Quotation Mensi-Klarbach, Heike, Leixnering, Stephan. 2017. Uncovering the Myth of the Rational Good: Diversity Management and Corporate Social Responsibility in Austria. In: CSR and Diversity Management, Hrsg. Hansen, Katrin; Seierstad, Cathrine, 93-106. Cham: Springer.




Diversity management (DM) and corporate social responsibility (CSR) are widely seen as management concepts that consider social mores and moral stances. At the same time, both are perceived as economically valuable, as they potentially enhance a firm’s efficiency and profitability. Both arguments—moral and economic—capture distinct motives for organizations to implement DM and CSR. We shed light on the heavily debated but still diffuse relationship between those motives. In doing so, we empirically illustrate that Austrian best practice organizations in DM and CSR claim to integrate moral and economic motives. Building on these findings, we propose to conceptually distinguish between moral and instrumental motives to better grasp their respective significance. We then argue that, though the integration of both sounds promising, it embodies a logically impossible stance: Organizations may incorporate particular practices because they either hold them as morally valuable ends in themselves or as useful means to increase performance. The integration of the two arguments (“doing well by doing good”) actually crowds out the essence of the moral argument. This does not mean that morally motivated action cannot lead to success, simply that the pursuit of success is incompatible with moral motivation. Perfunctory reference to the compatibility between moral and economic motivation to implement DM and CSR may therefore indicate organizations’ reluctance to admit their actual preference for instrumental motives. In this case, moral reasons might be being evoked merely to comply with social pressures—a clearly instrumental motive.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Chapter in edited volume
Language English
Title Uncovering the Myth of the Rational Good: Diversity Management and Corporate Social Responsibility in Austria
Title of whole publication CSR and Diversity Management
Editor Hansen, Katrin; Seierstad, Cathrine
Page from 93
Page to 106
Location Cham
Publisher Springer
Year 2017
Reviewed? Y
URL https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-43564-0_5
ISBN 978-3-319-43563-3
Open Access Y
Open Access Link https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2F978-3-319-43564-0_5.pdf


Mensi-Klarbach, Heike (Former researcher)
Leixnering, Stephan (Details)
Institute for Gender and Diversity in Organizations IN (Details)
Research Institute for Urban Management and Governance FI (Details)
Urban Management and Governance (Meyer) (Details)
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