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The Balanced Company: A Theory of Corporate Integrity

  • 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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    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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