,000 executives in 116 countries. Chinese executives are said to be the most lukewarm about the idea of business also making a contribution to the broader public good.

by McKinsey Quarterly
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

But despite a general acceptance of the new social responsibility mantra, most executives still see such issues as risks rather than opportunities.

Finding ways to control these risks is so important that leadership should start with the CEO. However, most companies believe they have more to do to anticipate social pressures and criticism, indicating that their most common tactics - PR and lobbying - may not be the most effective in managing these challenges. Increasing transparency is considered the most effective tactic, but is used by barely more than 10% of companies.

The healthcare industry is generally seen as making the greatest overall contribution to the public good.

The McKinsey global survey of business executives: business and society
McKinsey Quarterly, January 2006

Review by Steve Lodge.

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