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1. 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.
2. 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.”
3. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 39 > Issue: 2
Gil Hersch You Can Bluff but You Should Not Spoof
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Spoofing is the act of placing orders to buy or sell a financial contract without the intention to have those orders fulfilled in order to create the impression that there is a large demand for that contract at that price. In this article, I deny the view that spoofing in financial markets should be viewed as morally permissible analogously to the way bluffing is permissible in poker. I argue for the pro tanto moral impermissibility of spoofing and make the case that spoofing is disanalogous from bluffing in at least one important regard—speculative trading serves an important economic role, whereas poker does not.
4. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 39 > Issue: 2
Roberta Sferrazzo Towards an Agape-Based Organization: Does It Make Sense to Apply Civil Economy to Business Ethics?
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In the last decade, scholars have rediscovered the Italian tradition of Civil Economy and the different vision of the market it offers, one that is anchored on reciprocal assistance in market exchange relationships. So far, scholars are discussing Civil Economy especially in the fields of the history of economic though and in economics and philosophy. Nevertheless, this article proposes looking also at business ethics and organizational studies through the lens of Civil Economy, especially considering the notion of virtue provided by civil economists. In particular, it sets forth an organizational model that derives from Civil Economy, i.e. the agape-based organization.
5. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 39 > Issue: 2
Spyridon Stelios Professional Engineers: Interconnecting Personal Virtues with Human Good
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Professional ethics refer to the rights and obligations of practitioners within any profession or sector. Engineering ethics can be discussed based on the nature of the engineer profession and its implications for professional morality. This paper takes the virtue ethics lens to discuss engineering ethics and argues that, since human and social good derives from professional virtues, protecting the public interest is a professional virtue of engineers. Further, since the protection of the public interest redounds to human and social good, then engineers are bound by the nature of their professional role to achieve these two interconnected aims, namely, protecting the public interest and promoting human good. The importance of virtues is eminent in the way an engineer improves her professional conduct and this has an impact on the social environment and on human good in general. Given an engineer’s concern with the broad public needs of people, the engineer’s function counts as a morally good role, and therefore can be described as one that can lead to human flourishing.
6. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 39 > Issue: 2
Notes on Contributors
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7. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Simona Giorgi, Richard P. Nielsen Social Situational Business Ethics Framing for Engaging with Ethics Issues
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This article considers the problem of how employees and observers of business ethics behaviors often do not know how to safely and effectively engage with business ethics issues and cases. The ameliorative method of social situational business ethics framing was analyzed. Key parts of the related literature from philosophy, sociology, organizational studies, and business ethics are reviewed. A literature gap between general framing theory and business ethics was identified with respect to the need for social situational framing in business ethics at the micro individual, meso organizational, and macro institutional levels. Theoretical propositions for bridging the literature gap and a wide variety of business ethics engagement case examples are developed as illustrations of and support for the propositions. Practical social situational business ethics framing implications for safe and effective business ethics engagement are considered.
8. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Plamena Pehlivanova The Significance of Rationality in Reforming Ethics within Contemporary Professional Work: The Case Study of Audit
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In the wake of judgement failures currently characterising professional audit practice, the article will argue that this case illustrates a larger problem associated with the technocratic deformity of practices within modern institutions. I will refer to the case of ethics, where human judgement has been offloaded to the performative practice of complying with codes and reduced to executing procedures. Getting to grips with what the issue is requires us to recognise the distinctive ethical nature of human rationality that cannot be replaced by machines. However, this distinctiveness is not sufficiently brought out in the current climate of work, where the conditions have instead reduced the capacities to engage in ethical judgment and to cultivate morality. Instead, the cognitive capacity to evaluate the ends of actions and the dispositions to act in that light are central to fostering morality. By drawing on the Aristotelian and sociocultural traditions, I point to the complexity and significance of rationality, and offer a way to rethink professional education practices that could reorient individuals’ thinking and cultivate ethical responsivity.
9. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Brandon William Soltwisch, Daniel C. Brannon, Vish Iyer The Ethics of Maximizing or Satisficing: How Decision-Making Style and Ethical Ideology Impact Moral Judgement
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This study explores the relationship between decision-making styles and moral judgements to understand how maximizers and satisficers differ in their analysis of ethical dilemmas. It also explores the linkage between decision-making styles and the moral reasoning perspectives of absolutism and relativism, investigating if ethical ideologies play a mediating role in how maximizers and satisficers evaluate ethical situations. In order to test these relationships, data is collected from a sample of 187 upper level business students. Results indicate that maximizers are significantly more likely than satisficers to judge ethically ambiguous actions as immoral. Underlying this effect, maximizers (vs. satisficers) have a more idealistic ethical ideology.
10. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Joseph Spino Situationism and the Virtues of Business
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Many ethicists endorse a character-based approach to business ethics (CBE). This approach includes a focus on the development of particular traits of character amenable to virtuous business practices. Situationists claim, however, that traditional understandings of character are challenged by various findings in empirical psychology. While defenders of CBE have responded this claim, these responses are very similar to those made in defense of a more general virtue ethical theory against situationist arguments. I argue that whatever promise such responses to situationism have in defending a general virtue ethical theory, they are not up to the task of defending CBE. As a result, CBE is in need of novel responses to situationism or significant revision.
11. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Alonso Villarán Conflicts of Interest: A Moral Analysis
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What is a conflict of interest? What is morally problematic about one? Beginning with the definition, this paper organizes the core (philosophical) literature and creates two continuums—one devoted to the more specific definition of ‘interest,’ and the other to that of ‘duty’ (two elements that belong to the definition of conflicts of interest and over which the debate revolves). Each continuum places the authors according to the narrowness or broadness of their positions, which facilitates the understanding of the debate as well as what is at stake when defining conflicts of interest. The paper then develops a moral analysis that leads to the sought-for definition and to an explanation of why we should treat conflicts of interest carefully. While doing so, the paper discloses the criterion to judge whether a definition is right and presents the duties that makes conflicts of interest special as ‘tertiary’ duties of morality.
12. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Notes on Contributors
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13. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 38 > Issue: 3
Frank C. Butler, Randy Evans, Nai H. Lamb Non-Required CEO Disclosures and Stock Price Volatility: An Ethical Dilemma
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Personal life events of a chief executive officer (CEO) can generate tensions between the CEO’s right to personal privacy and the desire of shareholders for information. Such circumstances can create information asymmetry between the executive management and the shareholders of a firm, a situation likely to produce unfavorable pressures on an organization’s stock price. Failure to fully disclose material personal life events can impact the decision-making actions of the CEO, causing the stock price of the firm to vacillate as a result of rumors and other informational uncertainties. These vacillations in stock price may impact a firm’s liquidity, increase the cost of capital, and affect long term returns to shareholders. We draw upon the ethical leadership and signaling theory literatures to demonstrate how a firm can reduce stock price volatility through a CEO making non-required disclosures that reduce information asymmetry.
14. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 38 > Issue: 3
Sarah Fischbach, Jennifer Zarzosa Consumers' Perceptions of Native Advertisements: Exploring the Impact of Ethics and Ad Trust
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With the rapid growth of native advertising, there has been an increased interest to address ethical concerns and deception online. To address this concern, we look at the consumer's ethical efficacy toward native ads and we compare native ads (such as in-feed and advertorial) to banner ads. Results confirm that consumers trust native ads more than banner ads. Moreover, we uncover that consumers ethical efficacy (i.e., confidence in ethical decision making) affects their intention to share native ads through eWOM. However, consumer individual differences influence intention to share content online and trust in the native ads. We study the moderating effects of salience, using the fashion context, and its influence on ad trust and willingness to share through eWOM. Recommendations for business professionals and academics are discussed and future research guidelines are addressed.
15. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 38 > Issue: 3
Gabriel Flynn The Irish Banking Crisis (2008–2016): An Ethical Analysis
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The purpose of this paper is to contribute to a vision for leadership in business, banking, and politics based on a recovery of virtue. It draws principally on the works of the classical philosophers Aristotle (384–322 BCE) and Plato (c. 427–347 BCE) in line with the contemporary resurgence of Aristotle associated with Alasdair MacIntyre and others. In the context of an ethical analysis of the Irish banking crisis (2008-2016), the paper will show how virtue ethics can contribute to the avoidance of a repetition of the disastrous financial crisis of 2008 in Ireland and globally. It proposes a holistic approach that integrates virtue and culture, ethics and governance.
16. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 38 > Issue: 3
Xiaohe Lu Incomplete Contracts and Stakeholder Theory
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If market transactions are optimal, why do so many transactions occur within firms themselves? Ronald H. Coase explains this phenomenon by arguing that market transaction costs differ from intra-company transaction costs and that clear intra-intra-firm property rights have the effect of reducing transaction costs. But what exactly are the relevant transaction costs, and what factors determine them? Oliver Hart argues that market contracts are incomplete, and that the key to improving efficiency is putting the power to deal with these unspecified circumstances into the hands of owners within the same entity.In this paper, I argued that, the development of the theory and practice of business ethics as well as China’s innovative practice in recent decades provide a new perspective, one that is especially relevant to the issues raised by Case and Hart and that bear directly on the reform of China’s state-owned enterprises.
17. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 38 > Issue: 3
Michael A. Santoro The Ethics of Insurance Industry Step Therapy Policies: A Medical Profession Ethics Approach
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Step therapy is an insurance company policy whereby patients must try a less costly treatment and fail-first before the insurer will cover another, more costly treatment. This article argues that (1) there are relevant and well-established principles of medical ethics—the duty to practice evidence-based medicine and the duty to consider cost-effectiveness when treating patients—that constrain and guide physician behavior with respect to step therapy; (2) clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) promulgated by authoritative physician groups attempt to incorporate and reconcile the competing demands of evidence-based and cost-effective medicine, although it is unclear whether they do so in a manner that appropriately considers all relevant ethical factors relating to cost-effectiveness; and (3) despite the potential shortcomings of CPGs, the ethical principles guiding and constraining physician behavior can help demarcate the ethical boundaries for other actors in the drug prescribing and reimbursement matrix, including insurance companies and benefit managers.
18. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 38 > Issue: 3
Notes on Contributors
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19. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
Thomas D. Berry, Erica Wagner The Relationship between Firm Innovation and Corporate Social Responsibility
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Firm innovation creates an informational asymmetry between the firm and outside stakeholders. Since CSR activities have been shown to reduce asymmetries and risk we surmise that firms use discretionary CSR activities to reduce the asymmetries from innovation. We study an innovation intense industry (technology) and find results that support the hypothesis that firms use CSR to signal long term viability of innovative activities.
20. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
George Lan Personal Values and Value Priorities of Undergraduate Business Students
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The Schwartz Values Survey (SVS), developed by Shalom Schwartz, was used to explore the values and value priorities of undergraduate business students in a mid-sized Canadian university. These business students considered family security as their top individual value and ranked successful, healthy, and enjoying life among their top ten individual values. On the other hand, detachment, accepting my portion in life and social power were least valued. They regarded Benevolence and Achievement as their top two value types (cluster of related values), and ranked the higher order meta-value Self-Transcendence first followed by Openness to Change. The accounting and finance majors considered Hedonism as their top priority while the other business majors valued Benevolence most highly; however, overall, there were more similarities than differences between these two groups. When compared with the males, females valued the meta-value Self-Transcendence significantly more and exhibited values and value systems that have more of a social focus and less of a personal focus. First-year and fourth-year business students ranked the meta-values in the same order; however, Self-Transcendence was rated as significantly more important to the students in their first year compared to those in their fourth year.