Global Rules and Private Actors: Some Remarks on the Role of Corporate Ethics in the Process of Globalization
BUSINESS ETHICS OF INNOVATION, Gerd Hanekamp, ed., pp. 7-26, Berlin/Heidelberg/New York: Springer, 2007
25 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2008
Date Written: 2007
It is the political context of global governance and the involvement of multinational corporations in processes of creating new political and social institutions which form the actual background of my paper. What I would like to elaborate on is the role which corporate ethics could and indeed should play in this context. This is a highly controversial topic in the discipline of management theory because what is at stake here is nothing less than the rationale, the "raison d'etre", of the private corporation in capitalist market economies of the future. But the topic is also highly controversial in and between other academic disciplines, like economics, politics, and here especially the "Theory of International Relations", moreover: sociology, philosophy, political philosophy, international law, and so forth.
In view of this state of affairs and in line with central philosophical ideas of the German philosophical school of "Methodological Constructivism" I regard it to be an important task of management theory to take on, where necessary, an interactive role as a kind of mediator and translator between problems of business practice and other academic disciplines able to contribute to the solution of the problem at hand; and this with the objective to come, first of all, to a common understanding of the empirical situation within which to act and, secondly, working on adequate normative orientations for change. In order to fulfill this role management theory has to grasp and to conceptualize, on the level of language, the respective problems of business practice; and this in such a way that the basic notions required for tackling these problems can be picked up by other disciplines for further (interdisciplinary) research.
Keywords: Corporate ethics, globalization, management theory
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