Commentary: Obscured Authority

  • Raoul Wirtz
  • Edgar Karssing
  • Gemma Crijns
Part of the Issues in Business Ethics book series (IBET, volume 28)


In the case discussion of Heineken and the promotion girls in Cambodia we address the question to what extent Heineken is responsible for the well-being of promotion girls in Cambodia. Heineken’s authority in Cambodia is obscured: at best it has a shared authority, in this case with Heineken’s Asian partners, the Cambodian government and the establishment owners. In examining Heineken’s responsibilities, we rely on two fundamental moral principles: the first is to do no harm and the second is the principle of autonomy. Furthermore we examine the extent of Heineken’s authority and the significance of its obscured authority. Our conclusion is that the fact that authority is primarily indirect, does not relieve Heineken from all moral responsibility.


Moral Responsibility Sexual Contact Establishment Owner Employment Position Distribution Chain 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Executive and Management Development Center, Nyenrode Business UniversityBreukelenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Nyenrode Business UniversityBreukelenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands

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