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Calderón, R. (Reyes); Piñero-Moral, R. (Ricardo); Redin-Goñi, D. (Dulce). "Understanding independence: Board of directors and CSR". Frontiers in psichology. 11, 2020, 552152
On August Business Roundtable (2019), the Business Roundtable redefined the
purpose and social responsibility of the corporation. Yet, this statement must be followed
by substantial changes in the business models of corporations for it to avoid becoming
empty rhetoric. We believe that the figure of the independent director may be one of the
catalysts needed for this change of paradigm for corporations. In spite of the positive
correlation between Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and board independence,
the development of the independence of boards during the last decade has not lead
to the expected CSR results. Academics and regulators point to a weak definition and
the non-standardized measurement of both independence and board independence
(BI) as one possible explanation, and agree that a broader definition is needed. This
paper aims to contribute to this debate. We develop a second-generation definition
of independence based on a positive approximation to the concept by integrating an
Aristotelian perspective of virtue ethics with the best practices of corporate governance.
Thus, we define independence as a virtue guided by practical wisdom, that implies
autonomy and autarky and which enables a person to act with integrity, fairness and
truthfulness. In the context of corporate governance, independence is associated with
an honest disposition to serve. Our proposal has political implications for supervisors
that make decisions relating to the suitability of board members.