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1. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 40 > Issue: 2
Tim Loughrist Intolerable Ideologies and the Obligation to Discriminate
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In this paper, I argue that businesses bear a pro tanto, negative, moral obligation to refuse to engage in economic relationships with representatives of intolerable ideologies. For example, restaurants should refuse to serve those displaying Nazi symbols. The crux of this argument is the claim that normal economic activity is not a morally neutral activity but rather an exercise of political power. When a business refuses to engage with someone because of their membership in some group, e.g., Black Americans, this is a use of political power to signal that Black Americans are other. Conversely, when businesses engage with someone who is clearly representing an intolerable ideology, this is a use of political power that signals the acceptability of that ideology. Businesses should not do this.
2. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 40 > Issue: 2
Ben Lupton, Atif Sarwar Blame at Work: Implications for Theory and Practice from an Empirical Study
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Existing work in the field of business ethics has explored how concepts in philosophy and other disciplines can be applied to blame at work, and considers blame’s potential impact on organisations and their employees. However, there is little empirical evidence of organisational blaming practices and their effects. This article presents an analysis of interviews with twenty-seven employees from a range of occupations, exploring their experience of blame, its rationale and impact. A diversity of blaming practices and perspectives is revealed, and in making sense of these the authors draw on recent theoretical developments—Skarlicki, Kay, Aquino, and Fushtey’s (2017) concept of ‘swift-blame,’ and Fricker’s (2016) notion of ‘communicative blame.’ The study also reveals a tension between a desire to avoid ‘blaming’ on the one hand, and a need for ‘accountability,’ on the other, and the authors explore the implications of the findings for organisations in seeking to ‘manage’ blame.
3. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 40 > Issue: 2
Richard P. Nielsen Ethical and Political-Economic Dimensions and Potential Reforms of the Hybrid Leveraged, High Frequency, Artificial Intelligence Trading Model
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The average annual profits before fees of the $10 billion plus Renaissance Technologies’ hybrid Medallion “Leveraged, High Frequency, Artificial Intelligence (LHFAI)” trading hedge fund between 1988 and 2019 were about 66 percent. Total trading profits during this period were over $100 billion. The fund has never had a losing year. The fund is not open to the general public. First, distinctions among, in more or less historical order, the traditional market-maker trading model, the hedge fund trading model, the artificial intelligence trading model, and the hybrid LHFAI trading model are discussed. Second, the micro components of the LHFAI trading model are explained in the context of Renaissance Technologies’ Medallion Fund. Third, key positive contributions of the model with respect to profitability, low annual volatility, market liquidity, and intellectual property development; negative ethical issues concerning exclusive access, tax fairness, financial transparency, shared responsibility for losses and systemic risk, and short vs. long-term capital allocation are discussed. Potential reforms that retain the positives, reduce the negatives, and that could positively transform the model are discussed. Fourth, potential impacts that the potential reforms might have on the macro LHFAI form of finance capitalism and the larger finance capitalism political-economic system are considered. Fifth, conclusions are offered and discussed.
4. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 40 > Issue: 2
Abraham P. Schwab Systemic versus Severable Conflicts of Interest
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This paper is split into two parts. The first half analyzes conflicts of interests’ effects on judgment, the harms these effects threaten, and our current policies and practices for handling conflicts of interest. This analysis relies on scholarship in several fields, most prominently psychology, all of which have reasons to worry about conflicts of interest. This analysis will show that our current classifications of conflicts of interest and our current strategies for handling conflicts of interest are confusing, of dubious benefit, or both. The second half provides some tools for helping us to limit or avoid the harms of conflicts of interest. These simple tools focus on how we think about and classify conflicts of interest. Specifically, I recommend beginning to classify conflicts of interest in a new way: as either severable or systemic. These new classifications are not intended to be heavy conceptual machinery, but simple and valuable tools. These new classifications, even though they are not meant to be exhaustive or comprehensive, help delineate tractable strategies and help determine the distribution of responsibilities for addressing specific conflicts of interest.
5. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 40 > Issue: 2
Marc Steen, Martin Sand, Ibo Van de Poel Virtue Ethics for Responsible Innovation
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Governments and companies are increasingly promoting and organizing Responsible Innovation. It is, however, unclear how the seemingly incompatible demands for responsibility, which is associated with care and caution, can be harmonized with demands for innovation, which is associated with risk-taking and speed. We turn to the tradition of virtue ethics and argue that it can be a strong accomplice to Responsible Innovation by focussing on the agential side of innovation. Virtue ethics offers an adequate response to the epistemic and moral complexity in innovation and encourages moral behaviour. We enumerate a number of virtues that people involved in Responsible Innovation would need to cultivate both related to responsibility, such as justice, anticipation, civility and inclusion, and virtues related to innovation, such as courage, dedication, curiosity and creativity. We put forward practical wisdom (phronesis) as a key virtue to regulate relevant virtues and to deal with the tension between responsibility and innovation. Practical wisdom helps an agent to find an appropriate mean in exercising and expressing the other virtues—where the mean is relative to the specific context of action and the role and abilities of the agent.
6. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 40 > Issue: 2
Notes on Contributors
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7. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Julia A. Fulmore, Anthony L. Fulmore Sr. Examining Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment as Motivators of Unethical Pro-Organizational Behavior
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The present study evaluated the relationship between job satisfaction and unethical pro-organizational behavior (UPB), directly as well as indirectly, through organizational commitment. Multidimensional constructs were utilized for job satisfaction and organizational commitment to provide a granular understanding of how these constructs can motivate employees to engage in UPB, which can threaten organizations' success and diminish the public's confidence in organizations. In order to test these relationships, a diverse sample of 617 participants was recruited through the online survey distribution platform Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk®) to test the theoretical model using structural equation modeling (SEM). The results indicated that identification, affiliation, and exchange commitment served as intervening variables between growth satisfaction and UPB, while no significant indirect effect of internal work motivation on UPB was found. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
8. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Franklin Ibáñez A Necessary Ethics Definition for Conflicts of Interest
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The paper examines Villarán’s definition of conflicts of interest to improve it. Some clarifications are necessary but also some amendments. The basic difference consists of first distinguishing between interest and moral grounds, and, second, by emphasizing the voluntary nature of the commitment of the person facing a conflict of interest. Such a commitment arises within a work-related or professional context. It must be explicit with regard to individuals, public institutions, private organizations, whether for profit or nonprofit, or professional associations. To support this concept, a method is used that is similar to the recent tradition of the English-speaking world expressed by Rawls, instead of the search for universal or essentialist concepts of the Platonic tradition. The result is not a true definition of conflicts of interest, but a necessary one given our historical-social context.
9. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Javier Pinto-Garay, Germán Scalzo, Ignacio Ferrero Autonomy and Subordination: Virtuous Work in Light of Aristotelian Practical Knowledge in Organizational Theory
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This paper aims to integrate the concept of autonomous and subordinated work into Aristotelian organizational theory by enhancing the epistemological framework of neo-Aristotelianism and by adding a Thomistic interpretation of organizational practical knowledge. We sustain that, in order to advance our understanding of the firm in terms of excellence and the common good, the concept of practical knowledge applied to organizational theory requires reflection on the nature of work in modern organizations. For this, we will explain (i) how an organization that aims for excellence is most appropriately defined as a community of autonomous work, (ii) how practical knowledge in organizations must be defined considering work as deliberative production and, finally, (iii) how productivity in organizations is best described when work is envisioned in terms of autonomy and subordination.
10. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
John Paul Rollert The Gift Outright?: Philanthropic Aspirations and the Ethics of Giving
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What does it mean to aspire to philanthropy? How might this shape popular views about charitable purpose? By one-on-one interviews and a review of the ethics of giving in the American experience, I take a long look at how views on philanthropic giving have changed over time and how this has helped to shape, and re-shape, the ethics of giving.
11. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Nandita Roy Applying Kant’s Ethics to Video Game Business Models: Which Ones Pass Muster?
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This article expands on existing models of analyzing business ethics of monetization in video games using the concept of categorical imperatives, as posited by the philosopher Immanuel Kant. A model is advanced to analyze and evaluate the business logics of video game monetization using a Kantian framework, which falls in the deontological category of normative ethics. Using two categorical imperatives, existing models of game monetization are divided into ethical or unethical, and presented using the case example of Star Wars: Battlefront II (2017). This analysis aims to provide video game developers and businesses with ethical guidelines for game monetization which may also be profitable for them in the long term. Within the framework of video game monetization, a deontological analysis is relevant due to the fact that the game developer is engaged in a continuous role of making the game more playable/payable. This article applies Kantian business ethics to the context of a new sector, that of video game businesses, and thereby presents a broader ethical perspective to video game developers, which will help them monetize games in an ethical manner which is also profitable in the long run.
12. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Notes on Contributors
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13. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 39 > Issue: 3
David Bevan, Kenneth E. Goodpaster The Business Ethics Pioneers Project: An Introduction and a First Sample
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14. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 39 > Issue: 3
Thomas Hemphill, Scott Johnson Premium-Priced, Branded Generic Pharmaceuticals in Emerging Economies: A Socially Responsible Consumer Pricing Strategy?
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Is it socially responsible to price at a premium, company branded generic pharmaceuticals in emerging economies? Building toward an answer to this question, the study first describes the role of the branded generic sector in the economic success of the global pharmaceutical industry. Second, the concept of “shared value,” i.e., the link between competitive advantage (and its theoretical antecedents found in corporate reputation and signaling theory) and corporate social responsibility (CSR), is introduced and applied to the global pharmaceutical industry’s position on marketing generic pharmaceuticals. Third, an empirical evaluation ascertains whether there is sufficient shared value for this company branded generics pricing strategy to be considered “socially responsible.” Fourth, after concluding there is sufficient shared value, a discussion section offers a public/private (corporate and industry self-regulation) framework that will help ensure that safe and effective pharmaceuticals are sold to consumers in developing economies. Lastly, a summary and conclusion section completes the article.
15. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 39 > Issue: 3
Wenling Lu, Benjamin Yeo Time-Varying Relations between Seven Dimensions of CSR and Firm Risk
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This study examines the relationship between corporate social responsibility (CSR), a central ethical concern, and firm total risk, a central business concern, using a large US dataset spanning 1991 to 2015. It includes considerations for the recent financial crisis to establish whether firm engagement in specific CSR dimensions decrease (i.e., the risk reduction hypothesis) or increase (i.e., the resource constraint hypothesis) firm risk. The findings demonstrate the impact of CSR engagement is different, depending on the specific CSR dimension in question, and the relationship between each of the seven CSR dimensions and total risk is time varying. Our empirical evidence suggests that firms should prioritize different CSR dimensions as an integral part of their CSR strategies and strategic management and change the priority in different market conditions.
16. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 39 > Issue: 3
Marianne Thejls Ziegler Moral Integrity: Challenges of Defining a Shapeless Concept
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This article outlines different attempts to define integrity, and argues, with reference to the theory of moral particularism, that definitions acquire universal applicability at the expense of their informative value. The article then proceeds to more delimitating definitions that emphasise the social aspect, and argues that their ideas of the concept, like courage, require certain situations in order to unfold. Since not every person is challenged to act with integrity, the delimitation requires a distinction between manifest integrity and dormant integrity, or dormant lack of integrity. Persons of influence, like politicians and managers, on the other hand, are challenged on a regular basis because their position requires communication of values in a public space, against which the public can evaluate their actions. A delimitating definition therefore ties the question of integrity to people in leading positions.
book review
17. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 39 > Issue: 3
Ashley Whitaker Professional Ethics: A Trust-Based Approach, by Terrence M. Kelly
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18. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 39 > Issue: 3
Notes on Contributors
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19. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 39 > Issue: 2
Ryan Atkins, Cam Caldwell Supply Chain Responsibility and Sustainability: The Role of The Individual in Building a Business Case for Ethical Decisions
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Decisions made by supply chain managers have a far-reaching impact on the economic, environmental, and social performance of entire supply chains, even though many activities in the supply chain occur beyond the direct control of those managers. Some firms establish a line of moral disengagement, beyond which they distance themselves from the impact of the activities of the supply chain. This research addresses the question of why some managers choose to take responsibility for the sustainability of their supply chain, while others do not. We argue that the ethical predisposition and moral complexity of the individual employee moderates the interpretation of the drivers of sustainability, increasing or decreasing their ability to build a business case for supply chain responsibility. We also argue that ethical predisposition moderates the likelihood of a business case being enacted. We then discuss theoretical and managerial implications resulting from this finding.
20. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 39 > Issue: 2
Lina Wei, Michael Davis China’s Unwritten Code of Engineering Ethics
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Since 2004, Nanyan Cao and some other scholars have implicitly or explicitly claimed that engineering ethics in China is importantly different from engineering ethics in the United States. The evidence for that claim relies on examination of official documents or certain large features of Chinese society (for example, millennia of Taoism, Confucianism, or Buddhism). Though neither is an uncommon approach to studying engineering ethics in China, neither actually studies engineering practice in China. This article does—or at least gets much closer. The authors have asked almost two hundred (Mainland) Chinese engineers about what they do and why they do it. The responses suggest that Chinese engineers, or at least those surveyed, think about engineering ethics much as American engineers do. The responses also suggest that much more empirical work needs to be done before we can claim to understand either the similarities or differences between engineering ethics in China and engineering ethics in “the West.”