Document Type


Publication Date



Social responsibility of business, Business ethics, Professional corporations, Expert systems (Computer science) -- Business applications


A theoretical base for studying ethics in action is developed. In previous work, we propose a responsibility ethic, normative stakeholder theory, and discourse ethics as components of ethical decision making within organizational contexts. Here, we argue that structuration theory provides theoretical depth and conceptual integration to the ideas presented in our earlier work. The previous work is briefly discussed and structuration theory is reviewed. Ethically informed action is formulated within the context of structuration theory as a consideration and instantiation of structural features. Ethical action is predicated on the agent’s accountability within the context of an ongoing community. Accountability requires the explication of reasons for one’s actions and the justification, or legitimation (normative grounds) for the reasons given. The question of expert systems applications within a professional service organization is used as the vehicle for illustrating how the theoretical ideas might be implemented in identifying and addressing ethical dilemmas.


Paper presented at the 2002 Critical Perspectives on Accounting Conference, April 25-27, 2002, New York NY.

Persistent Identifier

Included in

Business Commons