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Taboos in Corporate Social Responsibility Discourse

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  • Tomi Kallio

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    Abstract

    Corporations today have been engineered by CEOs and other business advocates to look increasingly green and responsible. However, alarming cases such as Enron, Parmalat and Worldcom bear witness that a belief in corporate goodness is still nothing other than naïve. Although many scholars seemingly recognize this, they still avoid touching on the most sensitive and problematic issues, the taboos. As a consequence, discussion of important though problematic topics is often stifled. The article identifies three ‘grand’ taboos of CSR discourse and explicitly raises them for discussion. They are the taboos of amoral business, continuous economic growth, and the political nature of CSR. It is suggested that CSR can only be as advanced as its taboos. The critical potential of the field remains underdeveloped as a consequence of the taboos, and in many cases the CSR discourse merely produces alluring but empty rhetoric about sustainability and responsible business. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10551-006-9227-x
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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 74 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 2 (August)
    Pages: 165-175

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:74:y:2007:i:2:p:165-175

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

    Related research

    Keywords: taboo; CSR; corporate greening; growth; politics; amoral;

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    1. McCloskey, Donald N, 1983. "The Rhetoric of Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 481-517, June.
    2. E. Ray Canterbery, 1984. "Introduction," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 7(1), pages 4-6, October.
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    Cited by:
    1. Todd Bridgman, 2010. "Beyond the Manager’s Moral Dilemma: Rethinking the ‘Ideal-Type’ Business Ethics Case," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 94(2), pages 311-322, August.
    2. Matthew Lee & Jillian Kohler, 2010. "Benchmarking and Transparency: Incentives for the Pharmaceutical Industry’s Corporate Social Responsibility," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 95(4), pages 641-658, September.
    3. Bajmócy, Zoltán & Málovics, György, 2011. "Az ökológiai hatékonyságot növelő innovációk hatása a fenntarthatóságra. Az IPAT formula dinamizálása
      [The effects of eco-innovations on sustainability. Modifying the IPAT]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(10), pages 890-904.
    4. Lori Holder-Webb & Jeffrey Cohen, 2012. "The Cut and Paste Society: Isomorphism in Codes of Ethics," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 107(4), pages 485-509, June.
    5. Rahul Mitra, 2012. "“My Country’s Future”: A Culture-Centered Interrogation of Corporate Social Responsibility in India," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 106(2), pages 131-147, March.

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