Personal values as a catalyst for corporate social entrepreneurship

Christine A. Hemingway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The literature acknowledges a distinction between immoral, amoral and moral management. This paper makes a case for the employee (at any level) as a moral agent, even though the paper begins by highlighting a body of evidence which suggests that individual moral agency is sacrificed at work and is compromised in deference to other pressures. This leads to a discussion about the notion of discretion and an examination of a separate, contrary body of literature which indicates that some individuals in corporations may use their discretion to behave in a socially entrepreneurial manner. My underlying assumption is that CSR isn’t solely driven by economics and that it may also be championed as a result of a personal morality, inspired by employees’ own socially oriented personal values. A conceptual framework is put forward and it is suggested that individuals may be categorized as Active or Frustrated Corporate Social Entrepreneurs; Conformists or Apathetics, distinguished by their individualistic or collectivist personal values. In a discussion of the nature of values, this paper highlights how values may act as drivers of our behavior and pays particular attention to the values of the entrepreneur, thereby linking the existing debate on moral agency with the field of corporate social responsibility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-249
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2005
Event17th European Business Ethics Network Annual Conference - Twente, Netherlands
Duration: 24 Jun 200426 Jun 2004


  • champions
  • discretion
  • entrepreneurship
  • corporate social entrepreneur (CSE)
  • corporate social responsibility (CSR)
  • moral agency
  • personal values
  • policy entrepreneurship
  • social entrepreneurship
  • social responsibility


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