Accountable selves and responsibility within a global forum

Victoria Pagan, Kathryn Haynes*, Stefanie Reissner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


This study examines the accountability of the self among sustainability and humanitarian advocates participating in the World Economic Forum. Drawing from Butler’s (Giving an account of oneself. Fordham University Press, New York, 2005) philosophy, we explore how these individuals narrate their accountability to themselves and others, the contradictions they experience, and how they explain becoming responsible in this context. Our data illustrate the difficulties faced by these individuals in resisting the temptation to condemn themselves for compromising their own values, and/or to condemn others who think and behave differently. Through their humility in relation to their incoherent identities, and their generosity in engaging with others, the participants show their responsibility both to those they advocate for and to other delegates who may have different perspectives. The study illustrates how accountability to and of the self emerges through relations with others, how individuals struggle to resist ethical violence, and how they take up moral responsibility through human interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-270
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number2
Early online date14 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023


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