The Metrics of Ethics and the Ethics of Metrics

Journal of Business Ethics 175 (1):1-5 (2021)
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Abstract

Metrics shape our social worlds in many and more ways. Everyday quantifications of our preferences, our behaviors and our relationships, alter us and the institutions that we constitute. This essay takes a brief look at the metrics of business ethics through two analytic devices. Representation explains the notion that metrics can capture or demonstrate ethics and performativity explains the notion that metrics can shape or constitute ethics. The analytic distinction between representation and performativity is obscured in practice when metrics become targets, indeed much of the social power of metrics comes from their use as targets. Hence, we should pay attention to the world of practice in which measuring and doing are entangled. However, we should not lose sight of the limitations of measurement and the possibility that there are areas of ethical life best left unmeasured.

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References found in this work

How to do things with words.John Langshaw Austin - 1962 - Oxford [Eng.]: Clarendon Press. Edited by Marina Sbisá & J. O. Urmson.
Ethical Implications and Accountability of Algorithms.Kirsten Martin - 2018 - Journal of Business Ethics 160 (4):835-850.
The Audit Society: Rituals of Verification.Michael Power - 1999 - British Journal of Educational Studies 47 (1):92-94.

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