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By Terence Tsai (auth.)

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MNCs relative to developing country counterparts A comparison of MNC performance with local private-sector and state-owned enterprises suggests that MNCs have higher environmental standards than their local counterparts (Royston 1985; Castleman 1987; Pearson 1987; Pimenta 1987; UNESCAP 1988, 1990; Warhurst 1994). It is argued that this is because of the access MNCs have to superior technological, human and financial resources. MNCs are also leaders in technological innovation, institutions of technological change and agents of commercialisation for new technology (both organisational and mechanical) (Choucri 1993).

The three models described here deal primarily with the issues of business ethics in the traditional sense. Shrivastava (1995) advances the models further to include the ‘Earth’ as the ultimate stakeholder in his ecocentric management paradigm. Central to this paradigm is the concept of equality between humans and nature. The ecocentric view of the firm calls for a revision of management’s basic ideas of organisational objectives and strategy. The new concept of strategy should emphasise co-alignment of an organisation with its environment and ‘address the issues of impacts of the firm’s activities on the natural and social environment, and it must provide avenues for renewal of environmental resources that the organisation use’ (Shrivastava 1995:134).

2 The greening of business ethics: the ‘virtuous’ and ‘virtual’ dimensions In the preceding section, it was proposed that business ethics can produce company initiatives to protect the environment. It is then perfectly Towards an Analytical Framework 27 reasonable to inquire what the term ‘business ethics’ means. Business ethics is a new discipline of academic research that emerged approximately 20 years ago from studies of ‘business and society’. Outside academe, the discussion of business ethics can be traced back to Aristotle: He argued that goods should be exchanged for their ‘real value’, their costs, including a ‘fair wage’ for those who produced them, but then he concluded, mistakenly, that any profit (that is, over and above costs) required some sort of theft (for where else would that ‘surplus value’ come from).

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