Societal goals (also called enterprise goals), in organizations that employ societal strategy, would occupy the topmost levels of an organization’s hierarchy of goals. In those that to not develop a separate societal strategy, these goals would be woven into corporate-, business-, and functional-level strategies. Societal goals mainly address expectations about the firm’s societal legitimacy. Sometimes included in statements called creeds or guiding philosophies, societal goals identify the major ways in which the organization will operate so as to stay within the legal, ethical, and cultural constraints placed on it by society. Although they guide the behavior of people at all levels of the organization, they have particular relevance for the decisions of key managers related to balancing the claims on the firm of society’s interest groups and institutions, owners, and managers (which we refer to generally as the firm’s stakeholders).
Legitimacy goals should address the overall role of the firm in the daily functioning of society. They should include goals that pertain to the major social issues and legislation of the day. “Some examples are pollution standards, the firm’s antidiscrimination position, safety in working conditions, and sexual harassment.