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A Moral Pluralist Perspective on Corporate Social Responsibility: From Good to Controversial Practices

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  • Marian Eabrasu

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    Abstract

    This study starts from the observation that there are relatively few controversial issues in corporate social responsibility (CSR). Given its strong normative background, CSR is rather an atypical discipline, especially in comparison with moral philosophy or applied ethics. Exploring the mainstream CSR agenda, this situation was echoed by widespread consensus on what was considered to be “good practice”: reducing pollution, shutting down sweatshops, discouraging tax evasion, and so on. However, interpretation of these issues through the lens of moral pluralism unveils latent controversies. The moral appraisal of good practices within CSR depends on key moral concepts (such as harm, responsibility, intention, and consequences), which have various—and often incompatible—interpretations. In a nutshell, this article argues that from a moral pluralist standpoint, all CSR topics are potentially controversial. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10551-012-1491-3
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Business Ethics.

    Volume (Year): 110 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 4 (November)
    Pages: 429-439

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:110:y:2012:i:4:p:429-439

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    Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100281

    Related research

    Keywords: Consensus; Controversies; Corporate social responsibility; Good practices; Morality; Pluralism;

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    1. William Shaw, 2009. "Marxism, Business Ethics, and Corporate Social Responsibility," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 84(4), pages 565-576, February.
    2. Ulf Richter, 2010. "Liberal Thought in Reasoning on CSR," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 97(4), pages 625-649, December.
    3. Cecile Renouard, 2011. "Corporate Social Responsibility, Utilitarianism, and the Capabilities Approach," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 98(1), pages 85-97, January.
    4. Rory Ridley-Duff, 2007. "Communitarian Perspectives on Social Enterprise," Corporate Governance: An International Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(2), pages 382-392, 03.
    5. Pursey Heugens & J. Oosterhout & Muel Kaptein, 2006. "Foundations and Applications for Contractualist Business Ethics," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 68(3), pages 211-228, October.
    6. Carroll, Archie B., 1991. "The pyramid of corporate social responsibility: Toward the moral management of organizational stakeholders," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 39-48.
    7. Itziar Castelló & Josep Lozano, 2011. "Searching for New Forms of Legitimacy Through Corporate Responsibility Rhetoric," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 100(1), pages 11-29, April.
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