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Article
Publication date: 5 October 2015

Charles KN Lam and S.H. Goo

The purpose of this paper is to discuss two important aspects of enforcement of ethical standards: indirect enforcement, that is the Confucian approach, and common law…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss two important aspects of enforcement of ethical standards: indirect enforcement, that is the Confucian approach, and common law enforcement. In the context of Confucianism, one must adopt the ethical teachings in a moderate or “middle” way. We should not be too attached to the liberal interpretation of the Confucian texts but must have the wisdom to apply the concepts case-by-case. The issue then is if there are no legal consequences or punishment, then how we can ensure that someone will continue to comply with the standards.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors analyze the Confucian texts in relation to the enforcement of the ethical standards. The authors investigate the Entity Maximization and Sustainability Model by referring to the exit option, the voice option, the influence exerted on the board of directors, the sending of the Confucian representatives to sit on the board of directors, the oppression remedy and statutory derivative actions. The authors adopt a comparative study approach and argue that the Confucian enforcement of ethics can fill in the gap where common law rules of procedure cannot reach in the context of Chinese corporate governance system.

Findings

By referring to the Confucian teaching, there are several ways to encourage the superior to follow the ethical standards, namely, education, fear of punishment by society, peer pressure, intrinsic value, continuing education and codification of Confucian value/moral standards. In addition, there are several enforcement options based on the Entity Maximization and Sustainability Model, which is highly relevant to the enforcement model of Confucianism.

Originality/value

It is the first of its kind in strengthening the enforcement of Chinese business ethics by adopting the Confucian approach and common law approach. The two are not mutually exclusive but complementary with each other to bring the enforcement of Chinese business ethics to the next level.

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Article
Publication date: 20 March 2017

Lisa Powell and Carol Tilt

For more than three decades, researchers have been searching for evidence of corporate economic, social and environmental sustainability, the holy grail of corporate…

Abstract

Purpose

For more than three decades, researchers have been searching for evidence of corporate economic, social and environmental sustainability, the holy grail of corporate success in a socially and environmentally conscious world of the future. The vast majority of entities that researchers have investigated have focussed on the primary goal of profit maximisation, with only vaguely articulated (if any) social and environmental targets. Very little research has been undertaken to expose the inner workings of organisations that are striving primarily to improve environmental outcomes within a commercial setting. The purpose of this paper is to expose the inside details of an organisation that tried but failed, and highlights the role of power and politics in its demise.

Design/methodology/approach

The “processual” or “contextualist” (Burns, 2000, p. 568) methodology adopted in this investigation has facilitated the interpretation and understanding of complex inter-relationships existing amongst key management personnel. The method steps undertaken included observation and documentation of organisational strategic and operational decision-making practices over a period of 22 months and the examination and analysis of over 800 documents prepared either by or about the organisation.

Findings

Examining the inter-relationships of power and politics amongst key players during a period of significant change revealed an intense struggle for corporate survival between two management groups: the original “environmentalist” managers who prepared the entity for listing on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX); and, the introduced “economic rationalist” managers who guided it through the post listing phase. A failure to effectively transition the power held over resources, decision-making and meanings from the old to the new managers proved to significantly challenge the organisation and possibly contributed to its ultimate demise. Some important lessons were highlighted, particularly the need to develop and establish shared understandings. It is suggested that for a business to move closer to being sustainable, rather than allowing one of the existing paradigms to dominate, a new business model needs to emerge.

Originality/value

The practical implementation of conservation activities on a large commercial scale is a controversial notion. The investigation of this unique case through a period of significant change represents an important experiment in the quest for sustainability and reveals valuable lessons that may guide other organisations that follow in its wake.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 30 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Book part
Publication date: 24 March 2021

Jason Spicer and Christa R. Lee-Chuvala

Alternative enterprises – organizations that operate as a business while still also being driven by a social purpose – are sometimes owned by workers or other…

Abstract

Alternative enterprises – organizations that operate as a business while still also being driven by a social purpose – are sometimes owned by workers or other stakeholders, rather than shareholders. What role does ownership play in enabling alternative enterprises to prioritize substantively rational organizational values, like environmental sustainability and social equity, over instrumentally rational ones, like profit maximization? We situate this question at the intersection of research on: (1) stakeholder governance and mission drift in both hybrid and collectivist-democratic organizations; and (2) varieties of ownership of enterprise. Though these literatures suggest that ownership affects the ability of alternative enterprises to maintain their social missions, the precise nature of this relationship remains under-theorized. Using the case of a global, social, and environmental values-based banking network, we suggest that alternative ownership is likely a necessary, but not sufficient, condition to combat mission drift in enterprises that have a legal owner. A supermajority of this network’s banks deploy alternative ownership structures; those operating with these structures are disproportionately associated with social movements, which imprint their values onto the banks. We show how alternative ownership acts through specific mechanisms to sustain enterprises’ missions, and we also trace how many of these mechanisms are endogenous to alternative ownership models. Finally, we find that ownership models vary in how well they enable the expression and maintenance of these social values. A ladder of mission-sustaining ownership models exists, whereby the dominance of substantive, non-instrumental values over operations and investment becomes increasingly robust as one moves up the rungs from mission-driven investor ownership to special shareholder and member-ownership models.

Details

Organizational Imaginaries: Tempering Capitalism and Tending to Communities through Cooperatives and Collectivist Democracy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-989-7

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 2 November 2018

Nihel Chabrak

Considering the growing importance of finance in shaping corporate and human activities, the purpose of this paper is to focus on the United Nations Environment Programme…

Abstract

Purpose

Considering the growing importance of finance in shaping corporate and human activities, the purpose of this paper is to focus on the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System that aims to align the financial system with sustainable development, with a focus on environmental aspects. Following the inquiry call for better disclosure approaches of material information on the “sustainability impacts” of the financial system as one of the areas of improvement to move toward a sustainable financial system, the author argues for a reform of the accounting model to better reflect the compliance of businesses with “quality of growth” imperatives.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper rests on the entity theory of Littleton (1934).

Findings

The new accounting model requires creating a new equity capital account for the entity that is separate from the shareholders equity account. Valuation as well as other related issues on the functioning of this account is briefly explored in the paper. The reform also requires entrusting the responsibility of answering questions related to valuation, capital maintenance and income distribution to the board of directors that should be composed of representatives of the different capitals which have accrued, temporarily or indefinitely, to the business firm.

Research limitations/implications

This paper calls researchers to explore the theoretical avenues proposed in the paper to develop the model in practice.

Practical implications

The implementation of this reform requires a regulatory reform and the redesign of the economic coordination mechanisms which could be challenging in practice.

Social implications

The accounting model proposed in the paper contributes to a new quality of growth, which is a growth based on well-being and inclusiveness.

Originality/value

The paper draws on the UNEP framework, which has not been investigated in other research studies.

Details

Journal of Capital Markets Studies, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-4774

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Article
Publication date: 5 March 2018

Nooraslinda Abdul Aris, Marziana Madah Marzuki, Rohana Othman, Safawi Abdul Rahman and Norashikin Hj Ismail

This study aims to design a set of sustainability indicators that is pertinent to cooperatives longevity. The primary goal of the cooperatives is towards meeting the…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to design a set of sustainability indicators that is pertinent to cooperatives longevity. The primary goal of the cooperatives is towards meeting the economic progress of members while satisfying their socio-cultural interests and protecting the environment. As a sustainable and participatory form of business, cooperatives offer an alternative business model to social enterprises.

Design/methodology/approach

Using an extraction process analysis, this study examined and analyzed guidelines, indices, and framework on sustainability used by the public companies. The selected materials were analyzed using Atlas.ti software, whereby common indicators were divided into themes. The indicators were further scrutinized to suit the cooperatives identity and local regulations.

Findings

The results are presented as indicators for cooperatives sustainability that could serve as strategies and performance measurement. Promotion and expansion of cooperatives could be an important instrument for more than one billion people around the world involved in cooperatives either as members/customers, employees/participants, or both.

Originality/value

This work extends and complements the on-going efforts in uplifting the cooperatives sector as the third engine of economic growth in Malaysia. It contributes towards enriching the knowledge of the relationship between sustainable development and sustainability and its influence towards the cooperative sector. It may also provide the building blocks for future studies that could explore the usefulness of these indicators to other business setting having a similar objective like the cooperatives.

Details

Social Responsibility Journal, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-1117

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Article
Publication date: 9 November 2020

Upasana Dhanda and Vijay Kumar Shrotryia

Today, corporate sustainability is at a tipping point. With average lifespan of organizations shrinking, striving for corporate longevity and sustainability has become…

Abstract

Purpose

Today, corporate sustainability is at a tipping point. With average lifespan of organizations shrinking, striving for corporate longevity and sustainability has become indispensable in this fast-paced world. Despite the growing interest in this domain, companies are struggling to define sustainability in a way that is relevant to their business. This article attempts to synthesize the extant literature and provide a conceptual perspective on corporate sustainability and sustainable business models.

Design/methodology/approach

Thematic literature review was done to gain an understanding of the extant literature and the ongoing debates on organizational sustainability. As the literature in context of corporate sustainability was found to be in a fluid state, a thematic review was found suitable to systematize and disclose valuable insights that open avenues for addressing sustainability concerns.

Findings

The paper attempts to throw light on the journey of organizations towards sustainability and how the context of sustainability has changed for the organizations over time. The paper discusses how companies embarked on their sustainability revolution by shifting their focus from mere compliance and philanthropy to attaining a sustainability edge and also explicates the transformation from traditional business models to sustainable business models. Finally, the research gaps are identified to pave the way for future research in the domain of corporate sustainability.

Originality/value

The extant literature on corporate sustainability is in a shambolic state. This creates a need to investigate what has been done and how the context of corporate sustainability is being shaped. This paper contributes to the emerging literature on sustainability by providing a conceptual perspective and highlighting the research gaps which pave the way for future research on sustainability paradigm.

Details

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5648

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Article
Publication date: 12 October 2015

Nihel Chabrak

The purpose of the paper is to propose a model of integrity to help assess corporate responsiveness to this new wave of pressure in the backdrop of the prevailing…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to propose a model of integrity to help assess corporate responsiveness to this new wave of pressure in the backdrop of the prevailing Shareholder Value Maximization doctrine. In a context of ecological crisis, sustainability is considered in an intergenerational perspective on well-being. Nations are required to maintain the productive base, composed of manufactured, natural and human capitals, to continue producing future generations’ well-being. Such macroeconomic challenges require businesses to contribute to human and natural capitals’ conservation.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper applies the integrity model to the historical case of the New Lanark mills from Owen’s (1991/1813-1816) new view of society. Owen’s deeds are compared to his promises in light of community expectations in that time to assess Owen’s commitment to social responsibility through “his honoring his word”.

Findings

The findings show the importance of the concept of “workability” for a business to create an opportunity set for “performance”. Such workability is determined by the business being a person of integrity.

Research limitations/implications

Future researches are invited to use this model to build empirical evidence of corporate irresponsibility in dealing with the new challenges.

Practical implications

This paper’s contribution resides in the capacity to uncover any attempt by businesses to subsume their corporate social responsibility and sustainability commitment to the doxic shareholder value maximization (SVM) ideology.

Social implications

The findings recall the importance for corporate activities to be re-embedded in their social and ecological contexts. This requires an overhaul of the business logic.

Originality/value

The originality of the model of integrity resides in its simplicity and practicality.

Details

Society and Business Review, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5680

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 4 January 2016

Steven H. Appelbaum, Regina Calcagno, Sean Michael Magarelli and Milad Saliba

In the present kaleidoscopic business landscape the concepts of corporate sustainability are increasingly affecting corporations’ relationships with society and shaping…

Abstract

Purpose

In the present kaleidoscopic business landscape the concepts of corporate sustainability are increasingly affecting corporations’ relationships with society and shaping how business leaders interpret changes to their organizations. The path to sustainability is best viewed as an organizational change initiative for which the “how” and “why” must be considered. Broadly, change initiatives have a notably poor success rate, which is likely related to discord between an initiative and the people undertaking it. Corporate sustainability is a transformational change that impacts business culture and a firm’s relationship with its community. The purpose of this paper is to examine the corporate-societal relationship to better understand implications of undertaking sustainability change initiatives in today’s global environment in this three-part paper in terms of value creation, for whom, and how sustainability is becoming an increasingly significant portion of this equation. First, a basis for corporate sustainability and the concepts surrounding who the stakeholders need to be examined, after which the reasons for attempting sustainability, in terms of value creation, and considerations for the implementation (culture, identity, attachment) of said change initiative will be explored.

Design/methodology/approach

Empirical and practitioner research papers were reviewed to: illustrate the meaning and approaches to corporate sustainability; and analyze how organizational change initiatives can best be used to facilitate organizational transformation.

Findings

There is no consensus on the meaning of corporate sustainability, rather there continues to be an evolution of ideas and theories shaping the evolution of corporate sustainability. To implement any form of corporate sustainability requires that managers understand their objective and the cultural and psychological barriers of organizational change. Better engagement with those undertaking organizational change and clear articulation of the change’s purpose can better lend themselves to an initiative’s success. However, there is no panacea and managers must recognize that approaches may need to be altered.

Research limitations/implications

Research tends to occupy one of two spheres, either corporate sustainability or change initiatives. More linkage between these two concepts and empirical research of the effectiveness of organizational change practices for corporate sustainability is needed.

Practical implications

A better understanding of organizational change theories, practices, and procedures may benefit managers and organizations that endeavor to realize corporate sustainability.

Social implications

Given the implications of recent corporate collapses and their perceived malice, there is now greater thought about the role these organizations have in society. Concepts regarding shared value and mutual benefit to society and corporations can be expected to remain at the forefront of the public decorum.

Originality/value

This paper sought to draw stronger ties between corporate sustainability and organizational change, highlighting that the two are codependent.

Details

Industrial and Commercial Training, vol. 48 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0019-7858

Keywords

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Abstract

Details

Integrated Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-561-0

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Book part
Publication date: 22 August 2017

Amir Rahdari

Corporate governance has experienced numerous changes in chime with the exigencies of the time during which it has been introduced or the context in which it has been…

Abstract

Corporate governance has experienced numerous changes in chime with the exigencies of the time during which it has been introduced or the context in which it has been practiced. Its gestation can be divided into three stages of development namely the traditional governance, the current transitional governance, and the upcoming sustainable governance. Traditional governance refers to the period hitherto the industrial revolution when corporations have not yet been formed, in today’s sense, but the governance structures were already in place in the existing entities at the time. Transitional governance refers to a period between the industrial revolution and the information age when corporations started to rise as a new economic entity. Reviewing the dominant corporate governance models are integral to understanding the transitional era. At the end of the transitional governance era, a transmogrification in corporate governance is underway to prepare itself for the coming age of sustainability. Sustainable governance integrates the principles of systems thinking and appreciates the complexity of decision-making environment, contrary to its former iterations that welcomed oversimplification of interactive messes (systems of problems). The objective of this chapter is to review corporate governance developmental transition toward sustainable governance and its role in the age of sustainability.

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