The “I” in ISCT: Normative and Empirical Facets of Integration


Ethics and Business Law

Date of this version


Document Type



social contract _ integrative social contracts theory, moral free space, hypernorms, stakeholder theory


Abstract Integrative social contracts theory (ISCT) is a novel approach to normative questions and has been widely evaluated, discussed, and applied by academics and practitioners alike. While the ‘‘I’’ in ISCT leads the title, it has not received the analytical attention it deserves, especially since the ‘‘integrative’’ component in ISCT is multifaceted and at the conceptual core of the theory. In this paper we therefore take a closer look at two facets of integration. First, we examine the normative integration that takes place in ISCT. For our analysis we draw on theories of legitimacy and obligation. Second, given that empirical inquiry is an important part of the normative integration, we take a closer look at how research that has applied or used ISCT has embraced the empirical components of the theory. This analysis of the normative–empirical integration focuses on problems and realities of empirical inquiry in ISCT.

Published in

Journal of Business Ethics

Citation/Other Information

Glac, K & Kim, T. The “I” in ISCT: Normative and Empirical Facets of Integration. Journal of Business Ethics, 88 (Supplement 4), 2009, pp. 693-705