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1. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 34 > Issue: 3
David Bevan In Memoriam Nigel John Roome, PhD (1953–2016)
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2. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 34 > Issue: 3
Vincent Blok, Bart Gremmen, Renate Wesselink Dealing with the Wicked Problem of Sustainability: The Role of Individual Virtuous Competence
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Over the past few years, individual competencies for sustainability have received a lot of attention in the educational, sustainability and business administration literature. In this article, we explore the meaning of two rather new and unfamiliar moral competencies in the field of corporate sustainability: normative competence and action competence. Because sustainability can be seen as a highly complex or ‘wicked’ problem, it is unclear what ‘normativity’ in the normative competence and ‘responsible action’ in the action competence actually mean. In this article, we raise the question how both these moral competencies have to be understood and how they are related to each other. We argue for a virtue ethics perspective on both moral competencies, because this perspective is able to take the wickedness of sustainability into account. It turns out that virtue ethics enables us to conceptualize normative competence and action competence as two aspects of one virtuous competence for sustainability.
3. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 34 > Issue: 3
Jennifer Kiefer Fenton "Anyone Can Be Angry, That’s Easy": A Normative Account of Anti-Corporate Anger
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Literature in feminist ethics and care ethics has emphasized the value of the emotions for resisting injustice, particularly anger, on the basis of their motivational force, epistemic insight, and normative content. I point to flaws in this approach and introduce an Aristotelian account of anti-corporate anger that establishes normative conditions for which to (1) evaluate the justifiability of the target of negative emotions and (2) evaluate the justifiability of the expression of negative emotions. I look to this account as the basis for defending a corporate culture account of corporate moral personhood. In closing I consider the Occupy Wall Street movement for further insights into the complex nature of anti-corporate anger and corporate moral personhood.
4. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 34 > Issue: 3
Christopher Pariso Bhopal and Engineering Ethics: Who is Responsible for Preventing Disasters?
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In this paper, I will provide a picture of the Bhopal disaster from an engineering ethics perspective. I find that the individual engineers involved in Bhopal acted ethically, for the most part, but that these actions failed to prevent the disaster for structural reasons. Nonetheless, there is no single level of analysis at which the problems that caused the Bhopal incident can be solved. Rather, a coordinated attempt must be made to change how individual engineers conceive of their work, how the professional community conceives of its role in supporting ethical conduct, and how societies use regulatory and judicial systems to provide the right incentives to the organizations that engineers work for.
5. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 34 > Issue: 3
Marc-Charles Ingerson, Bradley R. Agle, Thomas Donaldson, Paul C. Godfrey, Jared D. Harris Normative Stakeholder Capitalism: Getting from Here to There
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6. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 34 > Issue: 3
Notes on Contributors
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7. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Charles D. Oden, Monika Ardelt, Cynthia P. Ruppel Wisdom and Its Relation to Ethical Attitude in Organizations
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Wisdom includes the practical application of knowledge, experience, reason, introspection, and intuition, but does its presence impact the ethical attitudes of individuals within organizations? Using Ardelt’s three-dimensional wisdom scale (2003) and a revised version of the ethical attitude measures developed by Wood, Longenecker, McKinney, and Moore (1988), empirical analysis was conducted using 329 responses from non-instructional staff at three colleges located in the southeast. This study is among the first to empirically test the impact of wisdom in a business setting, and also to empirically test the relation between wisdom and ethical attitudes. Correlation and regression analysis results indicated that greater wisdom was positively related to ethical attitudes and the rejection of questionable business practices that are harmful to others and the environment. Also, age was found to be positively related to an individual’s rejection of ethically questionable activities. These findings suggest that developing and encouraging higher levels of wisdom among employees within an organization will likely result in more ethical business practices.
8. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Manfred Max Bergman, Klaus M. Leisinger, Zinette Bergman, Lena Berger An Analysis of the Conceptual Landscape of Corporate Responsibility in Academia
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Most corporate stakeholders agree that Corporate Responsibility (CR) ought to be part of modern business management and practice. Academic work has been seminal to a fruitful and collaborative relationship between business and society. A closer examination of the contemporary academic narratives on CR, however, reveals a plethora of positions orbiting this complex construct, rendering it and its applications opaque, amorphous, and contested. The bewildering array of conceptualizations and applications leads not only to unintended consequences but also to concrete negative outcomes for most stakeholders. In this study, we map the conceptual landscape of CR in academia by systematically analyzing 120 audio and video recordings of university sponsored or endorsed CR-focused workshops, business meetings, interviews, lectures, conference presentations, roundtable events, and debates deposited at the media repository iTunesU and held between 2010 and 2014. The recordings were analyzed using Content Configuration Analysis, a qualitative analysis method related to content and thematic analyses. Our results show how business ethics in academia are often debated in opposition to or independent from business and economic concerns. We highlight seven major shortcomings within this conceptual space, relating to conceptual disunion, Eurocentrism, lack of specificity with regard to domains, stakeholder bias, areas of application, and normativity. Recommendations to overcome some of these shortcomings are presented to develop policy-relevant and change-oriented approaches to CR, which would make academic work on business ethics more applicable to globalized business and business practices, as well as to further develop collaborative partnerships between academia, business, and society.
9. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Kimberly S. Engels A Sartrean Analysis of Conscience-based Refusals in Healthcare: Workplace Decisions in Light of Group Praxis
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This paper provides an analysis of conscience-based refusals in healthcare from a Sartrean view, with an emphasis on the tension between individual responsibility and professional role morality. Conscience-based refusals in healthcare involve healthcare workers refusing to perform actions based on core moral beliefs. Initially this appears in line with Sartrean authenticity, which requires acknowledgment that one is not identical with professional role. However, by appealing to Sartre’s later social thought, I show that professional role morality is authentic when one considers common group practices, which Sartre refers to as pledged group praxis. I demonstrate that for healthcare providers, authenticity mandates putting the goals and generally accepted praxis of healthcare front and center in the workplace decision process. I conclude by strengthening Andrew West’s existentialist decision-making model with Sartre’s later social thought. With the updated model, I show that for healthcare workers most often the authentic decision is to perform generally accepted healthcare procedures in spite of individual moral qualms. This is because working in healthcare necessitates viewing one’s professional tasks in their broader social context—as unified, communal group praxis.
10. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Julian Friedland Sustainability, Public Health, and the Corporate Duty to Assist
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Several European and North American states encourage or even require, via good Samaritan and duty to rescue laws, that persons assist others in distress. This paper offers a utilitarian and contractualist defense of this view as applied to corporations. It is argued that just as we should sometimes frown on bad Samaritans who fail to aid persons in distress, we should also frown on bad corporate Samaritans who neglect to use their considerable multinational power to undertake disaster relief or to confront widespread social ills such as those currently befalling public health (obesity) and the environment (climate change). As such, the corporate duty to assist approach provides a novel justification for sustainable business practices in such cases. The paper concludes by arguing that traditional stakeholder approaches have not articulated this duty of assistance obligation, though a new utilitarian stakeholder theory by Thomas Jones and Will Felps may be coextensive.
11. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Christopher Michaelson Executive Compensation and Moral Luck
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Executive compensation is wrought with problems of moral judgment. To the extent that compensation rewards or penalizes behavior for which an executive is not justifiably responsible, it is also a problem of luck. Although executive compensation is both a problem of morality and luck, moral luck—which seems to occur when our moral judgments about a moral agent's conduct or character are influenced by factors beyond the agent's control—has not been a factor in the compensation debate. There remains controversy as to whether moral luck is a real or imagined problem, but if it exists, it should be factored into the compensation equation; if it does not, we cannot deny that moral performance presents a measurement problem. Thus, we are forced to accept that moral luck, real or imagined, has important implications for the ways and means by which executives are compensated.
12. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Tommy Jensen, Johan Sandström, Sven Helin One Code to Rule Them All: Management Control and Individual Responsibility in Contexts
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This paper is about how multiple contexts influence employees’ and managers’ enactments of a standardized corporate code of ethics. An earlier local Swedish case study of how a code is enacted is extended to include enactments during business trips to Ottawa (Canada), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and New Delhi (India). The paper shows that although the code is possible to enact as remote and insignificant (‘not relevant to me’) in the local study, when travelling to different contexts it is enacted as intrusive (affecting core operations) and fluid (highlighting seeming contradictions). The paper highlights the consequences of these enactments in terms of management control and individual responsibility) and suggests ways for better understanding how a code is expected to perform, meant to work and keep on working.
13. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Notes on Contributors
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14. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 34 > Issue: 1
Marc-Charles Ingerson, Kristen Bell DeTienne, Edwin E. Gantt, Richard N. Williams Practicing the Healer’s Art: An Agentic-Relational Approach to Negotiation
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This article explores the prevailing assumption of instrumentalism in negotiation and argues that contrary to the popular conception in negotiation scholarship, negotiators need not be assumed to be ontologically individualistic or purely self-interested in their motivation and action. We show the contribution that can be made to the field by an approach to negotiation that does not presume a strong and inevitable self-interest as the fundamental starting point of any account of negotiation behavior and we offer ideas for an alternative starting point, which we call the agentic-relational model.
15. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 34 > Issue: 1
Arieahn Matamonasa-Bennett Putting the Horse before Descartes: Native American Paradigms and Ethics in Equine-Assisted Therapies
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This article addresses the need for discourse and dialogue on ethics in the fields of Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) in general and Equine-assisted Therapy (EAT) specifically. Utilizing animals as partners in a therapeutic process requires major cultural paradigm shifts regarding intelligence and emotion and consideration of the ethical implications for the care and agency of these animals. There is a paucity of literature and very little is known about the impact that therapy has on animals. This study suggests that this blind spot may be the result of the legacy of underlying, post-Christian, Western scientific beliefs about human-animal relationships. Practitioners in the field tend to fall into the broad categories of ‘utilitarians’ or ‘stewards’. The author, an EAT practitioner from Native American cultural healing tradition, offers suggestions on the ways in which Native American constructs about animals may provide valuable alternatives to commonly-held Western viewpoints creating opportunities for deeper, more authentic relationships, reciprocity and a greater understanding of horse-human relationships.
16. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 34 > Issue: 1
Javier Pinto Garay The Concept of Work in a Common Good Theory of the Firm
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This article proposes a theory of the firm based on the concept of common good provided by the Aristotelic-Thomistic (A-T) and Catholic Social Thought (CST) traditions, with particular attention given to the concept of work. We argue that the incorporation of a concept of work, based on the A-T and CST traditions, provides a better understanding of the firm´s common good in terms of sociability, cooperation, personal fulfillment and friendship. In this manner, taking into account an A-T and CST concept of work, we provide a better understanding of different aspects in which the common good can be achieved within the firm.
17. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 34 > Issue: 1
Katia Dupret Situated Techno-Ethics in Businesses
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The continuous inclusion of new technologies in organizations challenges business ethics and creates new problematics in work life. Managers in particular are challenged insofar as they must learn how to adapt general technological hardware to local organizational needs and work habits. Based on new empirical research conducted in Danish health care organizations, it investigates how managers experience technologies and how these experiences affect their professional ethics; it asks: a) What kinds of ethics do managers consider when using new technologies? b) How are these ethics negotiated? Using a techno-human practice approach—which takes into account both human and non-human entities as the basis of moral judgment—the new technologically-induced ethical dilemmas faced by managers are discussed. A typology of techno-ethics is introduced, which presents situated ways of engaging with technologies in businesses. By employing multiple ethics connected to the use of technologies in organizations might make managers more ethically responsible in decisions concerning technologies.
18. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 34 > Issue: 1
Thomas A. Hemphill, Waheeda Lillevik The Global Economic Ethic Manifesto: A Retrospective
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The Global Economic Ethic Manifesto is a credo embodying a set of basic transcultural values aimed at encouraging ethical dealings by business enterprises. However, through analysis of documents and expert interviews, study findings reveal that there has been little adoption and/or implementation of the Ethic Manifesto since its celebrated United Nations launching in 2009. Only sixty-three signatories have signed on, consisting of a majority of individuals, and the remaining twenty-seven are primarily affiliated with European business enterprises. Our study recommendations include tighter integration of the Ethic Manifesto with the Global Compact; an organizational commitment, i.e., by the CEO and board of directors, to the Ethic Manifesto; a broad-based reporting requirement on general progress in meeting the Ethic Manifesto’s principles; and business enterprise use of a logo indicating conformance with the principles of the Ethic Manifesto to stakeholders, all of which could improve business enterprise participation in this civil society initiative.
19. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 34 > Issue: 1
Klaus M. Leisinger, Josef Wieland "The Global Economic Manifesto: A Retrospective": A Response from Two Co-Authors
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This article responds to the review of Hemphill and Lillevik, “The Global Economic Manifesto: A Retrospective.” It aims to contribute to the worldwide discussion of global accepted norms and values of corporate behavior by addressing universal ethical principles and implementation strategies. A focus is set on the means of specifying values to serve the action orientation of an organization and its management. Since external normative expectations rise in context of the upcoming Post-2015 Development Agenda, corporate responses need to take local specifics as well as international accepted norms into account. Therefore, a distinctive implementation design is outlined. Key strategic steps contain elements such as (1) awareness of common values, (2) differing consequences due to cultural environments and economic conditions, (3) integration of practical experience to gain impact-related insights, and (4) fostering global leadership education. Consequently, corporate value management approaches and Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda are connected through universal values.
20. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 34 > Issue: 1
Regina Wentzel Wolfe Response to Hemphill and Lillevik, "The Global Economic Ethic Manifesto: A Retrospective"
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There is general agreement that the principles espoused by the Global Economic Ethic Manifesto are to be commended. Despite this, the expectations of wide adoption of the Ethic Manifesto that were expressed at the 2009 launch have proved to be overly optimistic as Hemphill and Lillevik discovered in their study. They propose a number of recommendations to address some of the Ethic Manifesto’s limitations and increase adoption of it, particularly by organizations. However, it is not clear that, even if all their recommendations were to be fully implemented, organizational adoption rates of the Ethics Manifesto will reach the same level as those of the UN Global Compact. For this to occur, the Ethics Manifesto must move beyond providing a moral compass to individuals in order to inform organizational systems and structures in a meaningful way.