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Milton Friedman’s and Peter Drucker’s Article Analysis

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

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Compare and Contrast of Business Ethics

Business ethics refers to ethical principles that arise in a business environment. Social responsibility is a theory to which an individual or an organization is mandated to act and benefit 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, the 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 a direct and powerful influence on a business that possesses such social responsibilities.

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Discussions of social responsibility in a business are delegated to individual proprietors or the corporate executives who are mandated to conduct the day-to-day running of the business to make as much money as possible. However, they must also consider conforming to other basic rules of society. A corporate executive should act in a way that is not for the benefit of his employers but 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 must confer benefits on 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 show 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 the 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 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 the need for 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 the maximization of profits to attain any form of social responsibility.

Ethics and Social Responsibility of Business

I find that both articles have substantial facts on ethics and social responsibility regardless of each writer’s differing opinions. It’s 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 the individual’s interest. However, in today’s business environment, Friedman’s and Drucker’s views cannot be wholly relied on because many other factors affect a business besides the ethics and responsibilities of a business.

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