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21.08.2019 | Review Paper | Ausgabe 3/2021

Journal of Business Ethics 3/2021

Paths of Corporate Irresponsibility: A Dynamic Process

Zeitschrift:
Journal of Business Ethics > Ausgabe 3/2021
Autor:
Jill A. Küberling-Jost
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Abstract

In this qualitative meta-analysis, I analyze corporate irresponsibility as an emergent organizational process. Organizations enacting irresponsible practices rely not only on a particular form of a process path, but on how this process path evolves within the organization. To achieve a better understanding of this process path, I conducted a qualitative meta-analysis drawn from 20 published cases of irresponsible organizations. I explore how and under which conditions irresponsible behavior of organizations arises, develops, and changes over time. The process path of corporate irresponsibility relies on the interaction of multiple levels of analysis and its temporal occurrence, resulting in either path dependency or path creation. Based on the empirical findings of the evolving phenomena, this study focuses on three phases of corporate irresponsibility: institutionalization, problematization, and adaptation. The process of corporate irresponsibility can take two distinct paths, the reactive (organizations becoming locked-in in the path of corporate irresponsibility), and the proactive (organizations radically changing and breaking their path of corporate irresponsibility). This study contributes to the corporate irresponsibility literature by offering new insights into, first, a processual and more interactional approach to corporate irresponsibility that accounts for interdependencies on the different levels of each phase, and second, the self-reinforcing mechanisms and explanatory patterns of corporate irresponsibility leading to path dependency or path creation.

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