Summary of The Market for Virtue

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The Market for Virtue book summary


8 Overall

7 Applicability

9 Innovation

7 Style


Support for corporate social responsibility (CSR) has never been stronger. However, while most books concentrate on CSR's benefits in terms of increased sales and enhanced brands, David Vogel questions these theories. He thoroughly examines the "market for virtue" from every angle. He explores the demand for responsible products, practices and investments, and finds it wanting. Vogel looks at how corporations respond to public pressure, usually with voluntary codes of conduct. He concludes that the codes work within limits, but believes that ultimately government regulation, not CSR, will bring about substantial change. Some readers will find his thorough analysis fascinating, though others may think it is too academic. getAbstract recommends this book to anyone who has readily accepted the CSR advocates' argument that doing good is always good for business, and to those who want to do good – or see good done – with or without profit.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why the argument that "doing good is good for business" is not always true;
  • What advantages and limits corporate social responsibility (CSR) has; and
  • How CSR has affected labor in developing countries, the environment and human rights.

About the Author

David Vogel is a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and editor of the California Management Review. His other books include Trading Up: Consumer and Environmental Regulation in a Global Economy and Kindred Strangers: The Uneasy Relationship between Politics and Business.



Why Act Responsibly?
Companies choose to behave responsibly even when they are not legally required to do so for various reasons, which could be strategic, defensive, or humane and philanthropic. Some corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs have demonstrably improved working conditions...

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