The Social Contract 25
of a company based on its social responsiveness, or
lack thereof.”
As Grajew states it, this is “the advantage of doing the right
When you and your organization do the right things,
you put the horse before the cart and get your organization
moving in a strong direction. And people both inside and out-
side your organization want to be a part of your momentum—
they like being a part of your organization, and they feel good
about the work they are doing. These benefits are well-docu-
mented in much of the human resources literature.
ees stay longer, are more productive, are more innovative, and
express higher satisfaction with their jobs and companies.
This also gives your organization a long-term, strategic
advantage. People will want to bring you their business or vote
to allocate funds to your organization. As Oakley-Browne
states, “If we add value to society in the long term, we will gain
customer loyalty and stay in business for the long term.”
Every company depends on people, and when people are
treated well they respond positively. Grajew states, “It’s an
opportunity to have talents in your company, to have people
engaged and committed, to have support from the community,
support from consumers—in short, all the competitive advan-
tages for a business.”
Your Deliverables: Measuring Societal
Outcomes of Your Organization
As with any well-developed contract, it is critical to state just
what the final deliverables will be, and to have clear indicators
against which your organization can determine whether that
contract has been fulfilled. In other words, it is critical to articu-
late the measurable outcomes that will result from your outputs,
and then collect that data (get the facts).
Earlier, I defined social responsibility as a way of gearing
your organization towards delivering desirable societal
outcomes in a manner recognizing that what you do, pro-
duce and deliver has an impact on society. Social responsi-
bility has so much more potential as a strategic course of action
26 Ethics by Design
than as a marketing tagline. While the tagline feels nice right
now, and makes for some great commercials and heart-warm-
ing reports, those don’t lead to long-term viability and strategic
opportunities that strengthen your organization’s contract with
society. For example, do you do business with global partners
who treat their employees humanely, thus increasing self-suffi-
ciency and decreasing poverty or discrimination? Or do your
global partners have safe business practices and quality check
standards (e.g., no lead paint on toys)? Does your school
graduate students who recycle a lot but illegally download
copyrighted music and photos?
The real value of a socially responsible organization comes
from how social responsibility is defined in measurable (real)
terms and integrated into strategic planning (for any type of
organization). By identifying specific, desired societal outcomes
for which your organization is responsible, you outline your
contractual obligations with society. These are the ways in
which your organization makes a difference in society—the
ways in which stakeholders (not stockholders) are relying on
you to reap the benefits of letting you do your business.
Dale Brethower states, “If you’re not adding value to
society, you’re subtracting it.”
Bottom line is that your organi-
zation impacts society—now it’s time to plan for what you want
that impact to be. Does what you do add up to the whole in a
desirable way?
One aspect of social responsibility that has gained a lot of
attention and support in recent decades is environmental impact
and sustainability. That is certainly one of many socially-
significant measures for which an organization can plan and
get the facts, but there are others.
In his book Mega Planning, Kaufman outlines 13 measures
of social responsibility that can be tracked over time. Those
measures have been developed with organizations of varying
size, including many names you would recognize, across dif-
ferent cultures and contexts. The result has been a culturally-
independent definition of social responsibility that, when tested,
has shown very high levels of statistical validity and reliability.
He has termed this collection of societally-referenced results an
“Ideal Vision.”

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