Though American business loudly proclaims its concern over ecology, pollution, poverty and race, not many companies are willing to subsidize their employees to work on these and other problems outside the factory or office. A few firms, including Cummins Engine and Prudential Insurance, have detached people to do good works not connected with their jobs, but the programs tend to be informal and restricted to projects chosen by management. Employees who want to do something else have to quit or take an unpaid leave.

There are signs that many employees feel a company...

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