In corporations we trust? A critique of contractarian- based corporate social responsibility models
AbstractThis paper presents a philosophical critique of contractarian-based corporate social responsibility mod- els. Specifically, attention is given to Freemanâ€™s (and Philipsâ€™s) justification for voluntary agreements between corporations and their stakeholders. The critique is conducted at the hand of the claim that the social contract is a helpful tool for circumscribing the obligations of contracting parties, and that these derived obligations form a trust relation between the contracting parties. By analysing the logic of these relations, an argument is developed for why the structural conditions necessary to inspire trust in contracts are not met in the case of certain corporate-stakeholder relations.Â
Baier, A. 1985. â€˜What do women want in moral theoryâ€™, Nous, 19, 3-56. Baier, A. 1986. â€˜Trust and antitrustâ€™, Ethics, 96, 231-260.
Bremer, J.A. 2008. â€˜How global is the Global Compact?â€™, Business Ethics: A European Review, 17(3), 227-244.
Cudd, A. â€˜Contractarianismâ€™, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Fall 2008 Edition. Available online at: <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ contractarianism/>
Donaldson, T. 1982. Corporations and morality. Engelwood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Donaldson, T. 1993. â€˜Constructing a social contract for businessâ€™, in T.I. White, (Ed.) Business ethics: a philosophical reader. New York: MacMillan Publishing Company, 167-187.
Donaldson, T. and Dunfee, T.W. 1999. Ties that bind: a social contract approach to business ethics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Donaldson, T., and Preston, L.E. 1995. â€˜The stakeholder theory of the corporation: concepts, evidence, and implicationsâ€™, Academy of Management Review, 20(1), 65-91.
Freeman, R.E. 1984. Strategic management: a stakeholder approach. Boston: Pitman.
Freeman, R.E. 1994. â€˜The politics of stakeholder theory: Some future directionsâ€™, Business Ethics Quarterly, 4, 409-421.
Freeman. R.E and Philips, R.A. 2002. â€˜Stakeholder theory: A libertarian defenseâ€™, Business Ethics Quarterly, 12, 331-349.
Freeman, R.E. 2008. â€˜Ending the so-called â€œFriedman-Freemanâ€ debateâ€™ in Agle, B.R., Donaldson, T., Freeman, R.E., Jensen, M.C., Mitchell, R.K. and Wood, D.J. â€˜Dialogue towards superior stakeholder theoryâ€™, Business Ethics Quarterly, 18, 159-190.
Friedman, M. 1962. Capitalism and freedom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Goodpaster, K.E. 1991. â€˜Business ethics and stakeholder analysisâ€™, Business Ethics Quarterly, 1, 53-73.
Institute of Directors, 2010. â€˜The King Report on governance for South Africa (King III)â€™, Institute of Directors, 1 March 2010.
Jones, C., Parker, M., and Ten Bos, R. 2005. For business ethics. Oxon: Routledge.
Koehn, D. 2001. â€˜Should we trust in trust?â€™, American Business Law Journal, 34, 183-203.
Marcoux, A. (2008) â€˜Business Ethicsâ€™, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Fall 2008 Edition. Available online at: <http://plato.stanford. edu/entries/ethics-business/>
Mitchell, R.K., Agle, B.R. and Wood, D.J. 1997. â€˜Towards a theory of stakeholder identification and salience: Defending the principle of who and what really countsâ€™, Academy of Management Review, 22(4), 853-886.
Narveson, J. 1988. The libertarian idea. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Narveson, J. 2003. â€˜The contractarian theory of moralsâ€™, Aufklaerung und Kritik, Sonderheft 7/2003, 100-122.
Painter-Morland, M. 2006. â€˜Redefining accountability as relational responsivenessâ€™, Journal of Business Ethics, 66, 89-98.
Pfeffer, J. 1981. Power in organizations. Marshfield, MA: Pitman.
Rawls, J. 1993. Political liberalism. New York: Columbia University Press. Rawls, J. 1999. A theory of justice, rev. ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Salancik, G.R. and Pfeffer, J. 1974. â€˜The base and use of power in organizational decision-making: The case of universitiesâ€™, Administrative Science Quarterly, 19, 453-473.
Shaw, W.H. 2011. Business ethics 7th ed. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth. Weber, M. 1947. The theory of social and economic organization. New York: Free Press.
This journal is an open access journal, and the authors and journal should be properly acknowledged, when works are cited.
Authors may use the publisher's version for teaching purposes, in books, theses, dissertations, conferences and conference papers.
A copy of the authors’ publisher's version may also be hosted on the following websites:
- Non-commercial personal homepage or blog.
- Institutional webpage.
- Authors Institutional Repository.
The following notice should accompany such a posting on the website: “This is an electronic version of an article published in the African Journal of Business Ethics, Volume XXX, number XXX, pages XXX–XXX”, DOI. Authors should also supply a hyperlink to the original paper or indicate where the original paper (http://ajobe.journals.ac.za/pub) may be found.
The following Creative Commons license applies:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.