Corporate Social Responsibility and the ‘‘Divided Corporate Self’’: The case of Chiquita in Colombia

Topics: Business ethics, Colombia, Corporate social responsibility Pages: 25 (6067 words) Published: December 18, 2013
Ó Springer 2009

Journal of Business Ethics (2009) 88:595–603
DOI 10.1007/s10551-009-0313-8

Corporate Social Responsibility
and the ‘‘Divided Corporate Self’’:
The case of Chiquita in Colombia

ABSTRACT. This article employs Maak’s framework of
the seven ‘‘Cs’’ of Corporate Integrity to assess the problems faced by Chiquita Brands in dealing with
extortion by left-wing guerilla and right wing paramilitary
groups in Colombia from 1989 to 2004. Both types of
organizations used Chiquita payments to engage in terrorist activity in Colombia. The extended and systematic dealings with these groups were antithetical to the process
of corporate responsibility to which the firm was committed during the timeframe of 1998–2004, revealing a ‘‘divided self’’ in which major corporate activities diverged dramatically from the core values of the firm.

Maak’s framework provides a useful tool in analyzing the

Virginia G. Maurer is The Huber Hurst Professor of Business
Law and Legal Studies and Director of the Elizabeth B. and
William F. Poe, Sr. Center for Business Ethics Education
and Research in the Warrington College of Business at the
University of Florida. A graduate of Northwestern University (B.A.) and Stanford University (M.A., J.D.), she joined the
faculty of the Warrington College in 1980. During this
tenure, she has served as visiting professor or member of the faculty at The University of Michigan (spring 2008), Vanderbilt University, the Helsinki School of Economics and Business (Finland), SDA Bocconi Universita (Italy), The

University of Catania (Italy), and The University of
Cambridge (UK); as president of the Academy of Legal
Studies in Business, Editor in Chief of The American
Business Law Journal; and chair of the Department of
Management in the Warrington College. In 2006, the
Academy of Legal Studies in Business instituted an annual
award in her honor for the best ethics paper at its annual
meetings. She is the author of more than 30 books and
scholarly articles and has won several awards for her research and teaching. Currently serving on the Board of Directors of the University Athletic Association, Inc., on the Executive
Committee of her national professional organization, she has also served on numerous civic, professional, religious, and
business boards.

Virginia G. Maurer

division and the potential for applying lessons from the
case to our understanding of corporate social responsibility. KEY WORDS: corporate integrity, corporate social
responsibility, corporate responsibility, Chiquita, Colombia

Introduction
Over the past 20 years of business ethics scholarship,
a robust literature has developed around the domain
of corporate integrity, drawing from thought on
integrity as a philosophical construct (Calhoun,
1995; McFall, 1987), and as a human virtue (Audi
and Murphy, 2006; Becker 1998; Brown, 2005;
Petrick and Quinn, 2001) or cluster of virtues
(Solomon, 1993) and extrapolating to the corporate
organizational context (Brown, 2005; Koehn, 2005;
Srivastva et al., 1988; Solomon, 1999) and the processes of organizational management (Garriga and Mele, 2004; Kaptein and Wempe, 2002; Mayer,
2001; Paine, 1994; Wempe, 2008). Most recently,
Maak (2008) supports the construct of Corporate
Integrity as a useful ‘‘sense-making framework’’
(Maak, 2008, p. 365) that connects the various research domains of corporate social responsibility (CSR), business ethics, stakeholder theory, sustainability, and citizenship in a sensible and workable way. The approach, he argues, avoids a ‘‘piecemeal

approach in matters of ‘CSR,’ or corporate
responsibility’’ and, he proposes, better ‘‘align[s] the various integrity requirements and [integrates] issues
and levels, [making] corporations … much better
equipped to meet all and not just some of the ethics
challenges and thus to act responsibly’’ (Maak, 2008,

596

Virginia G. Maurer

p. 365). Finally, Maak identifies the...
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