Business Ethics Quarterly 24 (4):533-563 (2014)
AbstractABSTRACT:The notion of “democracy” has become a much-debated concept in scholarship on business ethics, management, and organization studies. The strategy of this paper is to distinguish between a principle of organization that fosters participation and a principle of legitimation that draws on consent. Based on this distinction, we highlight conceptual shortcomings of the literature on stakeholder democracy. We demonstrate that parts of the literature tend to confound ends with means. Many approaches employ type I democracy notions of participation and often take for granted that this also improves type II democratic legitimation. We hold this to be a mistake. We provide examples of the ambiguity of organizational procedures and show that under some circumstances a decrease in the degree of participation may actually increase legitimation because a governance structure that results in higher productivity can provide higher benefits for all parties involved, serve their interests and therefore meet their agreement. Less type I democracy may mean more type II democracy. We believe this to be an important insight for judging the legitimacy of both capitalistic firms and competitive markets.
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Citations of this work
Talk Ain’T Cheap: Political CSR and the Challenges of Corporate Deliberation.Cameron Sabadoz & Abraham Singer - 2017 - Business Ethics Quarterly 27 (2):183-211.
Proto-CSR Before the Industrial Revolution: Institutional Experimentation by Medieval Miners’ Guilds.Stefan Hielscher & Bryan W. Husted - 2020 - Journal of Business Ethics 166 (2):253-269.
Ordo-Responsibility in the Sharing Economy: A Social Contracts Perspective.Stefan Hielscher, Sebastian Everding & Ingo Pies - 2022 - Business Ethics Quarterly 32 (3):404-437.
Going Far by Going Together: James M. Buchanan’s Economics of Shared Ethics.Art Carden, Gregory W. Caskey & Zachary B. Kessler - 2022 - Business Ethics Quarterly 32 (3):359-373.
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