Social Contracting as a Trust-Building Process of Network Governance

Business Ethics Quarterly 5 (2):271-295 (1995)
Social contracting has a long and important place in the history of political philosophy (Hardin, 1991; Waldron, 1989) and as a theory of justice (Baynes, 1989; Rawls, 1971). More recently, it has been developed into an individual rights-based theory of organizations (Keeley, 1980, 1988), and as a way to integrate ethics and moral legitimacy into corporate strategy and action (DonaIdson, 1982; Freeman & Gilbert, 1988). Currently, it is being proposed as an integrative theory of economic ethics (Donaldson & Dunfee, forthcoming). This paper will extend the Donaldson and Dunfee approach by arguing that social contracting can best be understood and applied in organizational settings if it is perceived and treated as a network governance process. This insight can benefit management scholars and practitioners alike, since it calls attention to the processes by which trust is created and sustained in on-going contractual relationships. It also strongly suggests that a new approach to applying managerial discretion, as moral agency, is needed to realize the full competitive and ethical potential of emerging network forms
Keywords Applied Philosophy  Business and Professional Ethics  Social Science
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ISBN(s) 1052-150X
DOI 10.2307/3857357
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5 Years, 20 Issues, 141 Articles, and What?LaRue Tone Hosmer - 1996 - Business Ethics Quarterly 6 (3):327-358.

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