Part 2: Global business means global responsibilities

Eleanor R.E. O’Higgins (Eleanor R.E. O’Higgins is on the Faculty of the Smurfit Graduate Business School at University College Dublin, where her teaching, research and publications specialize in the areas of strategic management and business ethics. She is a member of the UN’s Global Compact Learning Forum, and of the Board of Management of The Institute of Directors Centre for Corporate Governance at University College Dublin. She is Chairman of the International Theme Committee of the US Academy of Management. Tel: +353 1 7168968. Fax: +353 1 7168954. E‐mail:

Corporate Governance

ISSN: 1472-0701

Publication date: 1 September 2003


Much of the debate on the alleged evils and merits of globalization has been based on after‐the‐fact argument. Depending on the protagonist’s viewpoint, the delights or, more often, the miseries of civil society, especially in developing countries, have been attributed to globalization, This paper takes a different approach to examine the effects of globalization. It starts by examining globalization as a corporate strategy. What is it? What is driving it? What practices characterize a globalization strategy? What advantages does it bring to the corporation? The implications of globalization practices are then examined to discover whether they necessarily cause good or harm to civil society, with particular emphasis on developing countries. It concludes that globalization can lead to benefits or harms, depending on the interrelationship of how it is practiced and the contexts of host countries. Globalization, like all strategies, is essentially amoral, concentrating on economic objectives. However, moral objectives and corporate social responsibility can become an inherent part of a globalization strategy if these social goods also satisfy corporate economic aims. Such a state of affairs should be encouraged, since it would tip the balance in favor of beneficial effects of globalization strategies.



Eleanor R.E. O’Higgins (2003) "Part 2: Global business means global responsibilities ", Corporate Governance, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 52-66

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Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited

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