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Business ethics, corporate social responsibility and corporate governance: a review and summary critique


  • John Donaldson
  • Irene Fafaliou


In the business-and-society literature and in the general press on whether business fulfils its social role responsibly. Business ethics, corporate social responsibility and corporate governance movements have been developed in recent decades as responses to a growing sense of corporate wrongdoing. This paper attempts to explain why the three movements seem yet to have generated little in the form of widely accepted prescriptions for improvement of business behaviour to the satisfaction of the “constituents” of business, i.e. the major stakeholders. Without denying the usefulness of any of the three movements, the paper suggests that there are weaknesses in all three, especially concerning the way they conceive modern business operation. To this end business pluralism, responsive codes of practice and re-examination of the assumptions (conditions) of business operation could be helpful.

Suggested Citation

  • John Donaldson & Irene Fafaliou, 2003. "Business ethics, corporate social responsibility and corporate governance: a review and summary critique," European Research Studies Journal, European Research Studies Journal, vol. 0(1-2), pages 97-118, January -.
  • Handle: RePEc:ers:journl:v:vi:y:2003:i:1-2:p:97-118

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Foster, F Douglas & Viswanathan, S, 1993. " Variations in Trading Volume, Return Volatility, and Trading Costs: Evidence on Recent Price Formation Models," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(1), pages 187-211, March.
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    5. Harris, Lawrence, 1989. "A Day-End Transaction Price Anomaly," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(01), pages 29-45, March.
    6. Nikitas Niarchos & Christos Alexakis, 1998. "Stock market prices, 'causality' and efficiency: evidence from the Athens stock exchange," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(2), pages 167-174.
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    Cited by:

    1. Goering, Gregory E., 2012. "Corporate social responsibility and marketing channel coordination," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 142-148.
    2. Goering, Gregory E., 2008. "Socially concerned firms and the provision of durable goods," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 575-583, May.
    3. Vitor Miguel Ribeiro, 2014. "Public regulatory intervention in consumer-friendly firms," FEP Working Papers 548, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    4. Giacomo Fabietti & Francesca Trovarelli, 2016. "The role of Eco-control in the implementation of Sustainable Business Models," MANAGEMENT CONTROL, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2016(3), pages 141-172.

    More about this item


    Business Ethics; Corporate Social Responsibility; Corporate Governance; Business Ideology; Business Conduct; Business Pluralism; Responsive Codes of Practice; Conditions of Business;

    JEL classification:

    • M - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics
    • D - Microeconomics
    • G - Financial Economics
    • L - Industrial Organization


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