Business and Human Rights
The Business and Human Rights (BHR) discourse is heavily reliant on a compliance logic where businesses ought to respect Human Rights because of legal or regulatory requirements or societal expectations.
In this very short paper (in German) the Author and Director of the Humanistic Management Center, Ernst von Kimakowitz, questions the soundness of applying a compliance driven rationality to the respect for human rights by business organizations.
The reason is straight forward: a compliance logic requires laws, rules, regulations or expectations to comply with. In consequence a compliance driven approach is conditional upon the existence of such laws, rules, regulations or expectations. This however stands in sharp contrast to the requisite unconditionality with which businesses ought to respect Human Rights and also the unconditional character of the respect for human dignity as we propose in Humanistic Management. Hence, so argues the author, we need to attain an attitude where the respect for human rights is positioned as a precondition and an enabler for free enterprise rather than being viewed as a limitation that has to be respected (only) if certain conditions are present, as the compliance logic suggests.
The paper is a commentary to a presentation by Prof. Florian Wettstein, Director of the Institute for Business Ethics at the University of St. Gallen. Both his presentation and the commentary have been published in a book commemorating the 25th anniversary of the institute. You can also find the book in the book section of this website.