Re-Imaging Business Ethics: Meaningful Solutions for a Global Economy: Volume 4


Table of contents

(11 chapters)

Financial services, the media, and health care are each considered to be a service industry, but recently have become more dominated by economic concerns. This change is part of a larger perception concerning the nature of “the economic system”, one which can be viewed from successive conceptual shifts among three major moral perspectives by which economic concerns gradually gained an independent stature. A present emerging moral paradigm can restore the economic system to the rich relational context from which it has been falsely and destructively abstracted, showing that neither “the economic system” nor the institutions embedded within it can be separated from humanistic and service concerns.

Stakeholder theory has often been placed in opposition to law, primarily because of misconceptions about fiduciary law. If managers are forced to choose between law and stakeholder theory, then there is no choice, for managers must obey the law. Bringing the two disciplines together, then, strengthens the appeal of both. In addition, it assists managers in bridging the gap between theory and practice. It enables business ethicists and lawyers to frame issues according to what managers already know, and what good managers already do.It is possible to argue for the advocacy of legal imagination. Such a notion encompasses the process of challenging accepted legal interpretations in order to motivate dynamic, evolving legal analysis. The gap between business law and business practices underscores the problem that legal imagination endeavors to attack. It encourages the search for creative solutions to ongoing dilemmas.Legal imagination is not a new term within law, but it has not yet been well developed. Using legal imagination could reveal potential within the law for a legal theory of stakeholder management. Traces of such a theory exist within current scholarship. This paper explores how legal principles from contracts, torts, and property can be integrated to help develop a legal foundation for stakeholder theory.

An interdependent global economy increases the practical and scholarly importance of international business ethics. This paper examines the relationship between transnational moral activism and international value harmonization in this context. Moral activism, while often grounded in mixed motives, is some effort to correct a perceived wrong in outcomes and/or the values and/or conduct of others. Economic interdependence increases contact among arguably very different cultures and values. The paper focuses on two specific examples: (1) increasing international cooperation for the suppression of bribery and other forms of corruption in private and governmental conduct; and (2) actual or proposed U.S. economic sanctioning of countries regarded as oppressive or terroristic. The role of the U.S. as a first or sole mover in such issue arenas is examined. The U.S. government and business sectors appear to be coming into increasing disagreement over foreign sanctions, as such sanctions affect business opportunities exploited by other members of the OECD. The practical importance for U.S. firms resolves into three key dimensions: (1) relaxation of U.S. policy controls affecting U.S. business activity abroad; (2) implications for corresponding business activity by foreign firms into the U.S.; and (3) what is typically characterized as global corporate citizenship.

Societal expectations that organizations employ their resources in a socially responsible manner have grown exponentially over the past three decades. By enabling stakeholders greater access to information, technology is a key driver underlying this trend. The rapid and all-encompassing advance of technology affords managers methods and tools with which to address successfully its corporate social responses. Technology has been used by organizations from the beginning of the “information age” to increase revenues and reduce costs. This paper suggests that the application of technology is also a necessary and integral component in the link between the abstraction of social responsiveness and its practical reality. This link is exemplified by the growth and success of Socially Responsible Investment Organizations (SRIOs). These firms not only use technological tools to identify, research and classify companies' suitability, but also to communicate demands from investors and concerns to corporate management. Additionally, corporate managers are able to use technology in developing mechanisms for reporting, measuring, monitoring, and disseminating vital information to various stakeholders. The impact of technology on social responsibility practices is presented in a model for operationalizing the management of corporate social performance and stakeholder relationships.

The management consulting firms' competence and capacity to provide high quality services and thereby create, transfer and develop managerial knowledge have an important role for the client firms and the society. The international management consulting associations have formulated Codes of Conduct and Codes of Ethics that aim to regulate and provide guidelines for the management consulting firms' activities. This paper investigates whether there is a fit between the Codes and: (a) the current modes of management consulting; and (b) the needs of the consulting firms to learn and develop continually their knowledge base and competencies. The analysis indicates that the majority of the Codes tend to support one-directional, i.e. ‘directive’, ‘content-based’, and ‘transplantation-based’ type of consulting. In the cases where the Codes recommend interaction, they could emphasize two-directionality and mutual interaction between the consultant and the client more clearly and explicitly, in the spirit of ‘non-directive’, ‘process-based’ and ‘translation-based’ consulting models. As to the development of the consulting firms' knowledge and competencies, the analysis reveals that the Codes emphasize necessary qualifications and the quality of advice. With two exceptions the Codes do not directly and explicitly indicate the dynamic aspect, i.e. that the consulting firms should develop their skills and knowledge continually. Also, there is variation concerning the methods to develop competencies. Therefore, there are several unutilized opportunities to develop the Codes to meet better the needs of the knowledge society.

Increasingly, corporate philanthropy includes not only monetary donations, but also employees' service contributions to community projects. Using concepts from role theory, this paper proposes that employees' readiness to volunteer interacts with their perceived link between company-sponsored community service and salient organizational rewards and resources to moderate the impact of their community service participation on their job attitudes and on the community recipients they serve. Specifically, we propose that to the extent that employees have lower readiness to volunteer, their compliance with community service role expectations so as not to forfeit organizational rewards will increase their person-role conflict, which will, in turn, negatively affect their job satisfaction and organizational commitment and their treatment of community recipients; and to the extent that employees have higher readiness to volunteer, they will, regardless of their perceptions of the link between service and organizational rewards, derive from their company-sponsored community service a sense of person-role congruence that will enhance their job satisfaction and organizational commitment and foster their caring and helpfulness toward community recipients.

Publication date
Book series
Research in Ethical Issues in Organizations
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
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