Big business in Korea heard their country's president tell them unexpectedly, of their responsibility to society: a pro-business government surprising the Korean conglomerates with some straight talk. Government and big business have been too closely aligned to affect changes, but to have the president allude to problems gives us reason to hope for future substantive changes. He is asking the conglomerates to fulfill their responsibility to society and not be interested only in their profit margin and efficiency.
The priest-director of the Notre Dame Centre for Ethics and Religious Values, in addition to speaking at the Kyongii University School of Business Administration, was invited by the Catholic Times to deliver a colloquy on the management of companies and Catholic teaching. "A company has the obligation to strive for the common good," he said. This is the way to effectively increase competition so both business and the common good benefit.
A movement in the field of management focuses on the employees and customers and has leadership relate with them as Servant Leaders. Principles of Capitalism and efficiency as the number one focus of management has left a thirst for Cooperate Social Responsibility in the world of business. Servant Leadership in the teaching of the Catholic Church is prominent; evidence also shows that this is the best business practice.
Responding to the question about the role of worldwide conglomerates, the priest-director said that many of them--noting that some are more powerful than governments--should be guided by principles that can be reduced to a simple teaching of Jesus in his parable of the talents: "To whom much is given, much is required."
There were two other participants in the colloquy and one of them made clear that the conglomerates have an obligation to the stockholders and employees but also to the society they live in. What the Church is asking from the world of business is what society wants but expressed more comprehensively. The other participant said that what the Church would like to see happen and what companies desire are not in opposition.
In Europe and the United States, citizens are becoming more sensitive on where to invest their money. As this thinking spreads, more groups will publish information making known the corporate social responsibility of each company. This will stimulate investments and prod other companies to change their method of doing business to one that is more socially responsible.