Crossroads of Philosophy and Economics

Pocket Reference of Business Ethics Theories


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Respect for law
Attain economic viability compliant with the law
After assuring economic viability, do the right and fair thing insofar as possible
After attaining economic viability, and after doing the right thing, contribute to charitable causes insofar as possible
Key concepts
Each responsibility is taken in order. Values are decreasingly pressing as the pyramid ascends: responsibilities located higher on the pyramid are taken on only after more fundamental responsibilities have been discharged.
Hard questions

How do you know when a lower value is sufficiently satisfied to allow the move up the pyramid of concerns?


In the Chicago Tribune, William Neikirk writes about corporate philanthropy during a recession:

It's odd that business should cut back charity in time when it is needed more greatly.

In the comments section, there’s a response that fits well into the CSR perspective:

Too many companies are so strapped for cash that charitable gifts don't square well with business judgment. Many would agree that corporate charity is more detrimental to a corporation than beneficial to the public when that corporation is laying off workers and closing plants. It is, therefore, not a matter of being cheap and selfish that corporations are cutting back on charity (at least, not always). It is a matter of corporate governance.

Prime philosophical
theory compatibilities
Duty theory, Utilitarianism
© Ethics Workshop