Abstract

This paper draws attention to the concept of reciprocity as a key component of Habermas’ communication theory of justice in order to open up an action-theoretical discussion about who are more capable than others of understanding the silent voices of the counterpart and thereby achieving a reciprocal sympathy and recognition as a basis for an egalitarian economic transformation within the framework of responsible liberalism.

Reciprocity requires a norm of justice in terms of the fair distribution of speech chances, inclusive participation of actors and topics without restriction, willingness not only to speak but also to listen, two ways of active interpretation by rival perspectives in communication, self-transformation via learning from others, and reaching a voluntary agreement over common goals and values.

Those equipped with the norm of reciprocity in communication can better comprehend diversities, complexities as well as the conflict-ridden aspects of the society and, hence, can develop stronger capacity of nurturing sensitivity to sharing and living together.

This paper argues:

1) the recent change of value system of shareholders in support of corporate social responsibility can be interpreted from this communicative perspective of reciprocity and justice,

2) the transformation of classical liberalism into what we may call a ‘responsible’ liberalism can be further explored with regard to a new emerging trend of “stockowner-employee partnership” (SOE partnership). Finally, this paper will attempt an empirical analysis to demonstrate how the norm of reciprocity is reflected in the relationships between corporation and society, on the one hand, and between shareholders and employee, on the other, within a framework of responsible capitalist culture.

A survey data collected from a Korean company in 2012 will be analyzed.

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