Collective Action Initiatives in Response to the Digital Transformation

October 8, 2020
Photo by Yuyeung Lau on Unsplash
Photo by Yuyeung Lau on Unsplash

FH-Prof. Dr. Markus Scholz and Maria Riegler, MSc  published an article in the compendium “Digital Change and Ethics”, edited by Markus Hengstschläger and the Austrian Council for Research and Technology Development.

In their chapter “Responsible Innovation: Corporate Responsibility and Collective Action”, the two IBES researchers examine how Collective Action initiatives can help to meet the challenges of the digital transformation.

The effects of the digital transformation are among the “grand challenges” of the young 21st century. A high speed of innovation combined with multi-causal regulatory gaps can trigger massive negative consequences for society. Companies, understood as republican corporate citizens, bear a responsibility for society and especially for their specific stakeholders. The individual assumption of responsibility by companies is to be welcomed, but can be problematic from both a business and ethical perspective. To overcome these problems, companies can initiate or participate in collective action initiatives. This form of cooperation between companies, possibly involving other stakeholders, aims to solve problems of social relevance together. With the help of collective regulatory initiatives (private governance), existing regulatory gaps can be closed and the consequences of the digital transformation can be moderated and steered in a desired direction. Collective action initiatives are particularly necessary when innovation-related negative consequences are so complex that individual contributions to solutions by individual companies have only marginal effects, individual commitment entails competitive disadvantages, or efforts are made to combat systemic risks. From the perspective of entrepreneurial risk management, a high speed of innovation, a lack of public discourse on the risks of innovation, a low number of experts, weak regulators, a lack of transparency towards third parties and the ignorance of critical voices are decisive early warning signals for systemic risks. These risks can be countered by means of collective action.

Prominent co-authors include Markus Hengstschläger, Harald Welzer, Sarah Spiekermann, Julian Nida-Rümelin and others.

Link to the book: