Stakeholder corporate social responsibility in the light of an African moral theory

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

Assuming that Utilitarian, Kantian and African Ethical Theories are prima facie appropriate for analysing ethics in stakeholder Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which Ethical Theory should one favour? In this thesis, when it comes to analysing ethics in stakeholder CSR, I note that Utilitarian and Kantian Ethical Theories have been dominant in literature. I however contend that their dominance has been at the expense of a less known and unfamiliar African Ethical Theory, which I defend in the thesis. To give credence to African Ethical Theory in the thesis, I have considered both Utilitarian and Kantian Ethical Theories, and applied them to concrete stakeholder CSR issues. I did so to consider their implications for stakeholder CSR with the view to establish how they compared to, and contrasted with African Ethical Theory in evaluating ethics in CSR. As this thesis is a work of normative philosophy, my methodological approach has been a normative one, which remained a philosophical enterprise at an abstract level that is primarily explorative, analytical and comparative. I have found that my analysis of African CSR is attractive in that it does add something to the stakeholder CSR discourse. In a profound contrast to other alternatives, it accommodates the relational and partial morality in grounding stakeholder CSR. Here, Utilitarian CSR does not consider intentions or relations, and Kantian CSR includes requirements for rationality, autonomy and impartiality, but does not adequately consider relations. However, I do not claim that African CSR does cover all moral factors that affect the rightness and wrongness of organisational stakeholder CSR actions. Preferably, its appeal in explaining and justifying the most attractive normative content of stakeholder CSR is that it is at least a supplement to the best versions of Utilitarian and Kantian CSR, although it might have a shot at replacing them. In addition, its African friendliness criterion might be able to stand on its own to provide a plausible justification of the best version of stakeholder CSR that can rival Utilitarian and Kantian versions of CSR. In my view, the significance of these findings in regard to the practice of stakeholder CSR is that African CSR generates a very different notion of an ideal stakeholder CSR to that of Utilitarian and Kantian alternatives. I submit that its specific understanding of an ideal stakeholder CSR is not merely different, but also worth taking seriously alongside and perhaps even instead of, Utilitarian and Kantian approaches when considering the normative basis of stakeholder CSR. Hence, the central claim of this thesis is that the African approach at least should supplement them, but taking seriously its possibility of replacing them. Although I do not believe I have convincingly shown it in the thesis, I do provide some reason to believe it should be taken seriously as an alternative to them.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Campbell, Tom, Principal Supervisor
  • Metz, Thaddeus , Co-Supervisor, External person
Award date06 Mar 2020
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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