Integrative social contract theory and urban prosperity initiatives

Anita Cava, Don Mayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Urban communities in 21st century America are facing severe economic challenges, ones that suggest a mandate to contemplate serious changes in the way America does business. The middle class is diminishing in many parts of the country, with consequences for the economy as a whole. When faced with the loss of its economic base, any business community must make some difficult decisions about its proper role and responsibilities. Decisions to support the community must be balanced alongside and against responsibilities to owners, shareholders and relevant "stakeholders" in a relatively new context. Corporations in urban communities "hollowed out" by white flight or urban sprawl must decide what level of support they can and should provide. This paper examines corporate decisions within the emerging urban prosperity initiatives, using the framework of integrative social contract theory proposed by Donaldson and Dunfee. We suggest that urban prosperity initiatives present a mandate on corporations sufficiently strong as to qualify as an authentic norm. Further, we argue that strict adherence to a corporate bottom line approach or "corporate isolationism" is not congruent with contemporary community standards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-278
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Authentic norm
  • Community engagement
  • Community prosperity
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Integrative social contract theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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