Social Contracting in a Pluralist Process of Moral Sense Making: A Dialogic Twist on the ISCT

Journal of Business Ethics 68 (3):329-346 (2006)
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Abstract

This paper applies Wempe’s (2005, Business Ethics Quarterly 15(1), 113–135) boundary conditions that define the external and internal logics for contractarian business ethics theory, as a system of argumentation for evaluating current or prospective institutional arrangements for arriving at the “good life,” based on the principles and practices of social justice. It does so by showing that a more dynamic, process-oriented, and pluralist ‘dialogic twist’ to Donaldson and Dunfee’s (2003, ‘Social Contracts: sic et non’, in P. Heugens, H. van Oosterhout and J. Vromen (eds.), The Social Institutions of Capitalism: Evolution and Design of Social Contracts (Cheltenham, UK, Edward Elgar Publishing, Ltd.) pp. 109–126; 1999, Ties that Bind: A Social Contracts Approach to Business Ethics (Boston, MA, Harvard Business School Press); 1995, Economics and Philosophy 11(1), 85–112; 1994, Academy of Management Review 19(2), 252–284.) integrated social contracting theory (ISCT) of economic ethics will further develop this promising and influential approach to moral reasoning, ethical decision-making, and stakeholder governance. This evolutionary, interactive learning-based model of ethical norm generation via dialogic stakeholder engagement is particularly appropriate within economic communities that are experiencing value conflict and pressures for institutional change.

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