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Ethical Standards for Business Lobbying: Some Practical Suggestions


Rather than being inherently evil, business lobbying is a socially responsible activity which needs to be restrained by ethical standards. To be effective in a business environment, traditional ethical standards need to be translated into language which business persons can speak comfortably. Economical explanations must also be available to explain why ethical standards are appropriate in business. Eight such standards and their validating arguments are proposed with examples showing their use. Internal dialogues regarding the ethics of lobbying objectives and tactics will plausibly occur only in businesses which recognize social responsibility mandates. Public interest stakeholders could hasten this recognition by making use of information made available by the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 to institute external dialogues regarding lobbying by specific businesses and industry groups . Given practical ethical standards and the information on business lobbying provided by the law, the press, corporate activists, consumers, pension fund managers and the public can apply pressure for ethical lobbying practices.

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Spuma Rao and J. Brooke Hamilton III. “The Effect of Published Reports of Unethical Conduct on Stock Price,” The Journal of Business Ethics, 15: 13211330. 1996.

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Leonard J. Weber Citizenship and Democracy: The Ethics of Corporate Lobbying,” Business Ethics Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 2 (April), pp. 253259. 1996.

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Business Ethics Quarterly
  • ISSN: 1052-150X
  • EISSN: 2153-3326
  • URL: /core/journals/business-ethics-quarterly
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