CGBE Lecture: Cooperation and Collective Self-Commitment for the Greater Good

08:00 pm

Categories: Competence Center for Corporate Governance & Business Ethics

Date: 21.03.2019
Time: 08:00 pm
Location: FHWien der WKW, Währinger Gürtel 97, 1180 Vienna, Audimax

Prof. Dr. Philipp Schreck holds the Friede-Springer Endowed Chair of Business Ethics and Management Accounting at Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg (Germany). In his presentation, Prof. Dr. Schreck will focus on Cooperation and Collective Self-Commitment for the Greater Good. For more information, please refer to the abstract below. The lecture will be held in English.

This event is free of charge.

If you have any questions regarding the lecture series, please contact us at

Best regards,
Research Cluster SMEs & Family Businesses
Competence Center for Corporate Governance & Business Ethics

Companies regularly engage in collective initiatives to further the social good, or to reduce detrimental effects of their market activities. For example, companies of the textiles or the toys industries have supported multi-stakeholder initiatives with the aim of securing certain social and environmental standards in the supply chain. Recently, technology companies have offered their support for more regulation to avoid the abuse of facial recognition. Some of these initiatives display two interesting characteristics. First, they cannot be established by only one market participant alone; that is, they require a collective commitment. Second, they are designed to further the social good, but not necessarily the private profits of the participants. We call such initiatives collective self-commitments for the greater good.

We investigate experimentally whether market participants are willing and able to engage in collective self-commitments for the greater good. In my talk, I would like to report and discuss the results of these experiments. We designed a social dilemma game in which two decision-makers can cooperate in the interest of an affected but inactive third party. More specifically, we analyze three kinds of behavior: Cooperation for the greater good; peer-to-peer punishment of non-cooperative behavior; and the willingness to join an institution which allows for punishment. We find that although the majority of participants would like to sacrifice some private income for the sake of the third party, they fail to cooperate under competition (social dilemma). The possibility to punish others for non-cooperation increases cooperation. If given the opportunity to choose, however, only a third of all groups choose the punishment institution.

© Copyright 2019 FHW GmbH. Imprint