Two Forms of Responsibility – Organizational and Societal

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My aim in this article is twofold. First, I will illuminate the triangular conceptual connections between responsibility, authority, and power as they are exposed in the organizational realm; second, I will show how the three concepts are distinct. Relying on the work of Peter Strawson and his followers on responsibility for my point of departure, I will show that the connection between the inner corporational authority and its inner matching responsibility is different from the connection between the outer corporational forces and influences and the CSR that they develop in reaction to these. This will expose another important distinction between two kinds of responsibility: the organizational kind, as instantiated in organizations, and the social kind, which constitutes the outer aspect of the CSR. Though many thinkers address different kinds of responsibility, a comparative perspective of these different concepts is missing. I attempt to bring three of these separate discourses together to examine them alongside one another, evaluating them in the light of their differences and similarities. This will expose a new typology of ‘responsibility’ that penetrates and illuminates the relations between corporations and society and as such enhance our understanding of organizational responsibility.
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Archival date: 2017-07-20
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