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Calls for Papers

Firms and Moral Repair – IESE Business School

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Call for Contributions
Firms and Moral Repair

“Increasingly, firms publicly acknowledge responsibility for prior wrongs. For example, on February 1st 2024, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, apologized in the US Senate for the consequences of his products on families and children across the US. Beyond issuing apologies, more often than before, firms also commit resources to mend the negative consequences of their actions. The initiatives taken by Sibanye-Stillwater following the 2012 Marikana mine massacre in South Africa (Vives-Gabriel & Merwe, 2023) and Samarco in the aftermath of the 2015 collapse of the Doce River Dam in Brazil (Nabuco & Aleixo, 2019) are some of the most emblematic yet controversial examples of corporate attempts to mend abuses of human rights and the environment. Against this backdrop, we seem to have truly entered the “age of apology” (Gibney, 2008).

Moral repair, a term originally coined and developed by moral philosophers (e.g., Radzik, 2009; Walker, 2006), refers to practices that allow victims of (corporate) wrongdoings to move from a situation of damage to one where (some) stability in moral relationships is regained (Walker, 2006, p. 6). Scholarship on social issues in management and business ethics has begun to explore the concept of moral repair, albeit from diverse angles. Some scholars have emphasized the significance of restoring legitimacy and trust with stakeholders (Gillespie & Dietz, 2009; Pfarrer et al., 2008), while others have called for expanding the horizons of business ethics by applying restorative justice lenses in the aftermath of corporate wrongs (Goodstein & Butterfield, 2010; Schormair & Gerlach, 2020). In a more recent study, Vives-Gabriel et al. (2022) offer a degree of conceptual clarity by theoretically delineating moral repair’s procedural and substantive components. Relatedly, scholars have initiated discussions on the mechanisms through which firms may take responsibility for historical misbehaviors such as slavery, colonialism, or collaboration with oppressive regimes (Schrempf-Stirling et al., 2016; Van Lent & Smith, 2020; Vives-Gabriel et al., 2024).

However, despite progress, the scholarly discussion on moral repair remains fragmented and its broader impact on management research limited. By organizing this exploratory workshop, we aim to facilitate idea generation, collaborative brainstorming, and the mapping of potential avenues for expanding the concept of moral repair in the field of management. The workshop aims to engage participants in exploring questions such as: Can moral repair become a distinct field of inquiry, and if yes, how? Could there be a “theory of moral repair” for firms? What fundamental theories/perspectives can inform moral repair? How can studies of moral repair discussion connect with a larger (management) audience?

In this workshop, we invite scholars from various disciplines to contribute with original normative, empirical, and theoretical insights at micro, meso, and macro levels of analysis of moral repair.”

Find more details here.