David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Business Ethics 43 (1-2):21 - 31 (2003)
Large corporations are coming under intense pressure to act in a socially responsible manner. Corporations have accepted this notion provided that it is exercised voluntarily. It has also been argued that corporations can do well by doing good, and that good ethics is good business. This paper presents an alternative viewpoint by demonstrating that while voluntary socially responsible conduct is desirable, it plays a rather small role in inspiring good corporate conduct. Instead, (a) it is the external economic-competitive conditions that define the parameters and opportunities for good corporate conduct; and (b) the values and traditions of the corporations, and their perceived risk in exploiting those opportunities, that influence the extent of a corporation's socially responsible conduct. The framework presented here analyzes certain market-competitive conditions, which determine the scope and direction of socially responsible corporate conduct, and the instruments available to society to enhance ethical corporate conduct. It suggests that from society's perspective, we should move away from the notion of corporate social responsibility and toward corporate social accountability. Most modern economies operate under conditions of imperfect competition where corporations gain above-normal profits, i.e., market rent, from market imperfections. Therefore, corporations should be held accountable for a more equitable distribution of these above-normal profits with other groups, e.g., customers, employees, etc., who were deprived of their market-based gains because of market imperfections and corporate power. Three approaches are suggested for measuring corporate accountability through corrections. These are: information imbalance, bargaining power imbalance, and, adjudication, remedy and relief imbalance
|Keywords||corporate social accountability corporate social responsibility globalization good corporation imperfect markets stakeholders|
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Citations of this work BETA
S. Prakash Sethi & Donald H. Schepers (2013). United Nations Global Compact: The Promise–Performance Gap. Journal of Business Ethics 122 (2):1-16.
Yongqiang Gao & Taïeb Hafsi (forthcoming). Government Intervention, Peers’ Giving and Corporate Philanthropy: Evidence From Chinese Private SMEs. Journal of Business Ethics.
S. Prakash Sethi (2005). Investing in Socially Responsible Companies is a Must for Public Pension Funds – Because There is No Better Alternative. Journal of Business Ethics 56 (2):99 - 129.
Michaela Driver (2006). Beyond the Stalemate of Economics Versus Ethics: Corporate Social Responsibility and the Discourse of the Organizational Self. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 66 (4):337 - 356.
Jeanne M. Logsdon & Harry J. Van Buren (2009). Beyond the Proxy Vote: Dialogues Between Shareholder Activists and Corporations. Journal of Business Ethics 87 (1):353 - 365.
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