Title: Four ways of addressing pluralism for CSR

Authors: Morten E.J. Nielsen; Claus S. Frederiksen

Addresses: Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen, Karen Blixens Vej 4, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark ' Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen, Karen Blixens Vej 4, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark

Abstract: Taking its cue from a presentation and discussion of two corporate social responsibility e-learning tools which emphasises ethical awareness and deliberation, this article discusses pluralism and four ways of addressing it with an eye to decision procedures, especially as concerns CSR policies. First, direct pluralism, understood as a hybrid between various traditional ethical theories, and different versions of ethical relativism, including a new version the authors call stakeholder relativism, is discussed and rejected as plausible ways of addressing pluralism. After this, so-called 'two-level utilitarianism' is presented as an alternative decision strategy. Then, taking into account recent trends in philosophy, the paper turns to discuss one of the most influential attempts to address pluralism, namely John Rawls' (et al.) deontological proceduralism. We argue that both two-level utilitarianism and deontological proceduralism can serve as justifiable theoretical backgrounds for CSR and decision making in the light of pluralism.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility; CSR; pluralism; e-learning; Rawls; deontological proceduralism; utilitarianism; electronic learning; online learning; ethical awareness; ethics; ethical relativism; stakeholder relativism; decision making.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSEI.2013.057022

International Journal of Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 2013 Vol.2 No.3, pp.253 - 268

Available online: 05 Oct 2013 *

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