Global Rules and Private Actors

Business Ethics Quarterly 16 (4):505-532 (2006)
Abstract
We discuss the role that transnational corporations (TNCs) should play in developing global governance, creating a frameworkof rules and regulations for the global economy. The central issue is whether TNCs should provide global rules and guarantee individual citizenship rights, or instead focus on maximizing profits. First, we describe the problems arising from the globalization process that affect the relationship between public rules and private firms. Next we consider the position of economic and management theories in relation to the social responsibility of the firm. We argue that instrumental stakeholder theory and business and society research can only partially solve the global governance issue, and that more recent concepts of corporate citizenship and republican business ethics deliver theoretically and practically helpful, fresh insights. However, even these need further development, especially with regard to the legitimacy of corporate political activity
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