Conventional wisdom says, if you want to make social change from within a business, you need to make a business case for it i.e. you need to state extrinsic reasons (“This will help the bottom line”) vs. “intrinsic reasons” (“This is the right thing to do”). Otherwise, your bosses just won’t care.
Over at U Michigan, they conducted a major study and found out that this wasn’t necessarily the case. That managers will respond to extrinsic reasons just as often as intrinsic reasons. That if you want your company to act on a social issue, emphasize morals, not a business case.
The trick is, it seems, to show how addressing the problem fits in with the company’s core values. There has to be a preexisting fit; it can’t just be arbitrary.
This makes sense. Businesses are made up of human beings. And human beings respond mostly to human problems. That’s just the way we’re made.