Ethics and Network Organizations

Business Ethics Quarterly 20 (3):533-543 (2010)
Abstract
As value chains become longer with increases in outsourcing and subcontracting, the challenges of fi xing responsibility become more diffi cult. Using concepts from the literature on social networks, this paper considers issues of diffusion of responsibility and plausible deniability in such relationships. Specifi cally, this paper isolates three sources of denial of – or defense against – attributions of responsibility: connection, control and knowledge. It goes on to consider the effects on network density and actor centrality as third parties (tertius illuminans) alter the structure of these networks. Finally, preliminary conclusions are considered including suggestions for addressing these new challenges as well as the potential for conceptual cross-fertilization between network analysis and organizationalethics
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