Key Points:

  • Business as an activity, a concept and social actor has been remarkably underexplored. Little appears to have been written on the general role and sociology of business in society. Not only does this leave business actors with little guidance in coping with rapidly changing social and political contexts.
  • In a democratising and democratic situation, business will have to play a public role through broadly representative organisation which make the case for certain policies in terms of broader societal concerns, and through open debate in the political marketplace.
  • Business needs a sophisticated and up-to-date understanding of the economic, political and social dynamics of the society in which it operates. It cannot always rely on other institutions to provide the information and policies that it needs.
  • On the national level, business should favour a realistic linkage between economic (i.e. growth) and social (i.e. development) policies. In both realms, such policies should be anti-statist and anti-populist.