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1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Notes on Contributors
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7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 38 > Issue: 3
Notes on Contributors
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13. 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.
14. 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.
15. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
Maral Muratbekova-Touron, Tolganay Umbetalijeva Human Resource Management Patterns of (Anti) Corruption Mechanisms within Informal Networks
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In this article, we propose to comprehend the corruption mechanisms of tender bidding processes in terms of Human Resource Management (HRM) practices within informal networks. Taking the context of Kazakhstan, we analyze the behavior of individual actors as members of informal networks. Our analysis shows that both corruption and anti-corruption mechanisms can be explained in terms of HRM practices such as (camouflaged) recruitment (e.g., of powerful government officials via network ties), compensation (e.g., kickbacks for corruption; social recognition or shame for anti-corruption) and performance management (e.g., demonstrative punishment for corruption; extreme formalization, peer pressure or social sanctions for anti-corruption).
16. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
Andrea Richardson, Eleanor O'Higgins B Corporation Certification Advantages?: Impacts on Performance and Development
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B Corporations are for-profit companies meeting specific social and environmental standards. This exploratory study into B Corporations aims to enhance the understanding of the certification on organizational performance. As previous research indicates that third party labels impact financial performance and that positive corporate social performance can lead to positive financial performance, this paper first seeks to determine whether B Corporation Certification positively impacts companies’ financial performance. Second, following previous B Corporation literature, this research tests whether certification leads to positive non-financial results in the form of strategic advantages. Finally, it asks whether Certification negatively impacts organizations’ plans to develop internationally and/or by going public. While this study’s results provide little support that B Corporation Certification impacts organizations’ financial performance or growth, they do indicate that B Corporations experience positive non-financial strategic results post certification. The results of this study may be used to infer or test conclusions about socially responsible labels more broadly in the future.
17. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
Kathleen Wilburn, Ralph Wilburn Benefit Corporations: An Analysis of Social Benefit Reporting
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More than half of the S&P 500 and the Fortune 500 companies publish corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports. CSR is at the heart of a new form of corporation, the benefit corporation, which requires the pursuit of a social purpose as well as pursuit of profit. Thirty-four states, plus the District of Columbia, have enacted benefit corporation legislation. Most laws require that benefit corporations publish reports on their social purpose performance using a third-party assessment format. The purpose of this paper is to analyze 1,530 benefit corporations identified by B Lab and the state of Minnesota for proof of social purpose performance, as demonstrated in reports on their websites. The study found some companies with excellent reports, but those had had a CSR focus prior to becoming benefit corporations or had been Certified B Corporations. However, most benefit corporations in the study had no published reports; many have no websites.
18. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
Daryl Koehn In Memoriam: Ron Duska
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19. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
Notes on Contributors
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20. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 38 > Issue: 1
Kirk Mensch, James Barge Understanding Challenges to Leadership-as-Practice by Way of MacIntyre’s Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry
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This essay offers an interrogation of Leadership-as-Practice (LAP) in the context of MacIntyre’s Three Rival Versions of Moral Inquiry. LAP is a constructionist leadership approach that rationalizes leadership as the co-creation of embodied leadership practices in organizations, and we argue that its theoretical and philosophical foundations are best aligned with a genealogist version of moral enquiry. We contend that LAP’s theoretical assumptions and implications place it in opposition to traditionalist and encyclopaedist moral philosophies and that application of LAP without an appreciation for our argument poses challenges for practitioners as it diminishes their ability to learn from opposing perspectives. We argue for an appreciation of diverse moral viewpoints and discouragement of coercive moral practices from any competing perspective. While the philosophy undergirding LAP may encourage moral relativism and possible conflicts in principled beliefs, we offer LAP may strengthen organizational members cognitively and emotionally, bringing greater long-term benefit for the organization.