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Well-being as a staged social responsibility process for business and society

Lance Richard Newey (Department of Strategy, University of Queensland Business School, Brisbane, Australia)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Article publication date: 21 November 2018

Issue publication date: 20 February 2019




This paper aims to conceptualize how business and society co-evolve their efforts to maximizing the greatest well-being of the greatest number following a conscious-unconscious, staged, dialectical process.


This study used a conceptual framework linking eight components of well-being (economic, environmental, social, cultural, psychological, spiritual, material and physical), with stages of consciousness and the co-evolution of business and society.


Stages of consciousness – traditionalist, modernist, post-modernist and integral – moderate both the pace and direction with which business and society co-evolve to the greatest well-being of the greatest number across eight components of well-being.

Research limitations/implications

This is a conceptual framework which integrates existing empirical relationships, but the overall framework itself is yet to be empirically tested.

Practical implications

The whole process of maximizing well-being can become more conscious for both business and society. This requires making unconscious components conscious and becoming conscious of the inseparability of the eight components of well-being as a counter-balanced set.

Social implications

Businesses and societies can maximize well-being across eight inseparable components. But implementing this is a staged process requiring progressing populations through stages of consciousness. Earlier stages lay the platform for a critical mass of people able to integrate the eight components.


Knowledge of well-being is dominated by disciplinary disconnection and bivariate studies; yet, current meta-crises and calls for post-conventional leaders indicate the importance of an integrated multidisciplinary well-being model which explains past efforts of business and society, diagnoses current problems and points towards more viable paths.



Newey, L.R. (2019), "Well-being as a staged social responsibility process for business and society", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 75-89.



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Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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