A Review of ‘Building Social Business’ by Muhammad Yunus
RMIT University, Australia
According to Muhammed Yunus (MY), social business is doing business to solve a social problem without profit motive. This is another type of capitalism in which each business creates employment and good working conditions apart from solving some specific social problem. Thus, a social business is a non-loss, non-dividend, company dedicated exclusively to achieve a social goal. The business is financially self-sustainable. Profits are re-invested to develop the business further or start new social businesses. The investor gets back his money over time, but nothing more. Grameen Banks are best examples of social business in which shareholders themselves are borrowers. Although profit is generated, profit maximisation at any cost is not the central aim. The business is not dependent on charity donations as it is self-sustainable. Funds are invested repeatedly rather than only once. Thus charity dollar has only one life, but social business dollar has several lives. It is notable that many other definitions have been proposed by others. Some of them are listed by De Clerck (n.d.) which are mostly related to digital business using social media and other themes. For example, Infosys gives four dimensions of social business as: me, you, we and us. The first three are within the organisation and the last, us, denotes customers, partners, suppliers and distributors. These together have technological, management, societal and human dimensions. In this review, we look closely at the book on social business written by Muhammad Yunus (MY). MY had great success with his social business model in Bangladesh. The specific contexts of the country might have been suitable for this first significant impact. While the idea is well appreciated all around, the details of how it exactly works, long term sustainability and extent of impact are not clear to many. It may be necessary to copy the model to more areas across the world and test its validity with respect to the business concepts, results and long term sustainability.