v1n17: Beschorner on Porter & Kramer on Creating Shared Value

“Creating Shared Value: The One-Trick Pony Approach” by Thomas Beschorner

A COMMENT ON Michael Porter and Mark Kramer (2011), “Creating Shared Value,” Harv Bus Rev 89(1/2): 62–77.

Abstract: Although Michael Porter’s and Marc Kramer’s article “Creating Shared Value” is a welcome attempt to mainstream business ethics among management practitioners, it is neither so radical nor such a departure from standard management thinking as the authors make it seem. Porter’s and Kramer’s criticism and rejection of corporate social responsibility depends upon a straw man conception of CSR and their ultimate reliance on economic arguments is too normatively thin to do the important work of reconnecting businesses with society. For these reasons, prospects for a genuine reinvention of capitalism lie elsewhere.

To download the full PDF, click here: Beschorner on Porter and Kramer.


v1v16: Van der Ven on Thauer on CSR

“Bringing Values Back into CSR” by Hamish van der Ven

A COMMENT ON Christian R. Thauer (2013), “Goodness Comes from Within: Intra-Organizational Dynamics of Corporate Social Responsibility” Bus & Soc OnlineFirst (April): 1–34.

Abstract: Why do companies pursue CSR? I concur with Christian Thauer that intra-organizational dynamics are important, but find his focus on managerial dilemmas unconvincing. I counter by suggesting that a renewed focus on managerial values can help explain CSR when external conditions are held constant.

To download the full PDF for free, click here: Van der Ven on Thauer.


BEQ’s Best Article, 2012: Wettstein on Human Rights & CSR

The Editors of BEJR would like to congratulate Florian Wettstein on having won Business Ethics Quarterly’s “Best Article” award for 2012. (The award was handed out this weekend at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Business Ethics.)

Here is Jeffery Smith’s commentary on Florian’s paper, as published in BEJR: “Corporate Human Rights Obligations: Moral or Political?”

Abstract: This discussion reviews Florian Wettstein’s conclusion that multinational corporations should assume greater “positive” obligations to protect against and remedy violations of human rights. It thereafter suggests an alternative to his defense that remains open to his conclusion, but sketches a moral, rather than political, grounding of those obligations. [Full PDF here.]

And finally, here is Florian’s response to Jeffery, also published in BEJR: “Morality Meet Politics, Politics Meet Morality: Exploring the Political in Political Responsibility”

Abstract: This brief response to Smith focuses on his distinction between moral and political responsibility in general and how it relates to human rights in particular. I argue that the notion of political responsibility as it is used in the debate on political CSR often does not exclude morality but is based on it. [Full PDF here.]


v1n15: Buckley on Marcoux

“On the Essential Nature of Business” by Michael Buckley

A COMMENT ON Alexei M. Marcoux (2009), “Retrieving Business Ethics from Political Philosophy,” J Priv Ent 24(2): 21–33

Abstract: Alexei Marcoux has argued that business ethics should focus less on organizational form and more on business practice. He suggests that a definition of ‘business’ as “a(n intentionally) self-sustaining, transaction-seeking and transaction-executing practice” can help facilitate this shift by attuning researchers to the essential activity of business. I argue that this definition has troubling implications for a practice-based approach to business ethics, and that anyone advocating such an approach would be better served by treating ‘business’ as a cluster concept.

To download the full PDF, click here: Buckley on Marcoux.


v1n14: Hussain Responds to Singer on Profit Maximization

“Tools and Marriages,” by Waheed Hussain

A RESPONSE TO Abraham Singer (2013), “What is the Best Way to Argue Against the Profit-Maximization Principle?”Bus Ethics J Rev 1(12): 76-81.

Abstract: Singer thinks that my argument does not give adequate consideration to the role that markets play in Jensen’s work. The problem with this objection is that Singer considers only the perspective of those who transact with corporations, not the perspective of those who participate in them. I think that there is actually less distance between my view and Singer’s view than it may seem. In a sense, I share Singer’s “political view” of the corporation, but I conceive of the corporation as a legal institution, rather than an extension of the state or a concession provided by the state.

To download the full PDF, click here: Hussain Responds to Singer.


v1n13: Snyder Responds to Hidalgo on Paying a Living Wage

“Disregard and Dependency,” by Jeremy Snyder

A RESPONSE TO Javier Hidalgo (2013), “Do Employers Have Obligations to Pay Their Workers a Living Wage?”Bus Ethics J Rev 1(11): 69-75.

Abstract: Although Hidalgo (2013) accurately identifies mine as a moralized account of dependence, he misconstrues the role it plays in my (2008) argument. A specified duty of beneficence is not based on the dependency of one person on another, but on the idea that our relationships with others provide the opportunity to disregard specific others’ basic needs. Hidalgo (2013: 74) thus misattributes to me the view that “relationships of dependence activate special obligations.” Only by conflating my argument for a specified duty of beneficence with my use of dependency to limit and clarify the extent of these demands, does my argument appear circular.

To download the full PDF, click here: Snyder Responds to Hidalgo.


v1n12: Singer on Hussain: Profit Maximization

“What is the Best Way to Argue Against the Profit-Maximization Principle?” by Abraham Singer

A COMMENT ON Waheed Hussain (2012), “Corporations, Profit Maximization and the Personal Sphere,” Econ & Phil 28(3): 311–331.

Abstract: This brief paper engages with Hussain’s critique of what he refers to as the “efficiency argument for profit maximization.” Here I argue that Hussain’s strategy of seeing the corporation as an extension of the private sphere is not a very effective way of challenging the profit-maximization norm.

To download the full PDF, click here: Singer on Hussain.


v1n11: Hidalgo on Snyder: Paying a Living Wage

“Do Employers Have Obligations to Pay Their Workers a Living Wage?” by Javier Hidalgo

A COMMENT ON Jeremy Snyder (2008), “Needs Exploitation,” Ethic Theory & Moral Prac 11(4): 389–405.

Abstract: Jeremy Snyder argues that employers have obligations to pay their workers a living wage if workers stand in relationships of dependence with their employers. I argue that Snyder’s argument for this conclusion faces a dilemma. Snyder can adopt either a descriptive or a moralized account of dependence. If Snyder adopts a descriptive account, then it is false that dependence activates obligations to pay a living wage. If Snyder endorses a moralized account of dependence, then Snyder’s argument is circular. So, Snyder’s argument fails to establish that employers have obligations to pay their workers a living wage.

To download the full PDF, click here: Hidalgo on Snyder.


v1n10: Whelan Responds to Néron on Political CSR

“Political Corporate Social Responsibility: Some Clarifications,” by Glen Whelan

A RESPONSE TO Pierre-Yves Néron (2013), “Toward a Political Theory of the Business Firm? A Comment on ‘Political CSR’”Bus Ethics J Rev 1(3): 14-21.

Abstract: Multinational Corporations (MNCs) engage in various political activities, can have significant political impacts, and can be designed with different political concerns in mind. In arguing that there is much theorizing to do in these regards, I recently outlined a critical research agenda for what I term the political perspective of corporate social responsibility (or political CSR for short). Whilst Néron acknowledges that the agenda I set out is important and valuable, he also suggests that the label I use – i.e. political CSR – is too constraining. I here make a number of clarifications that explain why this is not the case.

To download the full PDF, click here: Whelan Responds to Néron.


v1n9: Wettstein Responds to Smith on Corporate Political Responsibility

“Morality Meet Politics, Politics Meet Morality: Exploring the Political in Political Responsibility” by Florian Wettstein

A RESPONSE TO Jeffery Smith (2013), “Corporate Human Rights Obligations: Moral or Political?”Bus Ethics J Rev 1(2): 7-13.

Abstract: This brief response to Smith focuses on his distinction between moral and political responsibility in general and how it relates to human rights in particular. I argue that the notion of political responsibility as it is used in the debate on political CSR often does not exclude morality but is based on it.

To download the full PDF, click here: Wettstein on Smith.