This paper applies models from the literature of business to the aftermath of the e‐coli outbreak at Wishaw, Lanarkshire, in November 1996. Interpretations of social responsibility derived from Milton Friedman, social marketing, and stakeholder theory are used. It is suggested that Friedman’s approach is too narrow and limiting to allow all lessons to be drawn. While social marketing adds wider principles, it tends to focus primarily on the exchange dyad. Descriptive stakeholder theory allows the full range of implications to be appreciated, but the fullest treatment and best prescription for conceptualising such a disaster occurs through a normative stakeholder model with explicit ethical foundations.
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