This week’s articles consider various aspects of working for social good.
A human rights-based approach to the social good in social marketing
Social marketing has been established with the purpose of effecting change or maintaining people’s behaviour for the welfare of individuals and society (references), which is also what differentiates it from other types of marketing. However, social marketing scholars have struggled with guiding social marketers in conceptualising the social good and with defining who decides what is socially beneficial in different contexts.
In this paper, the authors suggest that many dilemmas in identifying the social good in social marketing could be addressed by turning to human rights principles, and, in particular, by following a human rights-based approach. The authors examine a number of cross-cutting human rights principles—namely, transparency and accountability, equality and non-discrimination, and participation and inclusion—that are capable, in a practical way, of guiding the work of social marketers.
Through an illustrative case study of the anti-obesity discourse, the authors present how these principles might help to address some of the challenges facing social marketing, both as a theory and practice, in meeting its definitional characteristic.
Natalia Szablewska and Krzysztof Kubacki. 2019. A Human Rights-Based Approach to the Social Good in Social Marketing.
Journal of Business Ethics, 155(3), 871–888.
Social banking in Germany
The social banking market constitutes a small but rapidly growing submarket of the global banking sector. Due to an explicit commitment to sustainability, social banking is a segment of banking services which is not exclusively focused on economic performance criteria, but pursues ecological and social goal dimensions on an equal footing.
Information on the number and reachability of potential social banking customers is essential for social banks to further promote sustainable consumption in finance. In scientific research, social banking is considered a relatively new field, still lacking empirical analyses regarding the market size and specific consumer behaviour.
This study addresses the research gap by generating first insights into the German social banking market. Based on an online survey using an adaptive conjoint analysis, a large data set covering 3537 respondents was compiled. Sample 1 comprises 2896 respondents who are customers of three major social banks in Germany. Sample 2 covers the remaining 641 respondents who represent the German adult population and exclusively buy from conventional banks.
Logistic regression modelling reveals that social banking customers differ significantly from their conventional counterparts regarding several socio-demographic, behavioural and psychographic factors. In comparison with conventional banking customers, social banking customers tend to be younger, higher educated and located in larger places of residence. Contrary to existing research on socially responsible investors, they are male to a higher proportion than female. Moreover, social banking customers demonstrate stronger sustainable buying patterns and weaker preferences for financial, but stronger preferences for social return than conventional banking customers.
The results further indicate a considerable untapped growth potential for social banks by uncovering a market size ranging between 10 and 26% of the German adult population. Finally, suggestions for marketing strategies and future research are given.
Kathleen Krause and Dirk Battenfeld. 2019. Coming Out of the Niche? Social Banking in Germany: An Empirical Analysis of Consumer Characteristics and Market Size.
Journal of Business Ethics, 155(3), 889–911.
How to make social entrepreneurship sustainable
Social entrepreneurship is a precarious activity that must always strike a delicate balance between commercial principles and social concerns. There is no shortage of discussion concerning the possible solutions that could help to maintain this balance, and social entrepreneurs are striving to reconcile conflicting aims on a daily basis, but the economic roots of this precariousness remain.
Based on an analysis of these root causes, the authors propose a new radical approach to this precariousness, “radical” in the etymological sense of the term “root”. The authors start by identifying what determines the dilemma that lies at the heart of the precariousness of social entrepreneurship in present-day economic institutions. This enables us to identify the institutional conditions that might allow us to overcome it.
The first condition is linked to the conservation of money in individual trade, which might be alleviated. To determine the second condition, the authors introduce the notion of the endogeneity of the institutional solutions to the dilemma. The lesser the involvement of the actors concerned by its formulation, the less endogenous is the solution. On this basis, the authors suggest institutional reforms that could prompt entrepreneurs to organise themselves in support of the actions of the most socially oriented entrepreneurs, thus safeguarding their sustainability.
Erwan Lamy. 2019. How to Make Social Entrepreneurship Sustainable? A Diagnosis and a Few Elements of a Response.
Journal of Business Ethics, 155(3), 645–662.
Not walking-the-walk in ethical consumption
Although consumers increasingly claim to demand ethical products and state that they are willing to reward firms that are ethical, studies have highlighted that there is a significant gap between consumers’ explicit attitudes toward ethical products and their actual purchase behaviour. This has major implications for firm policies revolving around business ethics.
This research contributes to the understanding of the attitude–behaviour gap in ethical consumption that literature has identified but not explored much. The authors utilise the model of dual attitudes as a basis for the arguments presented in the paper and test them. The authors suggest that the gap in ethical consumerism exists because individuals have implicit as well as explicit attitudes, which are impacted differentially by stimuli and elicit dissimilar behavioural responses and thus have different implications for business ethics policies.
Two longitudinal studies are conducted to better understand the impact of an individual’s dual attitudes on preferences and choice. Findings support the presence of dual attitudes in consumers. Explicit attitudes are found to be easily influenced by the nature of the stimuli. On the other hand, implicit attitudes are relatively unaffected by the nature of the stimuli present and remain relatively constant.
Based on the findings, implicit attitudes guide behaviour and determine an individual’s preferences. Even though explicit attitudes react to the stimuli presented, findings suggest they have no impact on the choice of consumers. These findings improve the understanding of ethical consumption, provide a reason as to why the attitude–behaviour gap exists, provide a foundation for future researchers and help firms better understand the impact of perceived business on creating a behavioural shift in ethical consumption.
Rahul Govind, Jatinder Jit Singh, Nitika Garg and Shachi D’Silva. 2019. Not Walking the Walk: How Dual Attitudes Influence Behavioral Outcomes in Ethical Consumption.
Journal of Business Ethics, 155(4), 1195–1214.
When should drug companies release experimental drugs to patients with life-threatening disease?
Through expanded access protocols, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows patients with serious or immediately life-threatening diseases access to experimental drugs outside the clinical trial setting when no satisfactory alternative treatment is available. While the FDA has established a mechanism for providing patients with unapproved drug access, the regulations do not require the pharmaceutical company to provide the drug.
The drug company’s permission to use its experimental drug is a necessary prerequisite to using the FDA’s expanded access mechanism. Increasingly, drug companies are coming under scrutiny regarding the programs governing that decision-making power. Historically, disclosing whether a company has an expanded access program, and whether or how it would respond to an expanded access request, has been left to discretion of the drug companies themselves.
Few manufacturers publish adequate expanded access protocols. As a result, patients were provided with little insight into how companies evaluate expanded access requests and are naturally skeptical as to the ethical integrity of the process. The recently passed 21st Century Cures Act changes that practice by requiring drug companies to have, and make publically available, their expanded access procedures including criteria for evaluating and responding to patient requests.
In this article, the authors contend that complying with the new transparency provisions will require drug companies to respond to several unresolved expanded access issues. Namely, how to reconcile a patient’s desire to access lifesaving experimental therapies alongside the company and society’s interest in the efficient development of new drugs. Even more challenging, how can companies devise practices for evaluating and processing expanded access requests that also fairly and equitably acknowledge those concerns?
In addressing these questions, this article explores the legal, regulatory, business, and societal influences that have shaped expanded access policies and practices. From there, the authors provide companies a framework that balances appropriately the desires of individuals and gaining the requisite approvals ensure access not just for one person but for society.
Stacey B. Lee & Alexandra Y. Murata. 2019. The Expanded Access Cure: A Twenty-First Century Framework for Companies.
Journal of Business Ethics, 156(1), 155–171.
Corporate philanthropy through the lens of ethical subjectivity
The dynamic organisational processes in businesses dilute the boundaries between the individual, organisational, and societal drivers of corporate philanthropy. This creates a complex framework in which charitable project selection occurs.
Using the example of European tour operators, this study investigates the mechanisms through which companies invest in charitable projects in overseas destinations. Inextricably linked to this is the increasing contestation by local communities as to how they are able to engage effectively with tourism in order to realise the benefits tourism development can bring.
This research furthers such debates by exploring the processes through which tour operators facilitate community development through charitable giving. Findings show, with no formal frameworks in existence, project selection depends upon emergent strategies that connect the professional with the personal, with trust being positioned as a central driver of these informal processes. Discretionary responsibilities are reworked through business leaders’ commitment to responsible business practises and the ethical subjectivity guiding these processes.
Read this Open Access article online for free
Claudia Eger, Graham Miller & Caroline Scarles. 2019. Corporate Philanthropy Through the Lens of Ethical Subjectivity.
Journal of Business Ethics, 156(1), 141–153.