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Social Irresponsibility in Management


  • JS Armstrong

    (The Wharton School - University of Pennsylvania)


Previously published research suggested that the typical manager may be expected to harm others in his role as a manager. Further support for this was drawn from the Panalba role-playing case. None of the 57 control groups in this case were willing to remove a dangerous drug from the market. In fact, 79% of these groups took active steps to prevent its removal. This decision was classified as irresponsible by 97% of the respondents to a questionnaire. Because the role exerts such powerful effects, an attempt was made to modify subject’s perceptions of their role so that managers would feel responsible to all of the firm’s interest groups. Some subjects were told that board members should represent all interest groups; other subjects were placed on boards of directors where the different groups were represented. Subjects in both groups also received information on the impact of the decisions upon stockholders, employees, and customers. The percentage of irresponsible decisions was reduced under these conditions as only 22% of the 116 groups selected the highly irresponsible decision.

Suggested Citation

  • JS Armstrong, 2004. "Social Irresponsibility in Management," General Economics and Teaching 0412031, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpgt:0412031
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Carroll, Archie B., 1975. "Managerial ethics a post-watergate view," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 75-80, April.
    2. Lorig, Arthur W., 1967. "Where do corporate responsibilities really lie? : Not to society, managers feel," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 51-54.
    3. Bowman, James S., 1976. "Managerial ethics in business and government," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 48-54, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Murphy, Patrick E. & Schlegelmilch, Bodo B., 2013. "Corporate social responsibility and corporate social irresponsibility: Introduction to a special topic section," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(10), pages 1807-1813.
    2. Windsor, Duane, 2013. "Corporate social responsibility and irresponsibility: A positive theory approach," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(10), pages 1937-1944.
    3. Lin-Hi, Nick & Müller, Karsten, 2013. "The CSR bottom line: Preventing corporate social irresponsibility," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(10), pages 1928-1936.
    4. Armstrong, J. Scott, 1983. "Strategic Planning and Forecasting Fundamentals," MPRA Paper 81682, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Woodside, Arch G., 2012. "Incompetency training: Theory, practice, and remedies," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 279-293.
    6. Philippe Jacquart & J. Scott Armstrong, 2013. "The Ombudsman: Are Top Executives Paid Enough? An Evidence-Based Review," Interfaces, INFORMS, vol. 43(6), pages 580-589, December.
    7. repec:eee:jbrese:v:80:y:2017:i:c:p:82-97 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. JS Armstrong, 2005. "The Manager’s Dilemma: Role Conflict in Marketing," General Economics and Teaching 0502042, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Armstrong, J. Scott & Green, Kesten C., 2013. "Effects of corporate social responsibility and irresponsibility policies," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(10), pages 1922-1927.
    10. Ignacio Ferrero & W. Michael Hoffman & Robert E. McNulty, 2012. "Must Milton Friedman Embrace Stakeholder Theory?," Faculty Working Papers 10/12, School of Economics and Business Administration, University of Navarra.
    11. Joseph Heath, 2008. "Business Ethics and Moral Motivation: A Criminological Perspective," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 83(4), pages 595-614, December.
    12. Watkins, Alison & Hill, Ronald Paul, 2011. "Morality in marketing: Oxymoron or good business practice?," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 64(8), pages 922-927, August.
    13. Putrevu, Sanjay & McGuire, Jean & Siegel, Donald S. & Smith, David M., 2012. "Corporate social responsibility, irresponsibility, and corruption: Introduction to the special section," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 65(11), pages 1618-1621.
    14. Woodside, Arch G., 2000. "Announcing the First JBR Article Award for Exceptional Quality and High Scholarly Impact," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 233-234, December.
    15. JS Armstrong, 2004. "Forecasting Methods for Conflict Situations," General Economics and Teaching 0412025, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Herzig, Christian & Moon, Jeremy, 2013. "Discourses on corporate social ir/responsibility in the financial sector," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(10), pages 1870-1880.
    17. Green, Kesten C., 2002. "Forecasting decisions in conflict situations: a comparison of game theory, role-playing, and unaided judgement," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 321-344.
    18. Najah Attig & Sean Cleary & Sadok Ghoul & Omrane Guedhami, 2014. "Corporate Legitimacy and Investment–Cash Flow Sensitivity," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 121(2), pages 297-314, May.
    19. ManMohan S. Sodhi & Christopher S. Tang, 2016. "Supply chain opportunities at the bottom of the pyramid," DECISION: Official Journal of the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Springer;Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, vol. 43(2), pages 125-134, June.
    20. JS Armstrong, 2004. "The Panalba Role Playing Case," General Economics and Teaching 0412029, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. Arnold, Denis G. & Valentin, Andres, 2013. "Corporate social responsibility at the base of the pyramid," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(10), pages 1904-1914.

    More about this item


    obedience to authority; Panalba; role-playing; social accounting; social responsibility; stakeholder theory;

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    • A - General Economics and Teaching

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