Game theory involves deliberating about what to do in light of what other people are likely to do. One of the central frameworks of game theory is the prisoner’s dilemma, in which participants who make rational choices end up in suboptimal outcomes. Using the prisoner’s dilemma to model competition between firms sets the stage for a new and promising approach to business ethics: the market failures approach.
Abstract (German version follows): -/- This paper develops a new proposal for a coherentist business ethic in which ethically justified and empirically supported proposed solutions to economic problems are developed through a coherentist process of adjustments between the three levels of (1) conception of problem and its solution, (2) positive economic theory, and (3) ethical theories. Using an example, it illustrates how in this framework, Homann's business ethics gains in validity and relevance but loses its claim to universality. // -/- (...) Diese Arbeit entwickelt eine kohärentistische Wirtschaftsethik, in der ethisch begründete und empirisch gestützte Lösungsvorschläge für ökonomische Probleme durch einen kohärentistischen Anpassungsprozess zwischen den drei Ebenen (1) Auffassung von Problem und Lösungsansatz, (2) positive ökonomische Theorie, sowie (3) ethischen Theorien erarbeitet werden. Anhand eines Beispiels wird illustriert, wie Homanns Wirtschaftsethik in diesem Rahmen an Validität und Relevanz gewinnt, jedoch ihren Universalitätsanspruch verliert. (shrink)
Business ethics is often understood as a variety of professional ethics, and thus distinct from ordinary morality in an important way. This article seeks to challenge two ways of defending this claim: first, from the nature of business practice, and second, from the contribution of business. The former argument fails because it undermines our ability to rule out a professional-ethics approach to a number of disreputable practices. The latter argument fails because the contribution of business is extrinsic to business in (...) a way that distinguishes from the established professions. The article ultimately suggests we adopt a more aspirational approach to business ethics, which retains an appeal even in the face of charges of anti-capitalist irrelevance. (shrink)
This very short paper highlights some of my recent and forthcoming work on “good epistemic practices” in the financial services industry. It identifies some epistemic dimensions of risk management in banking and illustrates how managing for good epistemic practices might be helpful.
Despite the increased attention that has been paid in recent years to the significance of animal interests within moral and political philosophy, there has been virtually no discussion of the significance of animal interests within business ethics. This is rather troubling, since a great deal of the treatment of animals that will seem especially problematic to many people occurs in the context of business, broadly construed. In this chapter, I aim to extend the growing concern that our normative theories should (...) be animal-friendly to business ethics. I consider whether several popular theoretical approaches in business ethics are consistent with taking animal interests to bear on the decisions that business managers are obligated to make. I do not argue for the claim that we should reject any theory in business ethics that cannot count animal interests as providing reasons that are relevant to the moral status of managerial conduct (though I think that this is true). Instead, I proceed on the assumption that many will find this claim plausible, and argue that those who do have reason to doubt that many of the prominent theoretical approaches defended in the business ethics literature are acceptable. My main aim, then, is to show that those who believe that the correct theory in business ethics must be animal-friendly, at least in the limited sense of counting animal interests as relevant to the moral status of managerial conduct in a plausible way, will need to look beyond the main competing theories that occupy present discussions. (shrink)
Few would deny that some central questions in business ethics are normative. But there has been, and remains, much skepticism about the value of traditional philosophical approaches to answering these questions. I have three central aims in this chapter. The first is to defend traditional philosophical approaches to business ethics against the criticism that they are insufficiently practical. The second is to defend the view that the appropriate methodology for pursuing work in business ethics is largely continuous with the appropriate (...) methodology in moral and political philosophy more broadly. And the third is to offer a brief characterization of how we should think about the substance of business ethics, in light of my arguments about its proper aims and methodology. (shrink)
I aim in this paper to provide defense of one way to look at what should be regulated in the market place. In particular, I discuss what should be tolerated and argue against corporate welfare. I begin by endorsing John Stuart Mill’s harm principle as a normative principle of toleration. I call strict commitment to the harm principle when considering the regulatory structure of markets market libertarianism and oppose that to promotionism, the view that endorses government interference to promote business (...) interests. I next discuss the widespread use of promotionist policies, arguing against them and for market libertarianism. I also consider problems for my view, recognizing that one of my responses may leave some thinking the paper is a reductio of the market libertarian view because of the sort of slow-growth state it endorses. Others will recognize it as a view promoted by some of the U.S. founding fathers and find it attractive in its own right. (shrink)
In recent years, insurance companies have begun tracking their customers’ behaviors and price premiums accordingly. Based on the Market-Failures Approach as well as the Justice-Failures Approach, I provide an ethical analysis of the use of tracking technologies in the insurance industry. I focus on the use of telematics in car insurance and on the use of fitness tracking in life insurance. The use of tracking has some important benefits to policyholders and insurers alike: it reduces moral hazard and fraud, increases (...) actuarial fairness, and incentivizes safe behavior. These benefits, however, are outweighed by significant moral objections. First, the use of tracking technologies significantly undermines the fairness of the interaction between insurance companies and policyholders. Specifically, the use of tracking eliminates information asymmetries, but in such a way that favors insurers exclusively. Furthermore, tracked behaviors and the ability to choose to behave safely are highly correlated with other variables such as income. Therefore, tracking-based insurance relies on and exacerbates existing inequalities and injustices, which undermines the benefits that tracking is supposed to introduce. (shrink)
In this article, I aim to clarify some key issues in the ongoing debate about the relationship between Rawlsian political philosophy and business ethics. First, I discuss precisely what we ought to be asking when we consider whether corporations are part of the “basic structure of society.” I suggest that the relevant questions have been mischaracterized in much of the existing debate, and that some key distinctions have been overlooked. I then argue that although Rawlsian theory’s potential implications for business (...) ethics are more extensive than some have suggested, the nature of the concern that we ought to have about the effects of corporate behavior on individuals’ economic and social conditions should lead us to reject the view that corporations are bound by principles of justice only if, and insofar as, they are part of the basic structure. (shrink)
During the COVID-19 pandemic governments across the globe have provided unparalleled support to private sector firms. As a result, new oversight mechanisms are urgently needed, to enable society to assess and, if necessary, redress, moves by firms which have taken government aid. Many jurisdictions have seen the introduction of ‘piecemeal’ conditionality on different pots of aid. This paper argues that a better response would be to adopt a more unified approach. In particular, the paper explores the social licence framework as (...) a potential way to ‘build back better’. It is argued that the nature of the implicit social contract between society and the private sector provides the normative force underpinning demands for a social purpose for business, and that this purpose in turn can be used to specify the conditions firms must meet to legitimise their operations. The paper then considers three core elements involved in any introduction of a social licence framework, and surveys the potential benefits and challenges that might emerge in moving towards a social licence framework. (shrink)
In the business ethics literature, many argue that managerial decision making ought to be improved by more robust ethical concerns. Some see the virtue of “practical wisdom” as the key for improved managerial decision making. However, because of the epistemic limitations confronting decision makers in the face of irreducible market complexity, there is a risk that practical wisdom, employed in the context of day‐to‐day managerial decision making, becomes an impractical concept. Nevertheless, if the attempt to incorporate virtue ethics (and its (...) related concepts) into business practices is laudable, if indeed a virtuous life is worth pursuing and practical wisdom plays an essential role toward that end, it is important to attempt to salvage practical wisdom and uncover its appropriate usage. Thus, this article pursues two major ends. First, upon surveying some of the prominent and standard usages of the term, it articulates concerns, rooted in epistemic limitations, about the way that practical wisdom appears in business ethics literature. Second, it offers a new way forward for understanding “practical wisdom.” By contextualizing day‐to‐day, rule‐based managerial decision making within the ethical value of the market order, practical wisdom reappears as the higher‐order capacity to pursue vocations, as morally worthwhile projects, in business. (shrink)
ABSTRACT:The distinction between what I call nonelective obligations and discretionary obligations, a distinction that focuses on one particular thread of the distinction between perfect and imperfect duties, helps us to identify the obligations that carry over from principals to agents. Clarity on this issue is necessary to identify the moral obligations within “shareholder primacy”, which conceives of managers as agents of shareholders. My main claim is that the principal-agent relation requires agents to fulfill nonelective obligations, but it does not always (...) require discharging discretionary obligations. I show that the requirement to fulfill nonelective obligations is more far-reaching than has been acknowledged by most defenders and critics of shareholder primacy. But I also show that managers are not bound by certain discretionary obligations like charity, showing that their moral obligations are more circumscribed than the obligations that apply to human beings in general. (shrink)
My aim in this article is twofold. First, I will illuminate the triangular conceptual connections between responsibility, authority, and power as they are exposed in the organizational realm; second, I will show how the three concepts are distinct. Relying on the work of Peter Strawson and his followers on responsibility for my point of departure, I will show that the connection between the inner corporational authority and its inner matching responsibility is different from the connection between the outer corporational forces (...) and influences and the CSR that they develop in reaction to these. This will expose another important distinction between two kinds of responsibility: the organizational kind, as instantiated in organizations, and the social kind, which constitutes the outer aspect of the CSR. Though many thinkers address different kinds of responsibility, a comparative perspective of these different concepts is missing. I attempt to bring three of these separate discourses together to examine them alongside one another, evaluating them in the light of their differences and similarities. This will expose a new typology of ‘responsibility’ that penetrates and illuminates the relations between corporations and society and as such enhance our understanding of organizational responsibility. (shrink)
Without doubt, the global challenges we are currently facing—above all world poverty and climate change—require collective solutions: states, national and international organizations, firms and business corporations as well as individuals must work together in order to remedy these problems. In this chapter, I discuss climate change mitigation as a collective action problem from the perspective of moral philosophy. In particular, I address and refute three arguments suggesting that business firms and corporations have no moral duty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: (...) (i) that business corporations are not appropriate addressees of moral demands because they are not moral agents, and (ii) that to the extent that they are moral agents their primary moral obligation is to their owners or shareholders, and (iii) the appeal to the difference principle: that individual business corporations cannot really make a significant difference to successful climate change mitigation. (shrink)
This paper examines ethics in finance, specifically related to responsible investment. In recent years, socially responsible principles are becoming the de facto standard not only for socially responsible but also for profitable investing. For instance, the United Nations developed the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) in 2006, which require institutional investors to incorporate ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes. This raises the following question: can responsible investments be justified from an ethical point of view? (...) In this paper I first explain responsible investments. Then, I turn to the ethical foundation of responsible investments. There are two arguments for responsible investments. I argue that both fail. Therefore, my conclusion is that the ethical foundation of responsible investments is not firm. (shrink)
Are corporations and other complex groups ever morally responsible in ways that do not reduce to the moral responsibility of their members? Christian List, Phillip Pettit, Kendy Hess, and David Copp have recently defended the idea that they can be. For them, complex groups (sometimes called collectives) can be irreducibly morally responsible because they satisfy the conditions for morally responsible agency; and this view is made more plausible by the claim (made by Theiner) that collectives can have minds. In this (...) paper I give a new argument against the idea that collectives can be irreducibly morally responsible in the ways that individuals can be. Drawing on recent work in the philosophy of mind (what Uriah Kriegel calls "the phenomenal intentionality research program") and moral theory (David Shoemaker's tripartite theory of moral responsibility), I argue that for something to have a mind, it must be phenomenally conscious, and that the fact that collectives lack phenomenal consciousness implies that they are incapable of accountability, an important form of moral responsibility. (shrink)
Recently, a number of people have argued that certain entities embodied by groups of agents themselves qualify as agents, with their own beliefs, desires, and intentions; even, some claim, as moral agents. However, others have independently argued that fully-fledged moral agency involves a capacity for reactive attitudes such as guilt and indignation, and these capacities might seem beyond the ken of “collective” or “ corporate ” agents. Individuals embodying such agents can of course be ashamed, proud, or indignant about what (...) the agent has done. But just as an entity needs to have its own beliefs, desires, and intentions to qualify as a bona fide agent, the required capacity for reactive attitudes is a capacity to have one’s own reactive attitudes. If fully-fledged moral agency requires reactive attitudes, the corporate agent must itself be capable of guilt and indignation. In this paper, we argue that at least certain corporate agents are. Or, more precisely, we argue that if there are bona fide corporate agents, these agents can have the capacities that are both associated with guilt and indignation and plausibly required for moral agency; in particular certain epistemic and motivational capacities. (shrink)
How can we understand the way the Weyland Corporation in the Alien Franchise devalues its employees? How can we explain our repulsion at such treatment. This article surveys several foundations for the the employee-employer relationship including stockholder theory, stockholder theory, and libertarian theories. The stockholder theory may be the operating view of the corporation, but is is morally questionable due to refusing to grant employees full moral status. The libertarian view is willing to grant employees full moral status, but in (...) attempting to morally justify poor treatment of employees, it relies on several unworkable assumptions highlighted by A. Hirschman's theory about exit, voice and loyalty. Stakeholder theory provides the foundation for understanding and condemning the poor treatment of employees in the Alien Franchise. (shrink)
Joseph Heath (2014) argues that the contribution of competitive markets to Pareto-efficiency generates moral constraints that apply to business managers. Heath argues that ethical behavior on the part of management consists in avoiding profit-seeking strategies which, under conditions of perfect competition, would decrease Pareto-efficiency. I argue that because (1) such conditions do not obtain; and (2) the most efficient result – under imperfect conditions – is not achieved by satisfying the largest possible set of the remaining conditions; it is (3) (...) impossible to draw any substantive ethical guidelines from Heath’s approach. (shrink)
Contract-based approaches have been a focus of attention in business ethics. As one of the grand traditions in political philosophy, contractarianism is founded on the notion that we will never resolve deep moral disagreement. Classical philosophers like Hobbes and Locke, or recent ones like Rawls and Gaus, seek to solve ethical conflicts on the level of social rules and procedures. Recent authors in business ethics have sought to utilize contract-based approaches for their field and to apply it to concrete business (...) dilemmas. However, the application of contractarianism to management contexts can cause difficulties. Our article discusses this conceptual problem of contractarian business ethics and presents the idea of order ethics as an alternative. Order ethics, as we argue, can make a difference by conceptually bridging the gap between contractarianism and business ethics. (shrink)
This book examines the theoretical foundations of order ethics and discusses business ethics problems from an order ethics perspective. Order ethics focuses on the social order and the institutional environment in which individuals interact. It is a well-established paradigm in European business ethics. The book contains articles written by leading experts in the field and provides both a concise introduction to order ethics and short summary articles homing in on specific aspects of the order-ethical paradigm. It presents contributions describing fundamental (...) concepts, historical roots, and the economic, social, and philosophical background of the theory. The second part of the handbook focuses on the theory's application in business, society, and politics, casting new light on an array of topics that loom large in contemporary ethical discourse.. (shrink)
Karl Homann ist vor allem als Wirtschaftsethiker bekannt. Er war der erste Inhaber eines wirtschaftsethischen Lehrstuhls und gilt als einer derjenigen Autoren, die das Fach Wirtschaftsethik im deutschen Sprachraum maßgeblich geprägt haben. Dabei hat Homann seinen wirtschaftsethischen Theorieentwurf nie als eine schlichte Anwendung ethischer Grundsätze auf Fragen des Wirtschaftens verstanden. Vielmehr begriff er ihn als allgemeinen ethischen Ansatz mit ökonomischer Methode. Im Rahmen dieses Ansatzes sollte die abendländische Moral ökonomisch rekonstruiert werden, um sie so unter den Bedingungen moderner Gesellschaften mit (...) institutionalisiertem marktwirtschaftlichen Wettbewerb überlebensfähig zu machen. Mit seiner neuen Monographie Sollen und Können stellt Karl Homann dieses Grundmodell einem weiteren Leserkreis vor. Er will sein Buch also nicht als einen neuen Beitrag zur Wirtschaftsethik-Debatte verstanden wissen, sondern als allgemeinen philosophischen Ethikentwurf. Die Argumentation, die Homann in Sollen und Können vorstellt, soll im Folgenden selektiv zusammengefasst und kritisch gewürdigt werden. (shrink)
The theme of this issue of the St. Gallen Business Review is "Harmony". For this reason, we would like to discuss whether two aspects of our life- world are in harmony, namely economic optimization and morality. What is the relation between them? According to a widely shared view, which is one aspect of the doctrine of "mainstream economics", the functioning of an economic system does not require moral behaviour on the part of the individual economic agent. In what follows, we (...) will try to convince you that this is false. If all economic agents – managers, employees, bankers, consumers and so on – were purely self-interested, as mainstream economics assumes, our economic practice would fail. There are various reasons for this. Here we will focus on one of them, namely the pivotal role of interpersonal communication. (shrink)
‘Moral economy’ has become a popular concept in empirical research in disciplines such as history, anthropology, sociology and political science. This research utilizes normative concepts and has obvious normative implications and relevance. However, there has been little to no dialogue between this research and philosophers working on normative ethics. The present article seeks to remedy this situation by highlighting fertile points of dialogue between descriptive and normative ethicists. The proposition is that empirical researchers can become more precise and stringent in (...) their descriptions of moral attitudes and traditions with a greater understanding of normative ethics; and, at the same time, philosophers have much to gain from a closer examination of the realities of moral thinking and social action. The concurrent examination of both strands of research may be especially rewarding. (shrink)
There is a common view, dating back at least to Hume, that property rights presuppose scarcity. This paper is a critical examination of that thesis. In addition to questioning the thesis, the paper highlights the need to divorce the debate over this thesis from the debate over Intellectual Property (IP) rights (the area where it is most frequently applied). I begin by laying out the thesis’ major line of defense. In brief, the argument is that (1) property rights are legitimate (...) only when necessary, (2) necessary only to avoid injury resulting from one party’s use or possession of a good over others’, and (3) that such injury is possible only where there is scarcity. While I accept (1) (at least for the sake of argument), I argue that each of three prominent theories of the justification of property rights cast doubt on (2) and (3). As it turns out, at the theoretical level, there are a number of different ways of dealing with this conflict. However, I argue, no matter which theoretical path one takes, it turns out that the practical implications of the relationship between property rights and scarcity have been woefully misconstrued. Finally, I recount an independent argument for the thesis under consideration and argue that, whether or not it is successful against IP, it does not extend as an argument against ownership of non-scarce goods in general. This serves to further highlight the need to distinguish arguments for the thesis under consideration from arguments against IP. (shrink)
According to the order ethics approach to business ethics, moral rules must be im-plemented by institutions that provide incentives for following the rules. As a minimal (normative) condition, these institutions must be able to motivate the homo eco-nomicus. But even if an institution passes this test, it will only motivate actual people (i.e. the homo psychologicus) to follow moral rules, if they have the relevant compe-tences and self-efficacy beliefs. Consequently, good institutional design includes com-prehensive change management. At this point applied (...) order ethics can draw on find-ings of psychology and experimental economics. It turns out, that role models can support self-efficacy beliefs and are thus more important for order ethics than has traditionally been assumed. (shrink)
This volume explores various aspects of risk taking. It offers an analysis of financial, entrepreneurial and social risks, as well as a discussion of the ethical implications of empirical findings. The main issues examined in the book are the financial crisis and its implications for business ethics. The book discusses unethical behaviour as a reputational risk (e.g., in the case of Goldman Sachs) and the question is raised as to what extent the financial crisis has changed the banks’ entrepreneurial strategy. (...) The book presents an analysis of the reasons leading to the crisis and identifies them as ethical dilemma structures. In addition, it looks at general questions regarding ethical behaviour and risk taking, such as: To what extent does the social embeddedness or abstraction play a role in guaranteeing ethical behaviour? What conclusions can be drawn from institutional or evolutionary perspectives on risk management? Finally, the book discusses further issues that become factors of risk within and between societies, such as work insecurity, corruption or the problem of facilitation payments as a risk in international transactions. (shrink)
This chapter discusses two major approaches to business ethics which rest on the foundation of social contract theory: the contractualist position of Integrative Social Contracts Theory (ISCT) and the contractarian position of Order Ethics. Both are summarized and analyzed critically. It turns out that Order Ethics might remedy some defects of ISCT.
The Handbook of Business Ethics: Philosophical Foundations is a standard interdisciplinary reference handbook in the field of business ethics. Articles by notable philosophers and economists examine fundamental concepts, theories and questions of business ethics: Are morality and self-interest compatible? What is meant by a just price? What did the Scholastic philosophers think about business? The handbook will cover the entire philosophical basis of business ethics. Articles range from historical positions such as Aristotelianism, Kantianism and Marxism to systematic issues like justice, (...) religious issues, rights and globalisation or gender. The book is intended as a reference work for academics, students (esp. graduate), and professionals. (shrink)
This paper proposes a description of the moral obligations of economic agents. It will show that a threefold division should be adopted to distinguish moral obligations applying to their interactions in the market, obligations applying to their interactions inside business firms and obligations applying to their interactions with agents outside the market. Competition might be permissible in the first case since markets are special patterns of social interactions (called adversarial schemes). They produce their benefits when agents try to satisfy exclusive (...) preferences at the expense of others. However, moral obligations inside the firm and moral obligations outside the market are of a different nature. This argument will be developed in the two first parts of this paper. In the third part, it will outline the relevant strengths of that account in relation with two popular views of economic agents’ moral obligations: the shareholder primacy view and the stakeholder theory. (shrink)
The integration of personalism into business ethics has been recently studied. Research has also been conducted on humanistic management approaches. The conceptual relationship between personalism and humanism , however, has not been fully addressed. This article furthers that research by arguing that a true humanistic management is personalistic. Moreover, it claims that personalism is promising as a sound philosophical foundation for business ethics. Insights from Jacques Maritain’s work are discussed in support of these conclusions. Of particular interest is his distinction (...) between human person and individual based on a realistic metaphysics that, in turn, grounds human dignity and the natural law as the philosophical basis for human rights, personal virtues, and a common good defined in terms of properly human ends. Although Maritain is widely regarded as one of the foremost twentieth century personalist philosophers, his contribution has not been sufficiently considered in the business ethics and humanistic management literature. Important implications of Maritainian personalism for business ethics as philosophical study and as practical professional pursuit are discussed. (shrink)
The article starts by arguing that seeing the firm as a mere nexus of contracts or as an abstract entity where different stakeholder interests concur is insufficient for a “humanistic business ethos”, which entails a complete view of the human being. It seems more appropriate to understand the firm as a human community, a concept which can be found in several sources, including managerial literature, business ethics scholars, and Catholic Social Teaching. In addition, there are also philosophical grounds that support (...) the idea of business as a human community. Extending this concept, and drawing from some Phenomenological-Personalist philosophers, we propose that the firm should be seen as a particular “community of persons” oriented to providing goods and services efficiently and profitably. Being a “community of persons” emphasizes both individuals and the whole, and makes explicit the uniqueness, conscience, free will, dignity, and openness to human flourishing. This requires appropriate communication about and participation in matters which affect people’s life, and makes it essential to cooperate for the common good of the business firm and the society. (shrink)
ABSTRACT:This study examines whether the empirical evidence on the relationship between corporate social performance (CSP) and corporate financial performance (CFP) differs depending on the publication outlet in which that evidence appears. This moderator meta-analysis, based on a total sample size of 33,878 observations, suggests that published CSP-CFP findings have been shaped by differences in institutional logics in different subdisciplines of organization studies. In economics, finance, and accounting journals, the average correlations were only about half the magnitude of the findings published (...) in Social Issues in Management, Business Ethics, or Business and Society journals (mean corrected correlation coefficientof.22 vs..49, respectively). Specifically, economists did not find null or negative CSP-CFP correlations, and average findings published in general management outlets (=.41) were closer to Social Issues in Management, Business Ethics, and Business and Society results than to findings reported in economics, finance, and accounting journals. (shrink)
Ethical business creates social value. That’s the theme of this bold new volume, heralding and defending this rapidly-growing new conception of capitalism making its way into the mainstream. It provides clear and succinct guidelines for how to evaluate what counts as an ethical business as well as how and why ethical businesses tend to succeed better over the long term. The book is jargon-free and targeted primarily at thought leaders and academics in business and philosophy who will want to use (...) it in their business ethics classes. Each chapter has been selected for its ability to engage a wide audience without oversimplifying the content. -/- All twelve chapters are original and authored by leading business ethicists including William Shaw, Tony Simons, Duane Windsor, and Mark Schwartz. Each piece makes use of recent empirical evidence or ethical theory (or both) in order to present a detailed yet overarching picture of what ethical business looks like—and how to achieve it—in today’s global environment. (shrink)
This essay provides an overview of business ethics. I describe important issues, identify some of the normative considerations animating them, and offer a roadmap of references for those wishing to learn more. I focus on issues in normative business ethics, but discuss briefly the growing body of work in descriptive business ethics. I conclude with a comment on the changing nature of the field.
The moral status of business bluffing is a controversial issue. On the one hand, bluffing would seem to be relevantly similar to lying and deception. Because of this, business bluffing can be taken to be an activity that is at least prima facie morally condemnable. On the other hand, it has often been claimed that in business bluffing is part of the game and that therefore there is nothing morally questionable in business bluffing. In a recent issue of this journal, (...) Fritz Allhoff puts forward a novel defence of business bluffing. In this article, I will examine Allhoff’s arguments for the moral acceptability of business bluffing and argue that they are implausible. (shrink)
Many traditional conceptions of ethics use categories and arguments that have been developed under conditions of pre-modern societies and are not useful in the age of globalisation anymore. I argue that we need an economic ethics which employs economics as a key theoretical resource and which focuses on institutions for implementing moral norms. This conception is then elaborated further in the area of business ethics. It is illustrated in the case for banning child labour.
What sort of connection is there between business ethics and philosophy? The answer given here: a weak one, but it may be getting stronger. Comparatively few business ethics articles are structurally dependent on mainstream academic philosophy or on such sub-specialities thereof as normative ethics, moral theory, and social and political philosophy. Examining articles recently published in the Journal of Business Ethics that declare some dependence, the author finds that such declarations often constitute only a pro forma gesture which could be (...) omitted without detriment to the paper's content and conclusions. He also finds, however, that some authors do draw on solid philosophical work in ways that are establishing ever more meaningful interconnections between business ethics and academic philosophy. These cross-disciplinary studies, he concludes, are ground-breaking and invite creative imitation. (shrink)
For more than two decades, Peter French has been arguing in books, articles and symposia that corporations are genuine actors in the moral universe. Like adult human beings, they can and should take moral responsibility for their actions and be held accountable by the other actors in this universe. I have always argued with my students that the position is both metaphysically incorrect and practically harmful. Now (1995) French has redeveloped his position through 380 pages in Corporate Ethics, probably the (...) most challenging and original Business Ethics textbook yet to appear. It is a work of intellectual sophistication with real world applications. Using the metaphor invaders throughout the book, French argues not only that corporations are moral agents, but also that their moral agency has made the business world of the late twentieth century and of the coming century different from anything of preceding epochs. It is, in his argument, an agency of great potential danger and of great potential benefit, one in terms of which we can address every ethical problem of business. In the essay, I explore Corporate Ethics both on the metaphysical and the practical level. (shrink)
The article sets out to reconstruct the ongoing re-discussion of role of morality in the economic subsystem. Traditional dichotomies between selfishness and benevolence, individual and collective interest, equality and efficiency have been shown to need more cautious reformulation. The claim is that, rather than taking sides for or against the reasons of ‘man’ or ‘solidarity’ against alleged reasons of the economy or the market, what is required is better understanding of the ways economies and markets work.
The purpose of this paper is to analyze the role of values in strategic management. We discuss recent criticisms of the concept of strategy and argue that the concept of value helps reconcile these criticisms with traditional models of strategy. We show that Andrews' model of corporate strategy rightly takes morally significant values to be essential to effective management. We show how the notion of value can be clarified and used in research into various conceptions of corporate morality.