Table of contents(10 chapters)
This introduction to the 20-year anniversary issue of Research in Ethical Issues in Organizations notes that the role of organisations in society, the international and multidisciplinary scope of business ethics and the importance of narrative, issues identified in the early volumes, remain important.
Special Section: 20 Years of REIO
My approach comprises two main points. I begin by reiterating my proposed argument that corporate social responsibility develops within organisations, over time, in four general phases and that practitioner attitudes are moving away from the dominant phase of social responsibility (SR) as public relations activity (Hemingway, 2013). The financial crash of 2008 was the catalyst for this marked gear shift in the awareness of organisational ‘ethics’ and ‘morality’ (SR) that was previously confined to the concerns of the business ethics scholars. Second, I contend that the legitimacy and credibility of SR in business schools is lagging behind that shift due to misunderstandings about its relevance, the obsession with performance metrics and a lack of political will in some cases. In the final part of this article, I suggest ways forward for research, teaching and practice.
The Moral of the Story is a college textbook focusing on moral philosophy, discussing classical and contemporary ethical theories, and illustrating them through summaries and excerpts of stories selected from the world of fiction. This article is the author’s reflection on conceiving and writing the textbook, as well as providing updated, revised editions over a quarter of a century. Through eight editions, The Moral of the Story has reflected the changing times from the early 1990s through the first two decades of the twenty-first century, primarily in the United States, with shifting moral debates, new modes of storytelling, and new generations of students. Each edition has become a commentary on some of those changes, with new narratives illustrating classical moral problems. The author, seeking common ground in moral philosophy through the theory of soft universalism, raises the question whether or not there is still common ground in fictional narratives among students of today to facilitate the comprehension of ethical theories. The author suggests that while mores may change, and forms of storytelling expand beyond the written word, storytelling is part of our human nature, and stories will still provide a valuable access to discussing problems and solutions within our complex world of ethics and ethical theories, in particular in a college environment.
The purpose of this work is to consider how to best prepare current and future business students for the inevitable ethical dilemmas that they will face in the course of their professional careers. To that end, the – still under-researched – rich history of the academic study of business ethics is leveraged in order to consider how a better understanding of the history of business ethics can help prepare for the future of business ethics. In addition to the above, the inescapable central role of the individual decision maker is demonstrated, with special emphasis on what is known about contemporary students of business can inform with regard to what business ethical challenges may await them and those impacted by their decisions.
This article considers what has happened in the 20 years since REIO was founded. The article argues that in sub-Saharan Africa many of those self-same issues currently continue to plague Africans, and that these issues urgently need to be addressed if we are going to improve morality in Africa. In exploring these issues, we considered the circumstances which the Victorian novelist, Anthony Trollope (1815–1882), experienced when he lived in Ireland during the Irish famine. Our article argues as to the very similar circumstances which led to the Irish famine and, currently, lead to the recurrent famines in sub-Saharan Africa. Trollope explored both the causes and the ramifications of the Irish famine in his novel Castle Richmond. According to Trollope, many of the effects of the Irish famine could have been averted if those in the community able to help had had the necessary moral willpower to do so. Trollope was an extremely keen fox-hunter and argued as to the communal benefits of fox-hunting. The article also considers a current devotee of fox-hunting, the Oxford philosopher Roger Scruton, and we explore Scruton’s arguments as to the benefits of local communities. We argue that Scruton’s conservative arguments have much in common with that of the renowned communitarian, Michael Sandel. And that if their arguments were seriously considered much of what the Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo fears for her fellow sub-Saharan Africans might be avoided.
“In every generation, each person must regard himself as if he had come out of Egypt.” This prescription of the Haggadah promises that there is a way of reading and speaking about Exodus that allows one to embellish old stories and to make them new in order to re-energize the ideal of biblical redemption, making it relevant to our everyday lives.
Redemption in the Exodus narrative can be read not only as a historical record of ancient events, but can also be understood as creating a counter-culture of hope when all that has been experienced until now is one of pure necessity. Redemption, in this view, is an ongoing, everyday activity. It is creating islands of stability in a seemingly meaningless and unresponsive universe.
In this article, I identify and explores several rabbinic conceptions of everyday redemption including 1-mirror play, 2-deep dialogue, and 3-and the institutionalization of Torah study. The article also briefly discusses the inherent and dangerous temptation of overreaching and demanding an otherworldly redemption (Redemption with a capital R) in the here and now. The article concludes with a description of some practical contemporary examples of everyday redemption in business.
Despite the existence of a variety of approaches to the understanding of behavioral and managerial ethics in organizations and business relationships generally, knowledge of organizing systems for fidelity remains in its infancy. We use halakha, or Jewish law, as a model, together with the literature in sociology, economic anthropology, and economics on what it termed “middleman minorities,” and on what we have termed the Landa Problem, the problem of identifying a trustworthy economic exchange partner, to explore this issue.
The article contrasts the differing explanations for trustworthy behavior in these literatures, focusing on the widely referenced work of Avner Greif on the Jewish Maghribi merchants of the eleventh century. We challenge Greif’s argument that cheating among the Magribi was managed chiefly via a rational, self-interested reputational sanctioning system in the closed group of traders. Greif largely ignores a more compelling if potentially complementary argument, which we believe also finds support among the documentary evidence of the Cairo Geniza as reported by Goitein: that the behavior of the Maghribi reflected their deep beliefs and commitment to Jewish law, halakha.
Applying insights from this analysis, we present an explicit theory of heroic marginality, the production of extreme precautionary behaviors to ensure service to the principal.
Generalizing from the case of halakha, the article proposes the construct of a deep code, identifying five defining characteristics of such a code, and suggests that deep codes may act as facilitators of compliance. We also offer speculation on design features employing deep codes that may increase the likelihood of production of behaviors consistent with terminal values of the community.