Corporate response to an ethical incident: the case of an energy company in New Zealand

Business Ethics 19 (4):379-392 (2010)
The ethical behaviour and social responsibility of private companies, and in particular large corporations, is an important area of enquiry in contemporary social, economic and political thinking. In the past, a company's behaviour would be considered responsible as long as it stayed within the law of the society in which it operated or existed. Although this may be necessary, it is no longer sufficient. In this paper, we examine an energy company's response to an ethical incident in New Zealand which prompted different responses across the country about the role of business in society. Thus, we argue that when a corporation is accused of unethical behaviour, executives of the company are usually compelled to offer responses to defend their actions and corporate image. Further, we use communicative response model, social issue life cycle theory, and organisational learning, to analyse the incident and how the company responded. Using social issues life cycle theory and organisational learning theory, we demonstrate that sustained pressure can potentially trigger a change of strategy that may serve to improve the ethical posture of a corporation and thereby improve the corporate image long term. We conclude that, although corporations may understand the significance of social issues to the performance and success of their business, this same understanding does not always translate into meaningful social action
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-8608.2010.01596.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,208
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 17 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

20 ( #248,666 of 2,172,662 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #325,028 of 2,172,662 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums