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Private Security Companies and Institutional Legitimacy: Corporate and Stakeholder Responsibility

Business Ethics Quarterly, Vol. 19, No. 3, pp. 403-32, 2009

Posted: 17 Jul 2009  

Heather Elms

American University - Kogod School of Business

Robert A. Phillips

University of Richmond - Robins School of Business

Date Written: July 14, 2009

Abstract

The private provision of security services has attracted a great deal of recent attention, both professional and popular. Much of that attention suggests the questioned moral legitimacy of the private vs. public provision of security. Linking the literature on moral legitimacy and responsibility from new institutional and stakeholder theories, we examine the relationship between moral legitimacy and responsible behavior by both private security companies (PSCs) and their stakeholders. We ask what the moral-legitimacy-enhancing responsibilities of both might be, and contribute to both literatures and their managerial implications by detailing the content of those responsibilities, emphasizing the reciprocal nature of moral obligations. We suggest that the moral legitimacy of the industry depends upon responsible behavior by both PSCs and their stakeholders.

Keywords: stakeholders, institutional theory, private security

Suggested Citation

Elms, Heather and Phillips, Robert A., Private Security Companies and Institutional Legitimacy: Corporate and Stakeholder Responsibility (July 14, 2009). Business Ethics Quarterly, Vol. 19, No. 3, pp. 403-32, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1434245

Heather Elms (Contact Author)

American University - Kogod School of Business ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20816-8044
United States

Robert A. Phillips

University of Richmond - Robins School of Business ( email )

Richmond, VA 23173
United States
804-289-8623 (Phone)

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