This article proposes a theoretical re-conceptualization of power dynamics and their legitimation in contemporary busi- ness–society relations using the prism and metaphor of parentalism. The paper develops a typology of forms of parentalism along two structuring dimensions: care and control. Specifically, four ideal-types of parentalism are introduced with their associated practices and power-legitimation mechanisms. As we consider current private governance and authority through this analytical framework, we are able to provide a new perspective on the nature of the moral legitimation of power dynam- ics in contemporary business–society relations. And we weave the threads between this conceptual frame and historical antecedents, suggesting that business ethicists need to revive old debates on paternalism in light of the current pervasive trend of modernized and subtler forms of parentalism. Implications for business ethics and political CSR are discussed. Keywords Parentalism · Nudge · Power · Private governance · Political CSR · MSI Over the past decades, we have moved from rule-making expertise as well as a neutralization, in the process, of power as the prerogative of national governments to the increas- and politics (Djelic and Sahlin 2009; Cutler and Dietz 2017). ing privatization and transnationalization of governance This claim of a disappearance of power and politics has
Journal of Business Ethics – Springer Journals
Published: May 25, 2018
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