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Corporate Legitimacy as Deliberation: A Communicative Framework


Palazzo, Guido; Scherer, Andreas Georg (2006). Corporate Legitimacy as Deliberation: A Communicative Framework. Journal of Business Ethics:71-88.

Abstract

Modern society is challenged by a loss of efficiency in national governance systems values, and lifestyles. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) discourse builds upon a conception of organizational legitimacy that does not appropriately reflect these changes. The problems arise from the a-political role of the corporation in the concepts of cognitive and pragmatic legitimacy, which are based on compliance to national law and on relatively homogeneous and stable societal expectations on the one hand and widely accepted rhetoric assuming that all members of society benefit from capitalist production on the other. We therefore propose a fundamental shift to moral legitimacy, from an output and power oriented approach to an input related and discursive concept of legitimacy. This shift creates a new basis of legitimacy and involves organizations in processes of active justification vis-à-vis society rather than simply responding to the demands of powerful groups. We consider this a step towards the politicization of the corporation and attempt to re-embed the debate on corporate legitimacy into its broader context of political theory, while reflecting the recent turn from a liberal to a deliberative concept of democracy.

Abstract

Modern society is challenged by a loss of efficiency in national governance systems values, and lifestyles. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) discourse builds upon a conception of organizational legitimacy that does not appropriately reflect these changes. The problems arise from the a-political role of the corporation in the concepts of cognitive and pragmatic legitimacy, which are based on compliance to national law and on relatively homogeneous and stable societal expectations on the one hand and widely accepted rhetoric assuming that all members of society benefit from capitalist production on the other. We therefore propose a fundamental shift to moral legitimacy, from an output and power oriented approach to an input related and discursive concept of legitimacy. This shift creates a new basis of legitimacy and involves organizations in processes of active justification vis-à-vis society rather than simply responding to the demands of powerful groups. We consider this a step towards the politicization of the corporation and attempt to re-embed the debate on corporate legitimacy into its broader context of political theory, while reflecting the recent turn from a liberal to a deliberative concept of democracy.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Business Administration
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Business and International Management
Social Sciences & Humanities > General Business, Management and Accounting
Social Sciences & Humanities > Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
Social Sciences & Humanities > Economics and Econometrics
Social Sciences & Humanities > Law
Scope:Discipline-based scholarship (basic research)
Language:English
Date:2006
Deposited On:08 Dec 2023 09:22
Last Modified:29 Apr 2024 01:41
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0167-4544
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-006-9044-2
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:3483
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English