CR - Social Responsibility
Businesses, especially those that cannot feasibly differentiate their products or functions from those of rival firms, often gain immediate advantages through conduct judged irresponsible by the surrounding society. As lucrative as such strategies might be in the short term, however, no business can survive in the long run unless all of its significant operations are socially responsible. Any firm whose irresponsible conduct goes on for long enough, or is sufficiently blatant, will eventually run afoul of public opinion. All societies act to curtail the power of those they judge to have wielded it irresponsibly; thus, once public sentiment has turned against a firm, the public itself will inevitably act to reduce that firm’s influence—plunging it eventually into irrelevance and, in turn, bankruptcy.
Each of the following considerations, if true, weakens the argument above EXCEPT
A. Misbehavior from a firm with an excellent reputation for social responsibility, because of its shock value, is much more likely to be publicly exposed than is similar misconduct on the part of a less reputable firm.
B. Most people are aware that their standard of living can be maintained only if certain firms, particularly those that produce standardized materials such as steel, are able to operate without hindrance or interruption.
C. Sufficiently shrewd and pervasive marketing can erode society’s ability to detect socially irresponsible corporate conduct.
D. The most blatant disregard for social responsibility is typically seen from firms that were founded specifically to generate short-term profits, with no expectation of long-term viability.
E. Through aggressive public-relations campaigns and radical rebranding, firms can usually distance themselves from previous public judgments.