The construction industry in general has a poor ethical reputation, being widely regarded by the public as a sector with corrupt practices, health and safety failures, and causing damage to the environment. A modern 21st century industry needs to consider how it orientates itself to the dilemma of conflicting stakeholder and ethical demands. The implications for stakeholders of the all pervasive drive for globalization in the construction industry is reviewed, leading to a consideration of the ethical relationship interfaces that construction organizations have with their stakeholders from the viewpoint of ethics, social contracts and corporate responsibility. Building upon earlier work a prototype stakeholder ethical responsibility matrix (SERM) is proposed as a management tool. Stakeholder management using an ethical perspective can meet the needs of both agency and stakeholder requirements. The increasingly complex global construction industry presents many challenges as key business decisions in construction are in reality moral decisions also. A completed version of the SERM offers a way forward for managing the ethical dimension of construction industry decision making.
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