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Call for Contributions Firms and Moral Repair.

Increasingly, firms publicly acknowledge responsibility for prior wrongs. For example, on February 1st 2024, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, apologized in the US Senate for the consequences of his products on families and children across the US. Beyond issuing apologies, more often than before, firms also commit resources to mend the negative consequences of their actions. The initiatives taken by Sibanye-Stillwater following the 2012 Marikana mine massacre in South Africa (Vives-Gabriel & Merwe, 2023) and Samarco in the aftermath of the 2015 collapse of the Doce River Dam in Brazil (Nabuco & Aleixo, 2019) are some of the most emblematic yet controversial examples of corporate attempts to mend abuses of human rights and the environment. Against this backdrop, we seem to have truly entered the “age of apology” (Gibney, 2008).

Moral repair, a term originally coined and developed by moral philosophers (e.g., Radzik, 2009; Walker, 2006), refers to practices that allow victims of (corporate) wrongdoings to move from a situation of damage to one where (some) stability in moral relationships is regained (Walker, 2006, p. 6). Scholarship on social issues in management and business ethics has begun to explore the concept of moral repair, albeit from diverse angles. Some scholars have emphasized the significance of restoring legitimacy and trust with stakeholders (Gillespie & Dietz, 2009; Pfarrer et al., 2008), while others have called for expanding the horizons of business ethics by applying restorative justice lenses in the aftermath of corporate wrongs (Goodstein & Butterfield, 2010; Schormair & Gerlach, 2020). In a more recent study, Vives-Gabriel et al. (2022) offer a degree of conceptual clarity by theoretically delineating moral repair’s procedural and substantive components. Relatedly, scholars have initiated discussions on the mechanisms through which firms may take responsibility for historical misbehaviors such as slavery, colonialism, or collaboration with oppressive regimes (Schrempf-Stirling et al., 2016; Van Lent & Smith, 2020; Vives-Gabriel et al., 2024).

However, despite progress, the scholarly discussion on moral repair remains fragmented and its broader impact on management research limited. By organizing this exploratory workshop, we aim to facilitate idea generation, collaborative brainstorming, and the mapping of potential avenues for expanding the concept of moral repair in the field of management. The workshop aims to engage participants in exploring questions such as: Can moral repair become a distinct field of inquiry, and if yes, how? Could there be a “theory of moral repair” for firms? What fundamental theories/perspectives can inform moral repair? How can studies of moral repair discussion connect with a larger (management) audience?

In this workshop, we invite scholars from various disciplines to contribute with original normative, empirical, and theoretical insights at micro, meso, and macro levels of analysis of moral repair. Some of the most pressing topics to be discussed in the workshop include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Remedies for business-related human rights wrongs.
  • Corporate moral reparations versus legally mandated reparations: tensions, overlaps, and opportunities.
  • Corporate moral agency.
  • Leadership and moral repair.
  • Moral repair in the workplace.
  • Different wrongs, different remedies? Corporate remedy in the wake of gender, environmental, discrimination, and fraud abuses.
  • The opportunities and limitations of corporate engagement in symbolic forms of repair – e.g.: apologies, commemorations, memorials.
  • Tensions between procedural and substantive dimensions of moral repair.
  • Stakeholder relationship reparation following a transgression.
  • Corporate remedy in transitional justice contexts.
  • Acknowledgement of responsibility, corporate reparations, and the legal consequences for the firm.
  • Spiritual traditions for corporate moral remedy theorization.

Scholars interested in participating in the workshop are invited to submit an extended abstract by September 30th, 2024. The outcome of the call for abstracts will be communicated by early October 2024.

No conference fee applies for this workshop. However, participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodation expenses. The organization will provide meals during the workshop.

Please remember to submit your extended abstract (between 1000 - 2500 words) to Jordi Vives Gabriel: You can contact Jordi, as well, in case you have any questions.


  • Dr. Jordi Vives-Gabriel, Senior Research Fellow, IESE Business School.
  • Dr. Wim Van Lent, Associate Professor, IESEG. 

Selected References

Gibney, M. (2008). The Age of Apology: Facing Up to the Past. University of Pennsylvania Press.

Gillespie, N., & Dietz, G. (2009). Trust repair after an organization-level failure. Academy of Management Review, 34(1), 127–145.

Goodstein, J., & Butterfield, K. (2010). Extending the Horizon of Business Ethics: Restorative Justice and the Aftermath of Unethical Behavior. Business Ethics Quarterly, 20(3), 453–480. 

Nabuco, J., & Aleixo, L. (2019). Rights Holders’ Participation and Access to Remedies: Lessons Learned from the Doce River Dam Disaster. Business and Human Rights Journal, 4(1), 147–153. 

Pfarrer, M. D., Decelles, K. A., Smith, K. G., & Taylor, M. S. (2008). After the fall: Reintegrating the corrupt organization. Academy of Management Review, 33(3), 730–749.

Radzik, L. (2009). Making Amends: Atonement in Morality, Law, and Politics. Oxford University Press. Table of contents only

Schormair, M. J. L., & Gerlach, L. M. (2020). Corporate Remediation of Human Rights Violations: A Restorative Justice Framework. Journal of Business Ethics, 167(3), 475–493.

Schrempf-Stirling, J., Palazzo, G., & Phillips, R. A. (2016). Historic corporate social responsibility. Academy of Management Review, 41(4), 700–719.

Van Lent, W., & Smith, A. D. (2020). Using versus excusing: The Hudson’s Bay Company’s long-term engagement with its (prob-lematic) past. Journal of Business Ethics, 166(2), 215–231.  

Vives-Gabriel, J., & Merwe, H. van der. (2023). Remedy and Accountability a Decade after the Marikana Massacre. Business and Human Rights Journal, 8(1), 115–119. 

Vives-Gabriel, J., Schrempf-Stirling, J., & Coraiola, D. (2024). Legacies of irresponsibility: organizational responses and policy implications. Forthcoming in Academy of Management Perspectives.

Vives-Gabriel, J., Van Lent, W., & Wettstein, F. (2022). Moral Repair: Toward a Two-Level Conceptualization. Business Ethics Quarterly, 1–31.

Walker, M. U. (2006). Moral repair: Reconstructing moral relations after wrongdoing. Cambridge University Press.

Monday, November 18, 2024 - Tuesday, November 19, 2024
Barcelona North Campus Carrer Arnús i Garí, 3-7, 08034, Barcelona, ES