Our research tidbits this week considers the moral motivations in ethical governance.

Corporate remediation of human rights violations
In the absence of effective judicial remediation mechanisms after business-related human rights violations, companies themselves are expected to establish remediation procedures for affected victims and communities. This is a challenge for both companies and victims since comprehensive company-based grievance mechanisms (CGM) are currently missing.

In this paper, the authors explore how companies can provide effective remediation after human rights violations. Accordingly, the authors critically assess two different approaches to conflict resolution, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and restorative justice (RJ), for their potential to provide dialogue-based, non-judicial remediation. The authors argue that remedy through agreement-driven ADR mechanisms risks marginalising the interests and concerns of victims and affected community members, particularly in weak institutional contexts.

Hence, the authors develop a dialogue-driven framework for corporate remediation of human rights violations grounded on RJ principles. This restorative framework provides a comprehensive CGM that focuses on the harms and needs of victims and aims at restoring justice through restorative dialogue. Based on a prompt discovery and a thorough investigation of the grievance, companies should design and prepare the remediation process together with victims, offenders and affected community members. Through restorative dialogue with the affected parties about the circumstances and impacts of the wrongdoing, companies can repair the harm, regain legitimacy amongst stakeholders as well as transform their business practices to avoid future human rights violations.

Maximilian J. L. Schormair & Lara M. Gerlach. 2020. Corporate Remediation of Human Rights Violations: A Restorative Justice Framework.

Journal of Business Ethics, 167(3), 475–493.

Ethical governance from the Islamic perspective
Charity governance is undergoing a crisis of confidence. In this paper, the authors suggest an alternative approach to how governance could be perceived and conceptualised by considering the ethical notions of governance embedded in religious enquiry, with a specific focus on the Islamic perspective of governance.

The authors firstly develop an ethical framework for charity governance, utilising insight from the Islamic perspective. Secondly, the authors undertake an empirical study to assess the experience of governance within Islamic charity organisations.

The theoretical framework provides a comprehensive approach to viewing organisational governance with an emphasis on governance as a mechanism for working towards social justice and the public good. However, the empirical findings reveal an ‘ethical gap’ between the ideals of the Islamic Ethical Framework and the reality of governance practice within Muslim charity organisations. The authors consider the implications of these findings and outline avenues for future research.

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Chaudhry Ghafran & Sofia Yasmin. 2020. Ethical Governance: Insight from the Islamic Perspective and an Empirical Enquiry.

Journal of Business Ethics, 167(3), 513–533.

Enhancing customer civility in the hospitality sector
Customer civility is an established construct in the study of ethical consumption. However, scholars have paid insufficient attention to customer civility in relation to the flourishing peer-to-peer (P2P) economy. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to develop and test a theoretical framework which examines the antecedents of the customer civility in the P2P economy.

The authors use social exchange theory to develop a model that posits customer interaction experiences with property owners, properties, and P2P platforms (e.g., Airbnb) as antecedents of customer civility in the P2P economy. Two studies were used to test the framework: Study 1 comprises a survey of Chinese customers (n = 476); Study 2 involves secondary data crawled from the Web site of Xiaozhu, one of China’s largest P2P accommodation platforms.

OLS regression analysis was used for hypothesis testing. Results demonstrate three antecedents of customer civility in the P2P accommodation sector: interpersonal trust, property experience, and platform governance. In addition, the positive effect of interpersonal trust on customer civility is stronger when customers have high economic incentive, while the effect of property experience is significantly stronger when customers have low economic incentive.

Shuang Ma, Huimin Gu, Daniel P. Hampson & Yonggui Wang. 2020. Enhancing Customer Civility in the Peer-to-Peer Economy: Empirical Evidence from the Hospitality Sector.

Journal of Business Ethics, 167(1), 77–95.

Stakeholder relationships and firm innovation
Despite the growing importance of stakeholder management, few studies have empirically examined the influence of stakeholder relationship capability (SRC) on firm innovation, especially in emerging economies. This study investigates how SRC relates to firm innovation in the presence of governmental intervention and in combination with firm-level characteristics.

Using a survey and multiple secondary datasets on the listed Chinese firms, the findings indicate that SRC is positively associated with firm innovation. Moreover, advanced legal development and high-tech status strengthen the positive link between SRC and innovation, whereas state ownership and firm age weaken this relationship.

These findings provide novel insights into how firms use stakeholder management to enhance innovation that is beneficial for economic growth.

Wei Jiang, Aric Xu Wang, Kevin Zheng Zhou & Chuang Zhang. 2020. Stakeholder Relationship Capability and Firm Innovation: A Contingent Analysis.

Journal of Business Ethics, 167(1), 111–125.

Rethinking the purity of moral motives in business
Moral purism is a commonly held view on moral worthiness and how to identify it in concrete cases. Moral purists long for a moral world in which (business) people —at least sometimes— act morally worthy, but in concrete cases they systematically discount good deeds as grounded in self-interest.

Moral purism evokes moral cynicism. Moral cynicism is a problem, both in society at large and the business world. Moral cynicism can be fought by refuting moral purism. This article takes issue with moral purism. The common strategy to tackle moral purism is to reject the exclusion thesis which states that self-interest and the ‘pure’ moral motive (and thus moral worthiness) exclude each other.

The authors develop a different strategy. The authors argue that moral purists are mistaken in the way they judge moral worthiness in concrete cases. They employ the wrong procedure and the wrong criteria. The authors develop a proper procedure and proper criteria. The authors build on Kant, who the authors argue is unfairly regarded as the champion of moral purism. In order to see how Kant can develop a consistent (non-purist) philosophy, the exclusion thesis must be embedded in Kant’s transcendental philosophy. Properly embedded, Kant turns out to be both anti-purist and anti-cynical.

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Wim Dubbink & Luc van Liedekerke. 2020. Rethinking the Purity of Moral Motives in Business: Kant Against Moral Purism.

Journal of Business Ethics, 167(3), 379–393.