Old Wine in New Bottles? Parentalism, Power, and Its Legitimacy in Business–Society Relations

Journal of Business Ethics 160 (4):893-911 (2018)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This article proposes a theoretical re-conceptualization of power dynamics and their legitimation in contemporary business–society relations using the prism and metaphor of parentalism. The paper develops a typology of forms of parentalism along two structuring dimensions: care and control. Specifically, four ideal-types of parentalism are introduced with their associated practices and power-legitimation mechanisms. As we consider current private governance and authority through this analytical framework, we are able to provide a new perspective on the nature of the moral legitimation of power dynamics in contemporary business–society relations. And we weave the threads between this conceptual frame and historical antecedents, suggesting that business ethicists need to revive old debates on paternalism in light of the current pervasive trend of modernized and subtler forms of parentalism. Implications for business ethics and political CSR are discussed.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,102

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Adam Smith’s Contribution to Business Ethics, Then and Now.Michael Gonin - 2015 - Journal of Business Ethics 129 (1):221-236.
Power in the Structure of Power Relations.Ivan Buraj - 2010 - Filozofia 65 (5):417-427.
In Search of Instruments. Business and Ethics Halfway.Henk J. L. van Luijk - 2000 - Journal of Business Ethics 27 (1/2):3 - 8.
Facetten der Macht.Peter Koller - 1991 - Analyse & Kritik 13 (2):107-133.
Rethinking business ethics: a pragmatic approach.Sandra B. Rosenthal - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Rogene A. Buchholz.


Added to PP

23 (#603,412)

6 months
4 (#404,301)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

References found in this work

Economy and Society.Max Weber - 2013 - Harvard University Press.
The Theory and Practice of Autonomy.Gerald Dworkin - 1988 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Paternalism.Gerald Dworkin - 1972 - The Monist 56 (1):64-84.

View all 51 references / Add more references