Social value as a concept has been the subject of much debate in recent times because of the alleged irresponsible behaviour or some companies and banks. The ramifications of this behaviour are still rumbling on. Government guidelines endeavour to encourage companies to act in a responsible way. Also, most organisations have a company policy or mission statement to show how the company acts in a responsible way.
However, many have argued that the main responsibility of a corporation is to maximize returns to its shareholders, and that since only people can have social responsibilities, corporations are only responsible to their shareholders and not to society.
Nevertheless, increasingly, this concept is being challenged and the pendulum appears to be swinging towards the need for companies to be more socially aware. Some are even questioning whether capitalism has seen its best days.
The presence of protesters in High Street stores complaining about companies not paying what they consider to be a fair amount of tax is indicative of the strength of just one element of perceived social value (i.e. the amount of tax a company pays). The claim by these companies that they are not breaking the law only seems to create broader tensions.
The Lake Social Value measurement is not designed to look at the morals of the 'capitalist/social' mix...
Its focal point is to study all the elements that consumers consider are contained in the concept of social value and the extent to which perceived social value can drive purchasing decisions in much the same way as green issues and fair trade appear to have done.
To what extent might long term profitability be driven by a company's adherence to social value in its broadest sense remains to be seen. It appears evident that respondents have a clear view of the breath of the social value concept. It is the aim of our research to measure this effect and track change over time.