Research Topic

Advancing Social Purpose in Organizations: An Interdisciplinary Perspective

About this Research Topic

On August 19, 2019, 181 Top CEOs from the Business Roundtable pledged a purpose statement beyond a focus on profits, counterposing Friedman’s (1970) argument that the main purpose and social responsibility of businesses is to maximize profits for its owners. The Business Roundtable campaign urges companies to ...

On August 19, 2019, 181 Top CEOs from the Business Roundtable pledged a purpose statement beyond a focus on profits, counterposing Friedman’s (1970) argument that the main purpose and social responsibility of businesses is to maximize profits for its owners. The Business Roundtable campaign urges companies to issue a purpose statement to ensure better, and more transparent socially responsible corporate governance that delivers value for all stakeholders’ future success in business, communities and country. However, what does it mean to have a social purpose in the business ecosystem, local community and national interests? Is a social purpose necessary in lieu of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals? The challenge of transforming an organization, community and a country generates contradictory stakeholder demands that are persistent and may not be adequately addressed through a social purpose.

Therefore, this Research Topic seeks to better understand potential limitations and opportunities to advance social purpose in organizations by integrating profits with other business purposes, which have often been accomplished through blurred sectors. Contributors are encouraged to explore the nested tensions, interwoven contradictions, limitations and opportunities of defining and developing a social purpose in organizations for social progress in communities and countries.

The guest editors welcome manuscripts that address social purpose broadly and contextually within specific industries, organizational types and environments, as well as across different sectors. We are particularly interested in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches for advancing social purpose globally and nationally within the firm’s social license to operate. In addition, the guest editors encourage manuscript submissions that address the ambiguity of ‘social purpose’ within societal change and transformation across disciplines such as responsible investments, medicine, sustainable engineering, corporate governance, leadership, organizational performance, global value chains, supply chain management, environmental management, strategic management, public policy, responsible management, technology, bioethics, economics, trade, partnerships, and corporate responsibility.


Keywords: social responsibility, sustainability, corporate responsibility, stakeholders, business purpose


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

21 May 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

21 May 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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