Analysis of the political and identity dynamics of a dominant mode of control: the case of business ethics control and its legalization

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


External organisations

  • Univ Bordeaux
  • Université Paris-Dauphine, PSL Research University, Paris, France.


This research studies the political and identity dynamics involved in the formation of a dominant mode of business ethics control. Through analysis of the ethical tool design process at five French multinationals, this empirical study reveals how business ethics is becoming legalized. This legalization is explained by a structure of domination that favours a legalistic approach, the diffusion of tools prepared by the legalistic designers, and a socio-cognitive identity strategy applied by the dominated group, the moralist designers. The individualization of responsibility is identified as a major risk associated with excessive legalization in business ethics.


Original languageEnglish
Article number102291
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Early online date5 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Mar 2021


  • Ethics, Control, Power, Identity, Legalization