This article assesses some of the implications of globalization for the scholarly debate on business ethics, CSR and related concepts. The argument is based, among other things, on the declining capacity of nation state institutions to regulate socially desirable corporate behavior as well as the growing corporate exposure to heterogeneous social, cultural and political values in societies globally. It is argued that these changes are shifting the corporate role towards a sphere of societal governance hitherto dominated by traditional political actors. This leads to a discussion of the ambivalent results of such a process for a responsible corporate role in a globalized world. While assessing the current reception these changes have received in the management literature, the contributions of the four articles in this Special Issue are framed and evaluated. The argument closes by highlighting avenues of future research on this new challenge.