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The Balanced Company: A Theory of Corporate Integrity


Author Info

  • Kaptein, Muel

    (Senior Manager, KPMG Ethics & Integrity Consulting; Professor and Director, Ethics Management Center at Erasmus University)

  • Wempe, Johan

    (Partner, KPMG; Professor, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University)

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    The Balanced Company provides a coherent overview of the most important theories and insights in the field of business ethics and corporate social responsibility. This is an area of growing concern for corporations today - many have Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) personnel and use ethical codes in areas such as performance appraisals, staff induction programmes, supplier contracts, and so forth. Corporations are driven by more than a sense of ethical duty and idealism, however. There is clear evidence that the implementation of ethical codes can help to minimize legal fees, improve staff morale, ward off bad press, improve public image, empower stakeholders, and boost profits. But what of the situations where ethical decisions come at the cost of profits? Accessible and up-to-date, The Balanced Company presents criteria that can be used to measure, assess, improve, and report on corporate integrity. Tailoring the main ethical theories to the situations in which organizations function, the book also provides in-depth case studies at the end of each chapter. These include coverage of Shell, KPN Telecom, and the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster amongst others. Part I describes the rise of business ethics in practice. General misconceptions about the field are discussed and a summary of common ethical theories is presented. It concludes with a discussion of the concept of integrity. Part II provides the theoretical foundation for the ethics of business and discusses the question of whether the notion of integrity is applicable to organizations and whether an organization can be viewed as an autonomous entity. Part III formulates practical applications based on the preceding analyses and arguments. For academics, this book sets out a unique framework for the development of theories and critieria; for students, it provides a clear explanation of business ethics, sustainable development, and compliance; and for managers, it presents a practical framework that can be used to develop their organization. The Balanced Company will be widely used on courses and training programmes in corporate social responsibility and business ethics. The book is supported by a website containing further information about the cases and questions for discussion (

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    Bibliographic Info

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    This book is provided by Oxford University Press in its series OUP Catalogue with number 9780199255511 and published in 2002.

    ISBN: 9780199255511
    Handle: RePEc:oxp:obooks:9780199255511

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    Related research



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    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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    Cited by:
    1. Johan Graafland & Muel Kaptein & Corrie Mazereeuw-van der Duijn Schouten, 2006. "Business Dilemmas and Religious Belief: An Explorative Study among Dutch Executives," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 66(1), pages 53-70, June.
    2. Dejan Jelovac & Zeger Wal & Ana Jelovac, 2011. "Business and Government Ethics in the “New” and “Old” EU: An Empirical Account of Public–Private Value Congruence in Slovenia and the Netherlands," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 103(1), pages 127-141, September.
    3. Virginia Maurer, 2009. "Corporate Social Responsibility and the “Divided Corporate Self”: The case of Chiquita in Colombia," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 88(4), pages 595-603, October.
    4. Betsy Stevens, 2008. "Corporate Ethical Codes: Effective Instruments For Influencing Behavior," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 78(4), pages 601-609, April.
    5. John Pearce, 2013. "Using Social Identity Theory to Predict Managers’ Emphases on Ethical and Legal Values in Judging Business Issues," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 112(3), pages 497-514, February.
    6. Ingo Winkler, 2011. "The Representation of Social Actors in Corporate Codes of Ethics. How Code Language Positions Internal Actors," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 101(4), pages 653-665, July.
    7. Kaptein, S.P., 2007. "Developing and Testing a Measure for the Ethical Culture of Organizations: The Corporate Ethical Virtues Model," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2007-084-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    8. Harrison McCraw & Kathy Moffeit & John O’Malley, 2009. "An Analysis of the Ethical Codes of Corporations and Business Schools," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 87(1), pages 1-13, June.
    9. Williams, Sandra L., 2011. "Engaging values in international business practice," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 315-324, July.
    10. Angeloantonio Russo & Antonio Tencati, 2009. "Formal vs. Informal CSR Strategies: Evidence from Italian Micro, Small, Medium-sized, and Large Firms," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 85(2), pages 339-353, April.
    11. Simone Zolingen & Hakan Honders, 2010. "Metaphors and the Application of a Corporate Code of Ethics," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 92(3), pages 385-400, March.
    12. Adrian Wai Kong Cheung, 2011. "Do Stock Investors Value Corporate Sustainability? Evidence from an Event Study," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 99(2), pages 145-165, March.
    13. Durif, Fabien & Geay, Bénédicte & Graf, Raoul, 2013. "Do key account managers focus too much on commercial performance? A cognitive mapping application," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(9), pages 1559-1567.
    14. Eileen Daspro, 2009. "An Analysis of U.S. Multinationals’ Recruitment Practices in Mexico," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 87(1), pages 221-232, April.
    15. Zahir Dossa & Katrin Kaeufer, 2014. "Understanding Sustainability Innovations Through Positive Ethical Networks," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 119(4), pages 543-559, February.
    16. Graafland, J.J. & Kaptein, M. & Mazereeuw, C, 2007. "Conceptions of God, normative convictions and socially responsible business conduct: An explorative study among executives," MPRA Paper 20280, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. repec:eme:srjpps:v:6:y:2010:i:2:p:472-489 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Eyun-Jung Ki & Soo-Yeon Kim, 2010. "Ethics Statements of Public Relations Firms: What Do They Say?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 91(2), pages 223-236, January.
    19. Sandra Thiel & Zeger Wal, 2010. "Birds of a Feather? The Effect of Organizational Value Congruence on the Relationship Between Ministries and Quangos," Public Organization Review, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 377-397, December.


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