Ethical Challenges in Strategic Management: The 19th IESE International Symposium on Ethics, Business and Society

  • Joan Fontrodona
  • Joan Enric Ricart
  • Pascual Berrone
Editorial Essay


This paper is the Introduction to the Special Issue comprising a selection of papers submitted to the 19th IESE International Symposium on Ethics, Business and Society. The main topic of the Symposium was “Ethical Challenges in Strategic Management.” The paper presents the rationale and context of the Symposium. We begin with a brief historical overview of the evolution of the relationship between ethics and strategy. We propose four pillars that are at the core of a definition of strategy and elaborate on how ethics can contribute to strategy. We present the six papers that make up this selection within the framework of the four aspects introduced in the previous section. We conclude with some proposals for further research that consider the content of the papers.


Business ethics Strategy Business models Sustainability Leadership Organizational design Stakeholders Corporate social responsibility 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animals Rights

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


  1. Allison, G. T. (1971). Essence of decision: Explaining the Cuban missile crisis. Boston, MA: Little Brown.Google Scholar
  2. Andreu, R. (2015). Value means more than just money. IESE Alumni Magazine, 137, 16–19.Google Scholar
  3. Andreu, R., & Rosanas, J. M. (2011). Manifiesto para un management mejor. Una visión racional y humanista. Barcelona: IESE.Google Scholar
  4. Andrews, K. R. (1971/1980). The concept of corporate strategy. Revised edition. Homewood, Ill: Richard D. Irwin.Google Scholar
  5. Andrews, K. R. (1989). Ethics in practice: Managing the moral corporation. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  6. Ansoff, I. (1965). Corporate strategy: An analytical approach to business policy for growth and expansion. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  7. Ansoff, I. (1979). The changing shape of the strategic problem. In D. Schendel & C. Hofer (Eds.), Strategic management: A new view of business policy and planning (pp. 37–44). Boston: Little Brown and Co.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Aquinas, T. (1273/1948). Summa Theologica. (Fathers of the English Dominican Province, Trans.). Allen, TX: Thomas More Publishing.Google Scholar
  9. Argandoña, A. (1998). The stakeholder theory and the common good. Journal of Business Ethics, 17(9/10), 1093–1102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Badaracco, J. L., Jr., & Webb, A. P. (1995). Business ethics: A view from the trenches. California Management Review, 37(2), 8–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ballesteros, L., Useem, M., & Wry, T. (2017). Masters of disasters? An empirical analysis of how societies benefit from corporate disaster aid. Academy of Management Journal, 60(5), 1682–1708.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Barnard, Ch I. (1938). The functions of the executive. Boston, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Bartlett, C. A., & Ghoshal, S. (1994). Changing the role of top management: beyond strategy to purpose. Harvard Business Review, 72(6), 79–88.Google Scholar
  14. Baumgartner, R. J. (2014). Managing corporate sustainability and CSR: A conceptual framework combining values, strategies and instruments contributing to sustainable development. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 2(5), 258–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bird, F., & Smucker, J. (2007). The social responsibilities of international business firms in developing areas. Journal of Business Ethics, 73(1), 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bolino, M. C., & Grant, A. M. (2016). The bright side of being prosocial at work, and the dark side, too: a review and agenda for research on other-oriented motives, behavior, and impact in organizations. Academy of Management Annals, 10(1), 599–670.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Bowie, N. E. (1991). Business ethics as a discipline: the search for legitimacy. In R. E. Freeman (Ed.), Business ethics: the state of the art (pp. 17–42). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Brickley, J. A., Smith, C. W., & Zimmerman, J. L. (2003). Corporate governance, ethics, and organizational architecture. Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, 15(3), 34–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Brusoni, S., & Vaccaro, A. (2017). Ethics, technology and organizational innovation. Journal of Business Ethics, 143(2), 223–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Campbell, A., Devine, M., & Young, D. (1990). A sense of mission. London: Hutchinson.Google Scholar
  21. Carrol, A. B. (1987). In search of the moral manager. Business Horizons, 30(2), 7–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Casadesus-Masanell, R., & Ricart, J. E. (2010). From strategy to business models and onto tactics. Long Range Planning, 43(2–3), 195–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Chandler, A. (1962). Strategy and structure: Chapters in the history of the industrial enterprise. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  24. Collins, J. C., & Porras, J. I. (1996). Building your company’s vision. Harvard Business Review, 74(5), 65–77.Google Scholar
  25. Crabtree, A. (2007). Evaluating the BOP from a fundamental capabilities perspective. Available at Accessed 16 Feb 2016.
  26. Crane, A., & Matten, D. (2004/2016). Business ethics: Managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization. Fourth edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Cyert, R. M., & March, J. G. (1963). A behavioral theory of the firm. Englewood Cliffs, NY: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  28. das Neves, J. C. (2009). Introdução à ética empresarial. Parede, Portugal: Principia Editora.Google Scholar
  29. das Neves, J. C., & Melé, D. (2013). Managing ethically cultural diversity: Learning from Thomas Aquinas. Journal of Business Ethics, 116(4), 769–780.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Davies, P. (1996). Ethical issues in strategic management. In A. Kitson & R. Campbell (Eds.), The ethical organisation. Ethical theory and corporate behaviour (pp. 160–170). London, UK: MacMillan Business Press.Google Scholar
  31. Davila, A., Rodriguez-Lluesma, C., & Elvira, M. M. (2018). Engaging stakeholders in emerging economies: The case of Multilatinas. Journal of Business Ethics. Scholar
  32. Dawkins, J., & Lewis, S. (2003). CSR in stakeholder expectations: And their implication for company strategy. Journal of Business Ethics, 44(2–3), 185–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. De George, R. T. (1987). The status of business ethics: past and future. Journal of Business Ethics, 6(3), 201–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Deal, T., & Kennedy, A. (1982). Corporate cultures. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley.Google Scholar
  35. Donaldson, T. (1996). Values in tension: Ethics away from home. Harvard Business Review, 74(5), 48–62.Google Scholar
  36. Drucker, P. (1973). Management: Tasks, responsibilities, practices. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  37. Duke, D. (2016). Why don’t BOP ventures solve the environmental problems they initially set out to address? Organization and Environment, 29(4), 508–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Eisenhardt, K. M., Graebner, M. E., & Sonenshein, S. (2016). Grand challenges and inductive methods: Rigor without rigor mortis. Academy of Management Journal, 59(4), 1113–1123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Eisenhardt, K., & Zbaracki, M. (1992). Strategic decision making. Strategic Management Journal, 13, 17–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Elms, H., Brammer, S., Harris, J. D., & Phillips, R. A. (2010). New directions in strategic management and business ethics. Business Ethics Quarterly, 20(3), 401–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Flamer, C., & Kacperczyk, A. (2016). The impact of stakeholder orientation on innovation: Evidence from a natural experiment. Management Science, 62(7), 1982–2001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Fontrodona, J., Guillen, M., & Rodriguez Sedano, A. (2010). La etica de la empresa en la encrucijada. Pamplona: Eunsa.Google Scholar
  43. Fontrodona, J., & Melé, D. (2002). Philosophy as a base for management: An Aristotelian integrative proposal. Philosophy of Management, 2(2), 3–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Fontrodona, J., & Sanz, P. (2015). The keys to a positive business culture. IESE Insight, 27, 15–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Freeman, R. E. (1984). Strategic management. A stakeholder approach, Boston, MA: Pitman Publishing.Google Scholar
  46. Freeman, R. E., & Gilbert, D. R. (1988). Corporate strategy and the search for ethics. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  47. Friedman, M. (1970). The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. The New York Times Magazine, 13 September.Google Scholar
  48. Frohman, M., & Pascarella, P. (1986). Creating the purposeful organization. Industry Week, 9, 44–45.Google Scholar
  49. Garriga, E., & Melé, D. (2004). Corporate social responsibility theories: Mapping the territory. Journal of Business Ethics, 53(1–2), 51–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Gazzola, P., & Colombo, G. (2014). CSR integration into the corporate strategy. Cross-Cultural Management Journal, 16(2), 331–337.Google Scholar
  51. Ghoshal, S. (2005). Bad management theories are destroying good management practices. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 4(1), 75–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Guth, W., & Tagiuri, R. (1965). Personal values and corporate strategy. Harvard Business Review, 43(5), 123–132.Google Scholar
  53. Harris, J. D., & Freeman, R. E. (2008). The impossibility of the separation thesis: A response to Joakim Sandberg. Business Ethics Quarterly, 18(4), 541–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Hart, S. L. (1995). A natural-resource-based view of the firm. Academy of Management Review, 20, 986–1012.Google Scholar
  55. Hart, S., Sharma, S., & Halme, M. (2016). Poverty, business and sustainable development. Organization & Environment, 29(4), 401–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Henderson, B. D. (1979). Henderson on corporate strategy. Cambridge, MA: Abt Books.Google Scholar
  57. Hosmer, L. T. (1994). Strategic planning as if ethics mattered. Strategic Management Journal, 15(S2), 17–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Humble, J., Jackson, D., & Thomson, A. (1994). The strategic power of corporate values. Long Range Planning, 27(6), 28–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Jamali, D., & Karam, C. (2016). Corporate social responsibility in developing countries as an emerging field of study. International Journal of Management Reviews. Scholar
  60. Johnson, K., Martineau, J. T., Kouamé, S., Turgut, G., & Poisson-de-Haro, S. (2018). On the unethical use of privileged information in strategic decision-making: The effects of peers’ ethicality, perceived cohesion, and team performance. Journal of Business Ethics. Scholar
  61. Kirrane, D. E. (1990). Managing values: A systematic approach to business ethics. Training & Development Journal, 44(11), 53–60.Google Scholar
  62. Kottke, J. L., & Pelletier, K. L. (2013). Measuring and differentiating perceptions of supervisor and top leader ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, 113(3), 415–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Kuratko, D. E., & Goldsby, M. G. (2004). Corporate entrepreneurs or rouge middle managers? A framework for ethical corporate entrepreneurship. Journal of Business Ethics, 55(1), 13–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Levinas, E. (1985). Ethics and infinity: Conversations with Philippe Nemo (R. A. Cohen, Trans.). Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press.Google Scholar
  65. Linuesa-Langreo, J., Ruiz-Palomino, P., & Elche, D. (2018). Integrating servant leadership into managerial strategy to build group social capital: The mediating role of group citizenship behavior. Journal of Business Ethics. Scholar
  66. Løgstrup, K. (1997). The Ethical Demand. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
  67. Mangelsdorf, M. E. (2012). The Human Side of Business. Magazine: Summer 2012. Accessed September 2016.​
  68. Maniora, J. (2018). Mismanagement of sustainability: What business strategy makes the difference? Empirical evidence from the U.S. Journal of Business Ethics. Scholar
  69. March, J. G., & Simon, H. A. (1958). Organizations. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  70. Marti, I. (2018). Transformational business models, grand challenges, and social impact. Journal of Business Ethics. Scholar
  71. Maxfield, S. (2008). Reconciling corporate citizenship and competitive strategy: Insights from economic theory. Journal of Business Ethics, 80(2), 367–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. McWilliams, A., & Siegel, D. S. (2001). Corporate social responsibility: A theory of the firm perspective. The Academy of Management Review, 26(1), 117–127.Google Scholar
  73. McWilliams, A., & Siegel, D. S. (2011). Creating and capturing value: Strategic corporate social responsibility, resource-based theory, and sustainable competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 37(5), 1480–1495.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Melé, D. (2003). The challenge of humanistic management. Journal of Business Ethics, 44(1), 77–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Melé, D. (2009a). Editorial introduction: Towards a more humanistic management. Journal of Business Ethics, 88(3), 413–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Melé, D. (2009b). Integrating personalism into virtue-based business ethics: The personalist and the common good principles. Journal of Business Ethics, 88(1), 227–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Melé, D. (2015). Three keys concepts of catholic humanism for economic activity: Human dignity, human rights and integral human development. In D. Melé & M. Schlag (Eds.), Humanism in economics and business: Perspectives of the catholic social tradition (pp. 113–136). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  78. Mendelow, A. L. (1983). Setting corporate goals and measuring organizational effectiveness—A practical approach. Long Range Planning, 16(1), 70–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Miles, R. E., & Snow, C. C. (1978). Organizational strategy, structure and process. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  80. Mitchell, R., Agle, B., & Wood, D. (1997). Toward a theory of stakeholder identification and salience: Defining the principle of who and what really counts. Academy of Management Review, 22(4), 853–886.Google Scholar
  81. Mongelli, L., Versari, P., Rullani, F., & Vaccaro, A. (2018). Made in carcere: Integral human development in extreme conditions. Journal of Business Ethics. Scholar
  82. Nahi, T. (2016). Cocreation at the base of the pyramid: Reviewing and organizing the diverse conceptualizations. Organization & Environment, 29(4), 416–437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Neville, B. A., Bell, S. J., & Whitwell, G. J. (2011). Stakeholder salience revisited: Refining, redefining, and refueling an underdeveloped conceptual tool. Journal of Business Ethics, 102(3), 357–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Osorio, J. G. (2015). La evolución de la asignatura de Business Policy en Harvard Business School. Cuadernos de Empresa y Humanismo (Vol. 127). Pamplona: Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Navarra.Google Scholar
  85. Paine, L. S. (1986). An inquiry on ethics and values. Directors & Boards, 11(1), 31–33.Google Scholar
  86. Paine, L. S. (1996). Moral thinking in management: an essential capability. Business Ethics Quarterly, 6(4), 477–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Pastoriza, D., & Ariño, M. A. (2013). Does the ethical leadership of supervisors generate internal social capital? Journal of Business Ethics, 118(1), 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Pearce, J. A., & David, F. R. (1987). Corporate mission statements: the bottom line. Academy of Management Executive, 1(2), 109–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Peters, T., & Waterman, R. (1982). In search of excellence. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  90. Phillips, R., Freeman, R. E., & Wicks, A. C. (2003). What stakeholder theory is not. Business Ethics Quarterly, 13(4), 479–502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Pirson, M. A., & Lawrence, P. R. (2010). Humanism in business—Towards a paradigm shift? Journal of Business Ethics, 93(4), 553–565.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Porter, M. E., & Kramer, M. R. (2006). The link between competitive advantage and corporate social responsibility. Harvard business review, 84(12), 78–92.Google Scholar
  93. Porter, M. E., & Kramer, M. R. (2011). Creating shared value. Harvard Business Review, 89(1/2), 62–77.Google Scholar
  94. Randles, S., & Laasch, O. (2015). Theorising the normative business model. Organization & Environment, 29(1), 53–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Ress, A. (2015). HR left for dead amongst business chaos. HR Review. Accessed September 2016.
  96. Robertson, C. J. (2008). An analysis of 10 years of business ethics research in “Strategic Management Journal”:1996–2005. Journal of Business Ethics, 80(4), 745–753.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Robertson, C. J., Blevins, D. P., & Duffy, T. (2013). A five-year review, update, and assessment of ethics and governance in “Strategic Management Journal”. Journal of Business Ethics, 117(1), 85–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. 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
  99. Sánchez, P., & Ricart, J. E. (2010). Business model innovation and sources of value creation in low-income markets. European Management Review, 7(3), 138–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. Schaltegger, S., Hansen, E. G., & Lüdeke-Freund, F. (2015). Business models for sustainability: Origins, present research, and future avenues. Organization & Environment, 29(1), 3–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Schendel, D., & Hofer, C. (1979). Strategic management: a new view of business policy and planning. Boston, MA: Little Brown.Google Scholar
  102. Seelos, C., & Mair, J. (2005). Social entrepreneurship: Creating new business models to serve the poor. Business Horizons, 48(3), 241–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Selznick, P. (1957). Leadership in administration. A sociological interpretation. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  104. Simon, H. A. (1945/1975). Administrative behavior. 3rd edition. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  105. Singer, A. E. (1994). Strategy as moral philosophy. Strategic Management Journal, 15(3), 191–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  106. Sison, A., & Fontrodona, J. (2011). The common good of business: Addressing a challenge posed by «Caritas in Veritate». Journal of Business Ethics, 100, 99–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  107. Sison, A., & Fontrodona, J. (2013). Participating in the common good of the firm. Journal of Business Ethics, 113(4), 611–625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  108. Smart, V., Barman, T., & Gunasekera, N. (2010). Incorporating ethics into strategy. Developing sustainable business models. Discussion paper. London: Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.Google Scholar
  109. Smith, T. (1999). Aristotle on the conditions for and limits of the common good. The American Political Science Review, 93(3), 625–636.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  110. Solomon, R. C. (1992). Ethics and excellence. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  111. Solomon, R. C. (1999). A better way to think about business: How personal integrity leads to corporate success. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  112. Stafford-Smith, M., Griggs, D., Gaffney, O., et al. (2017). Integration: the key to implementing the sustainable development goals. Sustainability Science, 12(6), 911–919.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  113. Stubbs, W., & Cocklin, C. (2008). Conceptualizing a “sustainability business model”. Organization & Environment, 21(2), 103–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  114. Sturdivant, F. D. (1979). Executives and activists: test of stakeholder management. California Management Review, 22(1), 53–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  115. Suchman, M. C. (1995). Managing legitimacy: Strategic and institutional approaches. Academy of Management Review, 20(3), 571–610.Google Scholar
  116. Trevino, L. K., Weaver, G. R., & Reynolds, S. J. (2006). Behavioral ethics in organizations: A review. Journal of Management, 32(6), 951–990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  117. UN (2015). Transforming our world: The 2030 agenda for sustainable development. New York: United Nations, New York. Accessed 12 Dec 2017).
  118. Wagner, M. (2010). Corporate social performance and innovation with high social benefits: A quantitative analysis. Journal of Business Ethics, 94(4), 581–594.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  119. Watson, J. T. (1963). A business and its beliefs. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  120. Werhane, P. H. (1999). Moral imagination and management decision making. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  121. York, J. (2009). Pragmatic sustainability: Translating environmental ethics into competitive advantage. Journal of Business Ethics, 85(suppl. 1), 97–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Business Ethics DepartmentIESE Business SchoolBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Strategic Management Department/Carl Schroeder Chair of Strategic ManagementIESE Business SchoolBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Strategic Management Department/Schneider Electric Chair of Sustainability and Business StrategyIESE Business SchoolBarcelonaSpain

Personalised recommendations