In France, corporate social responsibility has long been a lie. Whether it’s a lie targeted at customers, to inspire their empathy — or a lie aimed at employees, to highlight their commitment. On this topic, like many others, we lie because we dare not speak the truth: Too many companies are only interested in their social responsibility when their irresponsibility is too visible.
clearly visible difference in books
This lack of interest is even more surprising as most books on entrepreneurship devote a few pages to the topic. Thus, most books written by Americans on business building include an “ethical” part, unlike works written by French ones, which are often more down to earth. An obvious contradiction, as we often see of American entrepreneurs as both more pragmatic and more businesslike than us.
Even worse, a French reader might be irritated to read a book on entrepreneurship, a sermon on the social responsibility of the entrepreneur. However, for example, Guy Kawazaki’s works are regularly embellished with reflections on the need to be “mensh”, to engage in adventure only if their aim is to bring something essential to humanity. , Even the most unexpected of philanthropy authors, such as Timothy Ferriss, author of “The 4-Hour Workweek,” concludes his book with an exhortation to practice social, charitable, and humanitarian volunteering.
american vs french
There can be two reasons for this morality of the entrepreneur: utility or principle. And it can take three forms: simple performance, daily operation mode, or company back end. Which gives us six combinations. Two combinations that interest American writers are: ethics as the ultimate end of enterprise, from utility—and ethics as the ultimate end of enterprise, in principle. Let us know about these two positions in detail.
Guy Kawasaki, in particular, defends the two positions in turn. On the one hand, he says that the entrepreneur should commit himself only in the name of noble principles: to right the wrong, to bring real benefit to humanity or to protect something precious. And he justifies this by suggesting that building a business is such a difficult task that the lure of profit cannot be its sole driving force, because too soon, project slowness and failures will not fail to impose on the entrepreneur. let it go. Basically, in order to hold up, you have to stick to an ideal. This is a justification by direct utility.
Kawasaki also urges the entrepreneur to be “mensh”, which is the principle of existence, especially by helping to give back to the community, which brings about the entrepreneur in a different way. We should intervene in schools, give our time free to the ecosystem. Again, this is justification by utility. But this utility is more indirect: the entrepreneur, being a beneficial member of the community, must give – he does not know what he gets, but he knows that he gets something in return.
Against a culture of consequences, a culture of principles
Finally, there is a third form of justification for this responsibility, which comes in a very indirect form of utility: in the entrepreneur’s day, many things can escape his control. However, if the consequences of our actions often escape us, because they are co-productions of our choices and the environment in which they occur, then our principles escape us very little: they are motives of their own, They are not dependent on their results. , In this sense, acting according to principles is the assurance of doing at least some work every day that does not escape our control.
One way, Acting on principle is always equivalent to acting out of utility – Because principles are useful to us to strengthen our self-confidence, and to be able to apply his rules and his principles to the world, taking into account the immense privilege of the entrepreneur. Or die trying.
This question of corporate social responsibility must be imposed on the business builder: Start-ups are certainly temporary structures. But, too often, the first decisions taken when a company was formed will shape the culture that will drive it in the long run – including leaving this first exploratory stage to industrialize its ways forward.
Entrepreneur, think about your social responsibility. It will help you hold on when times are tough. It will nurture the ecosystem on which your existence depends and it will bring you a sense of accomplishment every day necessary for any happy life.