Social Contract Theory and Gender Discrimination

Business Ethics Quarterly 5 (2):257-270 (1995)
This paper relates Donaldson and Dunfee’s Integrative Social Contracts Theory to the problem of gender discrimination. We make the assumption that multinational managers might seek some guidance from ISCT to resolve ethical issues of gender discrimination in countries indifferent or hostile to gender equaIity. The role of Donaldson and Dunfee’s “hypernorms” seems especially cruciaI, and we find that, under their writings thus far, no “hypernorms” exist to make unethical the most blatant acts of sex discrimination in a host country whose local norms tolerate such discrimination. The genesis of “hypernorms” as “global moral minimums” is recounted, and specific application of ISCT to a familiar ethics case (“A Foreign Assignment”) is provided
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