The Constitution of Responsibility: Toward an Ordonomic Framework for Interpreting (Corporate Social) Responsibility in Different Social Settings

  • Markus BeckmannEmail author
  • Ingo Pies


This article shows how taking a constitutional economics perspective can clarify the idea of responsibility. Applying constitutional economics, the authors distinguish between within-game (or sub-constitutional) responsibility when playing a game and context-of-game (or constitutional) responsibility for developing the conditions under which a game will be played. These two conditions are interpreted as comprising not only the institutions (rules of the game) but also discourse about the game, its deficiencies, and reform options. Accordingly, the authors’ concept of “ordo-responsibility” distinguishes between “governance responsibility” and “discourse responsibility.” This concept is used to critically discuss the conventional dichotomy between state and non-state actors. The authors examine the capacity of private actors to engage in political processes of rule-setting and rule-finding. The article thus provides important conceptual clarification for the debate on corporate social responsibility.


Responsibility Constitutional economics Ordo-responsibility Social structure Semantics Corporate social responsibility Global governance Ordonomics 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Corporate Sustainability ManagementUniversity of Erlangen-NürnbergNurembergGermany
  2. 2.Economic EthicsMartin Luther University Halle-WittenbergHalleGermany

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