Responsible Management in Private Sector Nano Enterprises: Conversations with Lead Technologists and Managers [Book Review]

NanoEthics 7 (3):217-229 (2013)


The aim was to learn about responsible management in private sector nano enterprises by telephone conversations with lead technologists and managers in companies in the US Midwest. The conversations took place between January and March of 2011. The marked increase starting in 2008 of prescriptive documents such as guidelines, codes of responsibility, and best practices in NanoEthicsBank offered an entry point for initiating the conversations. Had respondents noticed these documents and did they find them useful? Follow-up questions asked about the full life cycle of their products. The responses from 22 of the 25 organizations selected are categorized in 5 groups according to how they described their nano materials/business. A conception of responsible management in organizations is provided to underpin the analysis of the responses. This conception features virtues of concern, care, and foresight implied by a fundamental moral obligation. In the analysis, definitions from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the International Standards Organization (ISO) are used as a basis of comparison in assessing respondents’ claims. Two important gaps are identified. One gap is between actual practices and the prescriptive use of the conception of responsible management in organizations. The other gap is between the actual use of nano terminology and OECD definitions

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