This paper attempts to go beyond media representations as it explores the question of whether Ben & Jerry'sInc. is a socially responsible organization. This exploration includes a description of the concept of corporate social responsibility, and an investigation of some specific actions by Ben & Jerry's to ascertain whether or not these actions are indeed socially responsible in nature. 全文
Bryan S. Dennis: Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA
Christopher P. Neck: Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA Michael G. Goldsby: University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, Indiana, USA In 1963, two men met in seventh grade gym class in Long Island, New York. Fourteen years later, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield moved to Vermont, completed a $5 correspondence course on ice cream making from Penn State and began Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream Inc. The following year, the two men opened the firstBen & Jerry's store in a renovated gas station in downtown Burlington, VT. Two years later, the two were distributing their ice cream in the back of an old Volkswagen Squareback Wagon. The following year, Time Magazine claims that their ice cream is the best in the world. Sales have increased every year since then. Also, with the exception of 1994, the company has earned a profit every year (Ben & Jerry's Website, 1997a). However, the founders of Ben & Jerry's appear to want more out of their company than just profits. The company's mission states one of the company's goals as "initiating innovative ways to improve the quality of life of the broad-based community - local, national and international level" (Ben & Jerry's Website, 1997b). Their philosophy of social responsibility has received much attention. When the topic of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is discussed, Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream, Inc. is often cited as a prime example of a company that has succeeded in this arena. Beyond the hoopla and emotion often involved in these discussions, there are several questions that beg to be asked. Is Ben & Jerry's Inc. deserving of all this attention? If we go beyond media representations and look more closely at the issues, is Ben & Jerry's a socially responsible organization? The purpose of this article is to examine these questions by; - (1) describing the concept of corporate social responsibility; and - (2) exploring some specific actions of Ben & Jerry's to ascertain弄清 whether or not these actions are indeed socially responsible in nature. Social responsibility
In 1960, Keith Davis described social responsibility as businesses' "decisions and actions taken for reasons at least partially beyond the firm's direct economic or technical interest". In 1971, the Committee for Economic Development made the following statement in regards to corporate social responsibility:" Today it is clear that the terms of the contract between society and business are, in fact, changing in substantial 充实的 and important ways. Business is being asked to assume broader responsibilities to society than ever before and to serve a wider range of human values. Business enterprises, in effect, are behind asked to contribute more to the quality of American life than just supplying quantities of goods and services." Since then, the topic of CSR is one that has been widely discussed. There are those, such as Milton Friedman (1962), who are opposed to the underlying premise预述 of CSR and feel that sole responsibility of business is profit maximization. On the other hard, there are those such as William C. Frederick (1960) who feel that the resources available to businesses should be "utilized for broad social ends and not simply for the narrowly...