Vincent Blok

Vincent Blok
Wageningen University & Research | WUR · Faculty of Social Science

Dr. MBA
Associate Professor Philosophy of Technology and Responsible Innovation, Wageningen University (The Netherlands)

About

213
Publications
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Introduction
Dr. Vincent Blok MBA is Associate Professor in Philosophy of Technology and Responsible Innovation at the Philosophy Group, Wageningen University (the Netherlands). See www.vincentblok.nl for current projects
Additional affiliations
September 2010 - March 2020
Wageningen University & Research
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
September 2009 - August 2013
Radboud University
Position
  • Research Associate

Publications

Publications (213)
Article
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IF YOU WANT TO RECEIVE THE PDF OF THE ARTICLE, SEND AN EMAIL TO VINCENT.BLOK@WUR.NL Companies committed to corporate social responsibility (CSR) should Ensure that their managers possess the appropriate competencies to effectively manage the CSR adaptation process. The literature provides insights into the individual competencies these managers ne...
Article
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This paper provides a phenomenological analysis of postphenomenological philosophy of technology. While acknowledging that the results of its analyses are to be recognized as original, insightful, and valuable, we will argue that in its execution of the empirical turn, postphenomenology forfeits a phenomenological dimension of questioning. By contr...
Article
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In this article, we critically reflect on the concept of biomimicry. On the basis of an analysis of the concept of biomimicry in the literature and its philosophical origin, we distinguish between a strong and a weaker concept of biomimicry. The strength of the strong concept of biomimicry is that nature is seen as a measure by which to judge the e...
Chapter
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In this chapter, we challenge the presupposed concept of innovation in the responsible innovation literature. As a first step, we raise several questions with regard to the possibility of ‘responsible’ innovation and point at several difficulties which undermine the supposedly responsible character of innovation processes, based on an analysis of t...
Chapter
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The inclusion of stakeholders in science is one of the core ideas in the field of responsible innovation. Conspiracists, however, are not your garden-variety stakeholders. As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, the conflict between conspiracists and science is deep and intractable. In this paper, we ask how the game of responsible innovation can be pl...
Article
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The emerging field of synthetic biology aims to engineer novel biological entities. The envisioned future bio-based economy builds largely on "cell factories": organisms that have been metabolically engineered to sustainably produce substances for human ends. In this paper, we argue that synthetic biology's goal of creating efficient production ves...
Article
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One of the pressing issues in philosophy of technology is the role of human creativity in human-technology relations. We first observe that a techno-centric orientation of philosophy of technology leaves open the role and contribution of human creativity in technological evolution, while an anthropocentric orientation leaves open the role of the te...
Article
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Grasping the identity of hybrids, that is beings which cross the binarism of nature and technology (e.g. genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), syn-bio inventions, biomimetic projects), is problematic since it is still guided by self-evident dualistic categories, either as artefacts or as natural entities. To move beyond the limitations of such a o...
Article
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In the last decade, the European Commission (EC) developed an ambitious strategy to promote RRI across the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (H2020). This effort resulted in a significant number of European-funded projects that substantially expanded the available knowledge of the theory, methods and implementation of RRI...
Article
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Public engagement is crucial to strengthen responsibility frameworks in highly innovative contexts, including as part of business organisations. One particular innovation that calls for public engagement is gamification. Gamification fosters changes in working practices to improve the organisation, efficiency and productivity of a business by intro...
Article
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The starting point of this article is the observation that the emergence of the Anthropocene rehabilitates the need for philosophical reflections on the ontology of technology. In particular, if technological innovations on an ontic level of beings in the world are created, but these innovations at the same time create the Anthropocene World at an...
Article
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This essay engages with Bernard Stiegler’s discussion with Martin Heidegger in The ordeal of Truth, published in Foundations of Science 2020 (this volume). It appreciates Stiegler’s progressive reading of Heidegger’s work but critically reflects on several elements in his work. A first element is the methodological aspect of Heidegger’s being histo...
Article
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Previous Responsible Innovation (RI) research has provided valuable insights on the value conflicts inherent to societally desirable innovation. By observing the responses of firms to these conflicts, Value-sensitive Absorptive Capacity (VAC) captures the organizational capabilities to become sensitive to these value conflicts and thus, innovate mo...
Article
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During the second half of the twentieth century, several philosophers of technology argued that their predecessors had reflected too abstractly and pessimistically on technology. In the view of these critics, one should study technologies empirically in order to fully understand them. They developed several strategies to empirically inform the phil...
Experiment Findings
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Article
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This collection of papers builds on the idea that the bioeconomy provides a framework for potentially effective solutions addressing the grand global challenges by a turn towards an increased use of biological resources, towards renewability and circularity. Consequently, it cannot be perceived as an end in itself. Thus, innovative endeavors within...
Article
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Because climate change can be seen as the blind spot of contemporary philosophy of technology , while the destructive side effects of technological progress are no longer deniable, this article reflects on the role of technologies in the constitution of the (post)Anthropo-cene world. Our first hypothesis is that humanity is not the primary agent in...
Book
In de filosofische traditie is de materiële aarde als thema altijd onderbelicht gebleven. Van Aristoteles en Descartes tot Nietzsche en Heidegger blijkt de aarde altijd te zijn gedacht vanuit de vorm, vanuit het denken of vanuit de wereld. Hierdoor is de aarde als passief, inert of zelfs niet-bestaand beschouwd, maar niet vanuit zichzelf. In tijden...
Article
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In this article, we address the question of how to explain the difference between traditional design, engineering, and technology, which have exploited nature and put increasing pressure on Earth's carrying capacity since the industrial revolution, and biomimetic design, which claims to explore nature's sustainable solutions and promises to be rege...
Article
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Traditional approaches to conflict are oriented towards establishing (or re-establishing) consensus, either in the form of a resolution of the conflict or in the form of an 'agree-to-disagree' standstill between the stakeholders. In this paper, we criticize these traditional approaches, each for specific reasons, and we propose and develop the agon...
Article
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Digital Twins are conceptualised in the academic technical discourse as real-time realistic digital representations of physical entities. Originating from product engineering , the Digital Twin quickly advanced into other fields, including the life sciences and earth sciences. Digital Twins are seen by the tech sector as the new promising tool for...
Article
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In this paper, we criticize the current focus of the bio-based economy (BBE) on efficiency and control and demonstrate the contradictions that this causes. We elucidate these tensions by comparing the BBE to alternative conceptions of economy that emphasise the relevance of both the human condition and unfathomable nature in the macro ecological tr...
Article
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Global challenges such as climate change, food security, or public health have become dominant concerns in research and innovation policy. This article examines how responses to these challenges are addressed by governance actors. We argue that appeals to global challenges can give rise to a ‘solution strategy' that presents responses of dominant a...
Article
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Green New Deal (GND) policies are proposed to tackle the climate emergency. These policies focus on driving climate innovation through unprecedented financial policy levers. However, while the macro-level financing dynamics are clear, the influence of niche level dynamics of sustainable innovation financing remain unexplored within these policy set...
Chapter
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In philosophical reflections on geoethics, it is primarily the question of what it means to be ‘part’ of the Earth system that is critically reflected upon. As the current geological era of the Anthropocene disrupts the dichotomy between Human agency and the Earth system, philosophers criticise a humanist account of geoethics and call for a post-hu...
Book
This book reflects on the nature of business management to contribute to the development of a philosophy and ethics of management. It engages in conceptual engineering of management to delineate the phenomenon of management and, as a result, to open a new perspective on management beyond its self-evident conceptualization. After questioning the se...
Article
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A Correction to this paper has been published: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40926-021-00177-x
Article
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The current challenges of implementing responsible innovation (RI) can in part be traced back to the (implicit) assumptions behind the ways of thinking that ground the different pre-existing theories and approaches that are shared under the RI-umbrella. Achieving the ideals of RI, therefore not only requires a shift on an operational and systemic l...
Article
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The concept of innovation has entered a turbulent age. On the one hand, it is uncritically understood as ‘technological innovation’ and ‘commercialized innovation.’ On the other hand, ongoing research under the heading responsible research and innovation (RRI) suggests that current global issues require innovation to go beyond its usual intent of g...
Article
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The concept of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) has been developed in the Global North with little reference to what RRI or RRI-like practices mean in the context of the Global South. We discuss the contextual factors driving the emergence of responsible innovation practice and ways in which they can inform efforts to develop an inclusive...
Article
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The transgressive ontological character of hybrids—entities crossing the ontological binarism of naturalness and artificiality, e.g., biomimetic projects—calls for pondering the question of their ethical status, since metaphysical and moral ideas are often inextricably linked. The example of it is the concept of “moral considerability” and related...
Article
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Praised as a panacea for resolving all societal issues, and self-evidently presupposed as technological innovation, the concept of innovation has become the emblem of our age. This is especially reflected in the context of the European Union, where it is considered to play a central role in both strengthening the economy and confronting the current...
Chapter
Responsible innovation (RI) receives a high interest from the society; however, its practical implementation remains complicated because of the lack of operationalisation that would allow integrating RI into existing organisational processes, especially, in industrial contexts. Most prior research on RI in the industry seek to move forward firm’s i...
Article
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This editorial sketches the relevancy and urgency of philosophical reflection on issues in ecological management. It subsequently provides a research agenda for future research on ecological management in the field of philosophy of management. Finally, it introduces the three articles that are part of this special issue.
Article
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R&D collaborations between industry, government, civil society, and research (also known as 'quadruple helix collaborations' (QHCs)) have recently gained attention from R&D theorists and practitioners. In aiming to come to grips with their complexity, past models have generally taken a stakeholder-analytical approach based on stakeholder types. Yet...
Article
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Food and beverage firms are frequently criticised for their impact on the spread of non-communicable diseases like obesity and diabetes type 2. In this article we explore under what conditions the sales and marketing of unhealthy food and beverage products is irresponsible. Starting from the notion of ordinary morality we argue that firms have a du...
Article
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The title of the article in the initial online publication was mixed up with copy editing information. The original article has been corrected.
Article
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Historically, scientific and engineering expertise has been key in shaping research and innovation (R&I) policies, with benefits presumed to accrue to society more broadly over time (1). But there is persistent and growing concern about whether and how ethical and societal values are integrated into R&I policies and governance, as we confront publi...
Article
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The embedding and promotion of social change is faced with a paradoxical challenge. In order to mainstream an approach to social change such as responsible research and innovation (RRI) and make it into a practical reality rather than an abstract ideal, we need to have conceptual clarity and empirical evidence. But, in order to be able to gather em...
Article
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The COVID-19 crisis opened up discussions on using online tools and platforms for academic work, e.g. for research (management) events that were originally designed as face-to-face interactions. As social scientists working in the domain of responsible research and innovation (RRI), we draft this paper to open up a dialogue on Responsible online Re...
Article
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In this article, we philosophically reflect on the nature of business management. We move beyond the political paradigm of the conceptualization of management in order to lay the ground for a philosophy of business management. First, we open-up the self-evident conceptualization of business management in contemporary management practices by compari...
Article
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Because corporate social responsibility (CSR) is potentially beneficial for companies, it is important to understand the factors that improve a company’s CSR practice. Scholars hypothesize that facilitating learning organization characteristics, which are divided in characteristics at the organizational and the operational level, may improve CSR im...
Article
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SEND A MAIL TO VINCENT.BLOK@WUR.NL IF YOU WANT TO RECEIVE THE PDF In this paper we investigate the fundamental idea at stake in current bioeconomies, such as Europe's Bio-Based Economy (BBE). We argue that basing an economy upon ecology is an ambivalent effort, causing confusion and inconsistencies. The dominant framing of the damaged biosphere a...
Preprint
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This chapter explores the concept and practice of responsible innovation in business contexts. Responsible innovation is seen as a key response to the grand challenges faced by society and as a way to limit unintended consequences and outcomes that often accompany innovation efforts. The power and influence that businesses has means that the uptake...
Article
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In this article, we philosophically reflect on the nature of corporate governance. We raise the question whether control is still a feasible ideal of corporate governance and reflect on the implications of the epistemic insufficiency of economic institutions with regard to grand challenges like of global warming for our conceptualization of corpora...
Article
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Front-of-pack (FoP) labels are regarded as helpful tools to stimulate healthier product reformulationas they are based on nutrient criteria that products should comply with in order to obtain the label. Some FoP labelling programs revise criteria periodically. This is the first study investigating the impact of criteria revisions on product composi...
Article
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PLEASE SEND ME A REQUEST IF YOU WANT TO RECEIVE THE PDF The responsibility of the food and beverage industry for noncom-municable diseases is a controversial topic. Public health scholars identify the food and beverage industry as one of the main contributors to the rise of these diseases. We argue that aside from moral duties like not doing harm...
Research
Link: https://www.springer.com/journal/10806/updates/17328216 (Call for papers Special Issue in the Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics - The Normative Dimension of Transformations towards a Sustainable Bioeconomy – Expanding the Economic Perspective) We invite papers to a special issue which will focus on the ethical aspects to be c...
Research
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see attached file for the call text. for more information: vincent.blok@wur.nl for submissions: https://euspri2020.nl/call-for-papers/
Chapter
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In this chapter, we develop the claim that today, in light of the distributed catastrophe called the Anthropocene, the question of ethics first and foremost becomes a question of economy and energy. Supplementing existing ethical approaches to the question of economy and energy, we offer what we understand to be a more fundamental economical interp...
Chapter
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This chapter explores the concept and practice of responsible management of innovation. Responsible innovation is a key response to the grand challenges faced by society, helping to develop innovations with society in mind, and limit any unintended consequences. Responsible managers with influence over innovations need knowledge and understanding o...
Article
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This paper offers a twofold ontological conceptualization of technology in the Anthropocene. On the one hand, we aim to show how the Anthropocene occasions an experience of our inescapable inclusion in the technological structuring of reality that Martin Heidegger associates with cybernetics. On the other hand, by confronting Heidegger's thought on...
Article
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In this special issue we will investigate, from the perspective of agricultural ethics (e.g. animal welfare, agricultural and food ethics, environmental ethics etc.) the potential to develop a Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) approach to agriculture, and the limitations to such an enterprise. RRI is an emerging field in the European resear...
Research
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call for papers for a workshop in Wageningen, The netherlands. see the call below
Research
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Call for papers for the next philosophy of management conference in Oxford (2020)
Article
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We propose the use of discussion structures as tools for analyzing policy debates in a way that enables the increased participation of lay stakeholders. Discussion structures are argumentation-theoretical tools that can be employed to tackle three barriers that separate lay stakeholders from policy debates: difficulty, magnitude, and complexity. We...
Book
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This book provides new interpretations of Heidegger’s philosophical method in light of 20th-century postmodernism and 21st-century speculative realism. In doing so, it raises important questions about philosophical method in the age of global warming and climate change. Vincent Blok addresses topics that have yet to be extensively discussed in Hei...
Article
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In this article, we reflect on the nature of innovation to lay the ground for a philosophy of innovation. First, we contrast the contemporary techno-economic paradigm of innovation with the work of Joseph Schumpeter. It becomes clear that Schumpeter's work provides good reasons to question the techno-economic paradigm of innovation. Second, we cont...
Article
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The majority of studies on absorptive capacity (AC) underscore the importance of absorbing technological knowledge from other firms to create economic value. However, to preserve moral legitimacy and create social value, firms must also discern and adapt to (shifts in) societal values. A comparative case study of eight firms in the food industry re...
Article
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this is the introduction to a special issue of environmental values on the philosophy of biomimicry
Article
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PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL TO VINCENT.BLOK@WUR.NL IF YOU WANT TO RECEIVE THE PDF Many companies engage in dialogue with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) about societal issues. The question is what a regulative ideal for such dialogues should be. In the literature on corporate social responsibility (CSR), the Habermasian notion of communicative actio...
Article
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The Anthropocene overthrows classical dichotomies like technology and nature and a new type of beings emerges: hybrids. The transitive status of hybrids-which establishes an extra, separate, "third" ontological category, going beyond the dichotomy between nature and technology-constitutes a significant problem for environmental philosophy and philo...
Chapter
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In this chapter, we explore Xenophon’s philosophy of management and identify nine dimensions of business management, as well as the competencies (the knowledge, skills, and virtues) that good management requires. The scientific contribution of this chapter does not only consist in the fact that this is the first publications in which Xenophon’s phi...
Chapter
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In this paper, we explore the opportunities and limitations of the ideal of transparency in responsible (research and) innovation, by consulting the virtual case of ‘The Circle’, a company which appears in Dave Eggers’ recent novel The Circle. The Circle is a high-tech company that provides services like Google and Facebook. The mission of The Circ...
Article
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The circular economy (CE) framework has captured the attention of industry and academia and received strong policy support. It is currently deemed as a powerful solution for sustainability, despite ongoing criticism on its oversimplification and lack of consideration of socio-ethical issues. In parallel, the concept of RRI has emerged strongly with...
Article
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Innovation leads to new products, business models and even changes to socioeconomic systems. However, it is important that innovation has the 'right impacts'. Responsible innovation can help to achieve this; however, it is unclear how to introduce responsible innovation to real-world, competitive, industry settings. We explore this challenge in the...
Article
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Sustainable entrepreneurs are key actors in sustainability transitions; they develop needed innovations, create markets, and pressure incumbents. While socio-technical transitions literature is well developed, questions remain in terms of (1) the different roles that sustainable entrepreneurs can play in sustainable transitions, and (2) how best to...
Article
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If the world in which we are intentionally involved is threatened by climate change, this raises the question about our place on Earth. In this article, we argue that the ecological crisis we face today draws our attention to the Earth as ontic-ontological condition of our being-in-the-world. Because the Earth is often reflected upon in relation to...
Article
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The upcoming concept of responsible innovation seems to gain foothold in Europe and beyond, but it still remains unknown how it can be implemented in the business context. This article explores how social entrepreneurs integrate values into their de facto responsible innovations, and provides empirically informed strategies to develop, implement an...
Article
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One of the main contentions of the framework for Responsible Innovation (RI) is that social and ethical aspects have to be addressed by deliberative engagement with stakeholders and the wider public throughout the innovation process. The aim of this article is to reflect on the question to what extent is deliberative engagement suitable for conduct...
Chapter
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Abstract Contrary to the tendency to harmony, consensus and alignment among stakeholders in most of the literature on participation and partnership in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Responsible Innovation (RI) practices, in this chapter we ask which concept of participation and partnership is able to account for stakeholder engagement wh...
Chapter
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In this chapter, I philosophically reflect on the management of corporate responsibility in the case of innovation. I first set the scene by contrasting responsibility in corporate social responsibility and innovation ethics, and arguing that classical conceptualizations of backward and forward looking responsibility are inappropriate in the case o...