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Corporate Social Responsibility Undergrad Essay

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Analytic Essay:

Length: about 3000 words.
Topic: To whom are corporate managers morally responsible and in what respects? Is their social responsibility to maximize returns to investors? Why/why not? Under what circumstances and subject to what conditions?

This is an analytic paper rather than a research paper: there is no need to consult materials outside of the assigned readings. You do need to discuss and refer to the relevant readings on the stakeholder-stockholder debate (i.e., materials for weeks 2-9). To do well you will need to be able to explain, in detail and in your own words, the logic of the arguments in the readings. You will need to explain how the arguments of the different readings relate and respond to one another as part of an on-going debate. The more readings you effectively incorporate in your analysis the better, BUT discussing many readings superficially just for the sake of increasing the number of articles you mention will tend to reduce rather than enhance your grade.

Two key points: First, this paper should focus on normative analysis. A descriptive or positive account of how business works or what the law is will not meet the terms of the assignment. Facts will be relevant to your normative argument, but need to be connected to your thesis by normative warrants or premises. For example, that a company was established by its founders for the sole purpose of making money is not, in itself, a reason why it ought solely to seek that goal.

Second, you need to make an argument. That means you need to defend a definite thesis. The thesis may be qualified and nuanced, but it should be clear what view you are for and why it is preferable to rival views. To make an effective argument you have to understand the relevant arguments for and against your thesis in the readings. Summarizing the readings is not the same thing as addressing (entering a dialogue with) their arguments, and expressing an opinion is not the same as arguing for a thesis. A paper that merely summarizes the readings, however accurately, with or without the interjection of personal opinions, will not get a high grade. Nor is a list of “pros and cons” an argument.

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