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Taboos in Corporate Social Responsibility Discourse

Listed author(s):
  • Tomi Kallio


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    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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    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
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-006-9227-x
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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. Lomborg,Bjørn, 2001. "The Skeptical Environmentalist," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521010689, December.
    3. 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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