Freiheit durch Bindung: Zur ökonomischen Logik von Verhaltenskodizes

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Corporate codes of conduct are often used to address problems they cannot solve. Theory can explain that voluntary commitments are advantageous if they help to overcome social dilemmas. The economic logic of codes of conduct is therefore based on an argument of self-commitment: prudent self-commitment can enhance freedom. This logic works in two ways. Individual self-commitments can help overcome one-sided dilemmas. To solve multi-sided dilemmas, however, requires a mutual self-commitment by all parties involved. When used as an instrument of individual self-commitment, codes of conduct therefore fail to successfully solve structural problems in a company’s social environment. Nevertheless, codes of conduct can play an important role in overcoming organizational dilemmas within the firm. They can serve as a strategic instrument for corporate citizenship.
Original languageGerman
JournalSchmalenbachs Zeitschrift für betriebswirtschaftliche Forschung
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)615-645
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 08.2007
Externally publishedYes