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Inconsistencies in Activists’ Behaviours and the Ethics of NGOs

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  • Y. FASSIN

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Abstract

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and pressure groups have taken up the mission of counterbalancing the huge power of the multinational corporations. Curiously, while most NGOs have a sincere ethical background and a genuine ethical motivation, the way some activist groups and NGOs themselves act does not always live up to the principles they advocate. Research using a multiple case study methodology is used to provide an illustration of various questionable practices followed by pressure groups revealing a range of tactics. The concerns, the objectives and the legitimacy of NGOs and activist groups will be discussed, along with their strategies and tactics. A framework will be developed as a basis for analysing the ethical aspects of the various NGO actions. The analysis of the cases will reveal some worrisome inconsistencies between the demands and the practices of NGOs and activist groups. Should not the means employed by activists and NGOs be consistent with their own espoused or implied values? As power gives responsibility, NGOs should be seen as having corporate stakeholder responsibility.

Suggested Citation

  • Y. Fassin, 2009. "Inconsistencies in Activists’ Behaviours and the Ethics of NGOs," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 09/576, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  • Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:09/576
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    File URL: http://wps-feb.ugent.be/Papers/wp_09_576.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jan Jonker & André Nijhof, 2006. "Looking Through the Eyes of Others: assessing mutual expectations and experiences in order to shape dialogue and collaboration between business and NGOs with respect to CSR," Corporate Governance: An International Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(5), pages 456-466, September.
    2. Doh, Jonathan P. & Teegen, Hildy, 2002. "Nongovernmental organizations as institutional actors in international business: theory and implications," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 11(6), pages 665-684, December.
    3. Phillips, Robert A., 1997. "Stakeholder Theory and A Principle of Fairness," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(01), pages 51-66, January.
    4. Goodstein, Jerry D. & Wicks, Andrew C., 2007. "Corporate and Stakeholder Responsibility: Making Business Ethics A Two-Way Conversation," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(03), pages 375-398, July.
    5. David P. Baron, 2005. "Competing for the Public Through the News Media," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 339-376, June.
    6. Linda O’Riordan & Jenny Fairbrass, 2008. "Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Models and Theories in Stakeholder Dialogue," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 83(4), pages 745-758, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Niamh Brennan & Doris Merkl-Davies & Annika Beelitz, 2013. "Dialogism in Corporate Social Responsibility Communications: Conceptualising Verbal Interaction Between Organisations and Their Audiences," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 115(4), pages 665-679, July.
    2. Mogues, Tewodaj & Billings, Lucy, 2015. "The making of public investments: Champions, coordination, and characteristics of nutrition interventions:," IFPRI discussion papers 1479, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    ethics; NGO; activist; pressure group; stakeholder; inconsistencies; stakeholder responsibility;

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