Parrèsiastic stakeholders: A different approach to ethical institutions [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 53 (1-2):39-50 (2004)
Abstract
Are we really in need of (new) ethical institutions that regulate and control the ethical quality of corporate behavior? The various scandals (Enron, WorldOnline, Ahold) prove that ethical institutions, as well as deontological codes, public social commitments, social annual reports directly linked to financial overviews, are not enough to prevent fraud, corruption or bribery. Does the existence of those institutions partly provoke and legitimize the unbridled and immense power of organizational and CEO-(non-ethical) behavior and window-dressing? Do we need more separate ethical institutions? Is it possible to outsource the competence of an ethical corporate and personal moral responsibility to another, separate institution? Do people and corporations still feel the confrontation with moral dilemmas with the institutionalizing of a part of that responsibility to an anonymous body? And won't this ethical control lead to a further alienation of the micro level personal responsibility to the macro performance of the market and organizations? This article focuses on the counterpart of the institution: tomorrow's stakeholder. The stakeholder of tomorrow (the manager, the CEO, the consumer, the employee, the civil servant...) embodies the complexity of the multi-paradigmatic business ethics debate. Two aspects of tomorrow's stakeholders' presence will be discussed: their moral attitude and emancipative communication.
Keywords ethos  critical attitude  “parrèsia”  stakeholders  ethical institutions
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