Responsibility in Organizational Context

Business Ethics Quarterly 11 (3):431-454 (2001)
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Abstract

Abstract:Why does it matter that every negative thought you have had about car salespeople, they have likely had about you? The answer to this question opens up the distinctive challenges, and opportunities, facing business ethics. Those challenges and opportunities emerge from the significant bearing organizational reality has upon individuals’ conduct. As we consider how to assign responsibility for misconduct; how to provide guidance to organizational actors about what they ought to do; and how to develop responsive ethical theory, we need to take psychological and social forces into account. Organizations shape human behavior in ways that pose unavoidable questions about responsibility, practical guidance, and the enterprise of business ethics itself. Adopting the agents’ perspective suggests that business ethics can take a leading role in addressing these vexing questions that confront ethical inquiry and social science more broadly.

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