This paper examines whether appealing to learners’ moral identity makes a significant contribution to improving their ethical decision making beyond traditional, rule-based teaching. In response to criticisms leveled at rule-based ethics teaching by alternative approaches, we identify moral identity theory and experiments in moral psychology as useful sources to draw on for the creation of a new, identity-based ethics teaching approach. We develop and apply a set of regular self-reflection focused writing tasks added to the traditional teaching program over a (...) one-semester period, and assess the outcomes of an overall sample of 149 postgraduate business school students, who were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: exposure to both identity-based tasks and rule-based teaching, exposure to rule-based teaching only, and the control condition. Our findings show that, while the three groups reported the same level of ethical decision making at the beginning of the semester, at the end of the semester the students who were exposed to both identity-based and rule-based teaching reported higher level of ethical decision making compared to those who were only exposed to rule-based education. In addition, the students who received rule-based teaching reported higher ethical decision making compared to those in the control condition. These results suggest that a teaching approach which appeals to the learner’s moral identity can act as an effective leverage point when complementing rule-based teaching. This simple approach should be widely adopted as common practice in graduate business schools. (shrink)
In this study, we examine the relationship between appeal to self-perceptions of moral identity, included in the teaching of ethics, and the strengthening of moral judgment among postgraduate business students. As appeal to moral identity emphasizes personal engagement in the appraisal of an ethically charged situation, it addresses critiques of abstract rule application and principle transfer leveled at traditional business ethics teaching. Eighty-one participants completed a series of reflective writing exercises throughout a twelve-week business ethics unit. Based on an instrument (...) completed at the beginning and end of the education process, our results indicate a positive shift in moral judgement intensity. We, therefore, recommend appeal to moral identity as a leverage strategy to be employed in business ethics education in order to strengthen students’ moral judgment. (shrink)
A recent virtual symposium in search for leverage points in business ethics education, organized by the Teaching Business Ethics section of the Journal of Business Ethics, has yielded a number of suggestions that we would like to share with our readers and, in particular, with educators and researchers who are passionate about andragogic innovations. This is not intended as a comprehensive research manifesto, but rather as a collegial conversation around matters that have preoccupied us for a long time.
Organized immaturity, the reduction of individual capacities for public use of reason constrained by sociotechnological systems, constitutes a significant pushback against the project of Enlightenment. Forms of immaturity have long been a concern for philosophers and social theorists, such as Kant, Arendt, Fromm, Marcuse, and Foucault. Recently, Zuboff’s concept of “surveillance capitalism” describes how advancements in digital technologies lead to new, increasingly sophisticated forms of organized immaturity in democratic societies. We discuss how sociotechnological systems initially designed to meet human needs (...) can inhibit the multidimensional development of individuals as mature citizens. To counteract these trends, we suggest two mechanisms: disorganizing immaturity as a way to safeguard individuals’ and collectives’ negative freedoms (freedoms from), and organizing maturity as a way to strengthen positive freedoms (freedoms to). Finally, we provide an outlook on the five further articles that constitute the Business Ethics Quarterly Special Issue “Sociotechnological Conditions of Organized Immaturity in the Twenty-First Century.”. (shrink)
In this paper, we undertake a genealogical study to illustrate how Karl Marx derives his concept of class conflict from Adam Smith’s theory of social order. Based on these findings, we argue that both Smith’s and Marx’s political economies should be interpreted in relation to each other – from the perspective of social philosophy, in particular their shared concepts of social order and necessary opposition of class interests. By appeal to process philosophy, we also argue that this reinterpretation needs to (...) take into account two other ideas shared by Smith and Marx, namely the social individual as person-in-community, and the pursuit of desirable social forms from a humanistic perspective. We conclude by contending that business management practice would benefit from understanding the role of class tensions and social order in stakeholder relations. Specifically, management and organization scholarship should focus on philosophical examinations of the influence of social order on economic activities in an organization in a way that is far more appreciative of the social relations of individuals as being the primary, rather than a secondary, concern. (shrink)
Although the concept of value is central to sustainable business models (SBMs), the field has struggled to clarify what value is. SBM research accounts for multiple forms of value directed at multiple stakeholders. We argue that this diversity challenge should be addressed not by seeking a field-unifying definition of value but by developing methodological guidelines for a field-specific approach to defining value in SBM contexts. Based on Aristotelian logic and philosophical phenomenology of value, we develop an analytical framework that can (...) be used for generating good definitions of value. We use this framework to explore approaches to value in extant SBM literature, highlight problematic patterns in applications of this concept, and suggest ways to avoid these patterns. The result is a guide to assist SBM researchers in exploring and defining value, and in applying their definitions consistently in theory building efforts. (shrink)