Business ethics, corporate social responsibility and corporate governance: a review and summary critique

John Donaldson, Irene Fafaliou
European Research Studies Journal, Volume VI, Issue 1-2, 97-118, 2003
DOI: 10.35808/ersj/91


In the business-and-society literature and in the general press on whether business fulfils its social role responsibly. Business ethics, corporate social responsibility and corporate governance movements have been developed in recent decades as responses to a growing sense of corporate wrongdoing. This paper attempts to explain why the three movements seem yet to have generated little in the form of widely accepted prescriptions for improvement of business behaviour to the satisfaction of the “constituents” of business, i.e. the major stakeholders. Without denying the usefulness of any of the three movements, the paper suggests that there are weaknesses in all three, especially concerning the way they conceive modern business operation. To this end business pluralism, responsive codes of practice and re-examination of the assumptions (conditions) of business operation could be helpful.

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