Business in a Social Context

We all find it easy to avoid risks which are clearly visible, and everyone takes more care moving into uncharted territory. But when your old environment is changing slowly and subtly, you may need ‘new eyes’ to see the risks and opportunities.

The context in which business operates is changing slowly and subtly, creating a whole new set of risks for the unwary. Profit is no longer the only bottom line. Social and environmental bottom lines are becoming established, and whether you are measuring or reporting on them, you are being assessed against them.

It has been reported that Australians hold stronger views about corporate social responsibility and behaviour than people in any other country in the world. According to David Uren, more than half of all Australians have actually punished a company in some way for its actions. For organisations with their ‘eyes wide shut’ this change in community expectation will represent a significant risk to their performance.

If you have the ‘new eyes’ to see opportunities in this changed expectation, you can become the leader in your field.

“The real magic of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Marcel Proust

Whether you like it or not, you are doing business in a social context. Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on doing business in a social context.

What questions does this raise for you?

4 Responses to “Business in a Social Context”

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  1. Carrie says:

    Triple bottom line really counts. I check before I buy!

  2. Hi Kerrie,

    Great site! About this particular post, I think it is almost amusing that people are only very recently coming to terms with the fact that business is social by nature. It has always been this way but the powers-that-be have chosen to ignore this very vital fact for the longest time. However, because of technological advances, the explosion of social media and the increasing power of the consumer, businesses can no longer ignore this social aspect. Just my two cents 🙂

    All the best,

    • Kerrie says:

      I think you are correct Dianne.

      Back when business was generally just with our village neighbours, the social context was unmistakable. Then increasing globalisation in the second half of the twentieth century made business seen impersonal and unconnected for a while there.

      But the world has definitely tilted again. As you say, new technologies and social media now connect us globally and underscore the ‘social licence to operate’ that businesses require – and can’t afford to ignore.

      Kind regards, Kerrie

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