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Author: Ian Taylor, Researcher and Policy Associate

Download the article - Responsible business: a challenging opportunity

Why read this?

This article is a comprehensive introduction to the subject of responsible business from a political perspective. It is written for a broad audience and is especially relevant for those working in policy. 

If you want to engage with the challenges of energising government policy towards businesses, this article would be a great start. 


The world of business is in a new epoch of accepting social responsibility and at the same time there is a need for every element of society to put their shoulder to the wheel. Businesses are arguably the most powerful force in society, so how can governments harness that productivity? Should Government even be doing more? There are no easy answers but that is no reason to abandon the opportunity presented. 

This article covers eleven elements, beginning by outlining What is responsible business and the History of responsible business thought. It goes on to cover: 

  • A new epoch in which all stakeholders are enthusiastic for social responsibility 
  • The concept of Shared value, where businesses and communities mutually benefit from strategic cooperation    
  • The Government role in nurturing and managing responsible business  
  • The importance of maintaining a Business focus in any new policy, especially in relation to maintaining International competitiveness with states that have different political approaches   
  • The Limitations inherent with the idea of a socially responsible commercial entity and the very real prospect of regulatory Capture by well-resourced businesses
  • The article ends with a Focus example: education, which examines through reference to one theme how the theory of responsible business policy could be put into practice 

Much like the dialogue we intend to trigger with this article, the Government Outcomes Lab is using this piece as a springboard for further research. If you'd like to discuss our work on the contribution that responsible business can make to cross-sector efforts to improve social outcomes, please get in touch with Research and Policy Associate, Ian Taylor.

Read the article:

Responsible business: a challenging opportunity