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Journal of Business Ethics Education

Volume 12, 2015

Teaching Business Ethics and Stakeholder Theory

Karin Buhmann
Pages 5-42
DOI: 10.5840/jbee2015122

Introducing Legal Method When Teaching Stakeholder Theory
Enhancing the Understanding of Stakeholder Expectations in Relation to Human Rights and CSR Reporting

Governments are particularly salient stakeholders for business ethics. They act on societal needs and social expectations, and have the political and legal powers to restrict or expand the economic freedoms of business as well as the legitimacy and often urgency to do so. We draw on two examples: the Business & Human Rights regime from a UN Global Compact perspective; and mandatory CSR reporting. Supplying integrated teaching notes and generalising on the examples, we explain how legal method may help students of business ethics, organisation and management – future managers – in their analysis of governments as stakeholders and their interests that drive expectations on firms. With a focus on analysis for responding adequately to stakeholder concerns, this article contributes to the emerging literature recognising the relevance of public regulation for CSR. More specifically, we contribute to the business ethics literature by explaining how legal method complements stakeholder theory for organisational practice.