Nov 8, 2017 in Compare and Contrast

Compare and Contrast Friedman vs Drucker

Milton Friedman an America economist, a stastician and an author. He was born in 1912 and died in 2006. He was a Nobel Prize recipient and lectured in University of Chicago. Peter Drucker was born in 1909 and died in 2005. He was a writer, management consultant, a lecturer and a social ecologist. This essay focuses on two articles from the above renowned writers. Peter Drucker’s article talks on what business ethics is all about while Milton Friedman’s article talks on the social responsibilities of a business. Friedman and Drucker were noted management authorities

Business ethics refers to ethical principles that rise in a business environment. Social responsibility is a theory to which an individual or an organization is mandated to act and benefit the society. Friedman talks about social responsibilities without touching on business ethics while Drucker talks about business ethics and social responsibilities. In his article, Drucker says that business ethics is a modern way of talking about social responsibilities According to Friedman, social responsibility of a business in a free enterprise system is to increase profits.  However, he clarifies that the business on its own can never be accorded with such responsibilities. It is only the people who have direct and powerful influence on a business that posseses such social responsibilities. Discussions of social responsibility in a business is delegated to individual proprietors or the corporate executives who are mandated to conduct the day to day running of the business in order to make as much money as possible. However, they must also consider conforming to other basic rules of the society. A corporate executive should act in a way that is not for the benefit of his employers but for the benefit of the many. This fact coincides with Drucker’s article on business ethics. Drucker says that any person who is in power in any institution has a duty to confer benefits on the others. He says that ethics of social responsibilities gives an allowance on advocacy of any decisions that in the end serves the interests of the many. (Drucker, 1981), ethics interdependence covers ethical and unethical behaviors.  Both articles shows that leaders of a business lack functional leadership roles in leading an organization’s inside operations. Both authors agree that both ethics and social responsibilities occur at individual level but not at an organization’s level and they questioned the legality of giving moral, social and ethical responsibilities to an entity. 

Friedman points out that the main responsibility of a business is to its stockholders and increment of profit. He showed how a business is combined with both legal and ethical limitations in its operations and that a business should never deplete its resources and its customers. Drucker on the other hand gives a different approach towards ethics as he emphasizes on ethics of both prudence and self development from Aristotle’s era to Confucius’ time and finally to the modern business ethics.

Drucker believes that it is important to know how public and private enterprises manage their resources and their moral and ethical organizational performance. He emphasized on the need of a business to develop core values that displays an organization’s social responsibility. Milton Friedman’s notion was different from that of Drucker as he believed that a business’s main concern is maximization of profits in order to attain any form of social responsibility.

I find that both articles have substantial facts on ethics and social responsibility regardless of each writer’s differing opinions.  Its important to note that certain ideas from both articles can be borrowed to make a sound hypothesis like the existence of corporate responsibility without doing away with either stockholder’s value or  individual’s interest. However, in today’s business environment, Friedman’s and Drucker’s view cannot be wholly relied on because there are many other factors that affect a business besides the ethics and responsibilities of a business.

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