Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 139, Issue 4, pp 633–637 | Cite as

Editorial: Business Ethics in a European Perspective: A Case for Unity in Diversity?

  • Michael S. Aßländer
  • Tobias Gössling
  • Peter Seele

Introduction: Business Ethics in Europe

With its “Renewed EU Strategy for Corporate Social Responsibility” (European Commission 2011), the European Commission has taken a further step to launch the idea of responsible business behavior across Europe. In this vein, the Commission defines Corporate social responsibility (CSR) as “the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society” (European Commission 2011, p. 6) and explicitly refers to the need “to acknowledge the role that complementary regulation plays in creating an environment more conducive to enterprises voluntarily meeting their social responsibility” (European Commission 2011, p. 5). To foster the idea of CSR, the Commission sees it as task of public authorities to “play a supporting role through a smart mix of voluntary policy measures and, where necessary, complementary regulation.” (European Commission 2011, p. 7). Although the Commission sees Corporate Responsibility primarily as voluntary corporate engagement,...


Corporate Social Responsibility Business Ethic Ethical Judgement Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy Corporate Social Responsibility Program 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All the authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


  1. Bowie, N. E., & Werhane, P. H. (2005). Management ethics. Malden: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  2. Eberl, P., Geiger, D., & Aßländer, M. S. (2015). Repairing integrity-based trust in the organization: The ambivalence of organizational rule adjustments. Organization Studies, 36(9), 1205–1235. doi: 10.1177/0170840615585335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Elkington, J. (1999). Cannibals with forks—The triple bottom line of 21st century business. Oxford: Capstone.Google Scholar
  4. Elkington, J. (2004). Enter the triple bottom line. In A. Henriques & J. Richardson (Eds.), The triple bottom line, does it all add up? (pp. 1–16). London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
  5. European Commission. (2011). A renewed EU strategy 2011–14 for corporate responsibility [COM(2011) 681]: Commission of the European Communities, Brussels. Retrieved March 22, 2015, from
  6. Fifka, M., & Reiser, D. (2015). Corporate social responsibility in between governmental regulation and voluntary initiative: the case of Germany. In S. Idowu & R. Schmidpeter (Eds.), Corporate social responsibility in Europe: An introduction (pp. 125–135). Heidelberg: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-13566-3_7.Google Scholar
  7. Forte, A. (2013). Corporate social responsibility in the United States and Europe: How important is it? The future of corporate social responsibility. International Business & Economics Research Journal, 12(7), 815–824. doi: 10.19030/iber.v12i7.7970.Google Scholar
  8. Gatti, L., & Seele, P. (2015). CSR through the CEO’s pen: Comparing CEO letters from CSR reports from Asia, Europe, and the U.S. UmweltWirtschaftsForum, 23(4), 265–277. doi: 10.1007/s00550-015-0361-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Habisch, A., Jonker, J., Wegner, M., & Schmidpeter, R. (2004). Corporate social responsibility across Europe. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  10. Hiss, S. (2009). From implicit to explicit corporate social responsibility: Institutional changes as a fight for myths. Business Ethics Quarterly, 19(3), 433–451. doi: 10.5840/beq2009324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Idowu, S., & Schmidpeter, R. (2015). Corporate social responsibility in Europe: An introduction. Heidelberg: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lock, I., & Seele, P. (2016). Deliberative lobbying? Toward a noncontradiction of corporate political activities and corporate social responsibility? Journal of Management Inquiry. doi: 10.1177/1056492616640379.Google Scholar
  13. Maignan, I. (2001). Consumers’ perceptions of corporate social responsibilities: A cross-cultural comparison. Journal of Business Ethics, 30(1), 57–72. doi: 10.1023/A:1006433928640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Maignan, I., & Ralston, D. A. (2002). Corporate social responsibility in Europe and the U.S.: Insights from businesses’ self-presentations. Journal of International Business Studies, 33(3), 497–514. doi: 10.1057/palgrave.jibs.8491028.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Matten, D., & Moon, J. (2008). “Implicit” and “explicit” CSR: A conceptual framework for a comparative understanding of corporate social responsibility. Academy of Management Review, 33(2), 404–424. doi: 10.5465/AMR.2008.31193458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Pučėtaitė, R., Lämsä, A.-M., & Novelskaitė, A. (2010). Building organizational trust in a low-trust societal context. Baltic Journal of Management, 5(2), 197–217. doi: 10.1108/17465261011045124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Rusinko, C. A. (2010). Integrating sustainability in management and business education: A matrix approach. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 9(3), 507–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Schmidpeter, R., & Idowu, S. (2015). Corporate social responsibility in Europe: united in sustainable diversity—A summary. In S. Idowu & R. Schmidpeter (Eds.), Corporate social responsibility in Europe: An introduction (pp. 503–508). Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  19. Schmidt, T. W. (2009). Sweetening the deal: Strengthening transnational bribery laws through standard international corporate auditing guidelines. Minnesota Law Review, 93(3), 1120–1145.Google Scholar
  20. Sitkin, S. B., & Roth, N. L. (1993). Explaining the limited effectiveness of legalistic remedies for trust/distrust. Organization Science, 4(3), 367–392. doi: 10.1287/orsc.4.3.367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Vogel, D. (1993). Differing national approaches to business ethics. Business Ethics European Review, 2(3), 164–171. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8608.1993.tb00040.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael S. Aßländer
    • 1
  • Tobias Gössling
    • 2
  • Peter Seele
    • 3
  1. 1.Fachbereich, Sozialwissenschaften, Internationales Hochschulinstitut ZittauTechnische Universität DresdenZittauGermany
  2. 2.Organization Studies, TSB & TSCTilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands
  3. 3.CSR and Business EthicsUniversità Della Svizzera ItalianaLuganoSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations