Beyond the Bottom Line Summary

Beyond the Bottom Line

This book would make excellent supplemental reading for a business ethics course focusing on corporate social responsibility. It can also be recommended to managers interested in their rights and responsibilities as employees and in the means for their corporate employers to adapt to changing economic and social conditions.

In Tuleja’s broad concept of corporate social obligations, there are six constituencies, or stakeholders, whose needs deserve recognition by responsible corporate management. These stakeholders are (1) shareholders, (2) employees, (3) customers, (4) the local community, (5) society at large, and (6) competing companies. The sixth stakeholder group is, even for Tuleja, the farthest possible extension of corporate social responsibility, but he makes a strong case that businesses owe their competitors full and honest representations of product strengths that sell without damning the competition or resorting to bribery.

The weakest point Tuleja makes is in chapter 10, “Clash of Values: Multinational Ethics.” He moves too quickly to the conclusion that American concepts of ethical business behavior can be transferred abroad with minimal difficulty. For example, a case study showing that the Japanese public resented Lockheed bribery of the Tanaka government does not logically establish a strong parallel between American and Japanese business ethics. In addition, readers not committed to divestment in South Africa could contend that Tuleja’s view of the futility of the Sullivan principles is flawed and that black South Africans will not benefit from American corporate withdrawal no matter how much such actions please American liberals.