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The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics

Volume 3, 2002

Ethics and Entrepreneurship

Richard P. Nielsen
Pages 231-239

Business Citizenship and United States “Investor Capitalism”
A Critical Analysis

There are several different types of capitalist political-economies and business organizations. Consequently, the implications for business citizenship behaviors are also quite different. In the older “large family owned business” and “managerial capitalism” forms there are important structural opportunities for a social contract and balancing of the needs of various stakeholder groups. In the “investor capitalist” form which emerged in the 1980s and has come to dominate the U.S. political-economic system, there is a dominant priority toward optimization of the shareholder wealth criterion which makes it very difficult for such business organizations to engage in authentic citizenship behaviors.

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