Drawing upon research from a variety of disciplines, this volume offers a systematic discussion of the issues and assumptions of the corporate responsibility debate. James J. Brummer provides an extensive review of the relevant literature and develops a methodology for treating specific problems of corporate responsibility, illustrating its use in actual practice. The book also proposes a theory of corporate responsibility and legitimacy that builds upon the concept of accountability and explores the relevance of applying methods of study traditionally associated with the humanities to contemporary problems of corporate ethics. The author begins by addressing general concepts and principles including types of corporate responsibility, relations of accountability, models of the corporation, and theories of institutional legitimacy. Part Two outlines the four theories of corporate responsibility--the classical, stakeholder, social demandingness, and social activist theories--and examines their major premises and supporting evidence. Two chapters treat the specific issue of plant closing or relocation in relation to each of the four theories of corporate responsibility. Finally, the author discusses collective and subordinate responsibility, paying particular attention to the concept of whistleblowing. The concluding chapter summarizes the corporate responsibility debate and analyzes various models of accountability. An ideal supplemental text for courses in business ethics and public administration, this volume is also an invaluable resource for executives confronted with issues of corporate responsibility in their own operations.
JAMES J. BRUMMER is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. His articles have appeared in Business and Professional Ethics Journal and Journal of Business Ethics.