The question of corporate responsibility in poor and undemocratic countries, has been addressed by a CMI strategic institute programme (SIP) entitled "Business ethics for multinational corporations in developing countries". The programme, which has run from 2004 to 2006, has resulted in several international publications, and garnered significant media attention. This brief relates the major results of the programme. Three perspectives on business ethics The programme distinguishes between three different perspectives on business ethics:

  • The normative perspective asks what corporations ought to do, what responsibilites do corporations have and to whom
  • The instrumental perspective studies what responsibilities are profitable and in the interest of firms to pursue, and how firms can be given incentives to fulfil their other responsibilities
  • The descriptive perspective asks what firms actually do in the area of business ethics

The programme has obtained important results for all three perspectives, which are highlighted in turn below.