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Book part
Publication date: 22 November 2016

Stan J. Knapp

This paper argues that the quest for meaning and the problem of suffering are in an irresolvable state of tension and that this tension remains of central importance in…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper argues that the quest for meaning and the problem of suffering are in an irresolvable state of tension and that this tension remains of central importance in modernity and a prominent issue in the reconstruction of contemporary social theory and social science.

Methodology/approach

The approach focuses on an examination of the work of Max Weber and Emmanuel Levinas on issues of rationality and suffering bringing them into a productive dialogue and juxtaposition.

Findings

The work of Max Weber shows how practices of rationality in modernity are still haunted by the ethical call to responsibility that suffering incurs. The work of Emmanuel Levinas complements and reconfigures Weber’s framing of the issues involved and deepens the general point that a reconstructed social theory would incorporate the implications of suffering more deeply into its practices.

Implications

A social science and social theory oriented by an epistemological framework is inadequate to the ethical responsibility the presence of suffering invokes. A reconstructed social theory in an ethical framework calls for the best knowledge capable of being produced. As such, a nihilistic or disengaged pluralism, as well as a social science framed primarily by methodological concerns, is inadequate. What will be required is both critical examination of explicit and implicit assumptions of theory and research as well as active, engaged dialogical practices with alternative perspectives.

Originality/value

An engagement between Weber and Levinas is almost unprecedented, especially on issues rationality and suffering despite their shared perspectives. What Levinas offers the reconstruction of social theory today is explored.

Details

Reconstructing Social Theory, History and Practice
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-469-3

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Book part
Publication date: 17 September 2020

Peter McGhee

This Chapter applies the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas to business’ role in the ‘War on Terror’. Specifically, it uses Levinasian ethics to explain how organisations

Abstract

This Chapter applies the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas to business’ role in the ‘War on Terror’. Specifically, it uses Levinasian ethics to explain how organisations, often with an abundance of ethical resources, become associated with military drones strikes against civilians, and offers ideas that challenge this practice. The chapter comprises several sections beginning with a brief introduction to the ‘War on Terror’ and the use of military drones. A concise discussion about business ethics and just war theory follows after which, the chapter explains Levinas’ ethics and his views on war. These ideas are applied to transform business ethical practice in this controversial area. The Chapter concludes with a summary of its main points.

Details

War, Peace and Organizational Ethics
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83982-777-8

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Article
Publication date: 31 July 2009

David Campbell, Ken McPhail and Richard Slack

Annual reporting has moved from the conveyance of “simple” accounting numbers and more towards narrative, graphical, pictorial and broader aesthetic content conveyance. At…

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2808

Abstract

Purpose

Annual reporting has moved from the conveyance of “simple” accounting numbers and more towards narrative, graphical, pictorial and broader aesthetic content conveyance. At the same time, there has been a small but growing discussion of the work of Emmanuel Levinas and Zygmunt Bauman and in particular the ethic of the Other. The aim of this paper is to explore the presence of faces in annual reports.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on initial observations from the analysis of human representations in the annual reports of 14 companies for all years 1989 to 2003 (210 annual reports), the paper interprets the increase from a Levinasian perspective, drawing substantially from Bauman's articulation of Levinas' ethic of the Other. Particularly within the work of Levinas, this ethic is articulated through the nakedness of the face. Analysis is partly performed through illustration of the site of audiencing, a key visual methodology, in annual report images.

Findings

A significant rise in total human representation over time is interpreted in Levinasian terms and the range of sites of audiencing is demonstrated. Arguments are discussed that suggest a counter‐hegemonic understanding of the corporations' responsibility to the Other.

Originality/value

The paper provides a critical analysis of what this kind of face work means within the context of Levinas' ethics of the Other. The paper explores what this kind of face work means for the possibility of Levinasian‐inspired moral development and the potential for a counter‐hegemonic face work that may promote accountability.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 22 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 6 May 2014

Tom Estad, Stefano Harney and Howard Thomas

The purpose of this paper is to explore the prerequisite conditions for implementing a liberal management education and for fostering ethical students using examples from…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the prerequisite conditions for implementing a liberal management education and for fostering ethical students using examples from the core curriculum at Singapore Management University (SMU).

Design/methodology/approach

Beginning with a reading of the Carnegie Foundation's Rethinking Undergraduate Business Education: liberal learning for the professions (2011), the paper examines the contribution and limits of the findings and recommendations before discussing the place of the liberal arts in the modern university and describing a case study of liberal management education in process at SMU. It concludes with a reading of the work of Emmanuel Levinas and Asian philosophy as the basis for an ethical management education.

Findings

The paper uncovers a central shortcoming in an otherwise important Carnegie study: that business education is unlike other professional education because it lacks an autonomous discipline that studies business knowledge production as an object. Consequently, applying the liberal arts to business education risks neglecting the critical side of the liberal arts. With only the reflective side of the liberal arts in operation, management education cannot be grasped as a specific sphere of values within the pluralism of spheres advocated by the Carnegie report. Only by recreating the function of an autonomous discipline with an objective lens on business knowledge within the core curriculum at SMU can that university attempt to incorporate both the critical and reflective side of the liberal arts in management education. This kind of liberal management education can indeed lead to respect for the values of the others in the way that ethical philosopher Emmanuel Levinas envisioned.

Research limitations/implications

Further development of the SMU core curriculum is necessary in order to confirm the hypothesis that the liberal arts can be brought together with management education to produce more mature, ethical students.

Practical implications

Liberal management education curriculum must incorporate the critical function of the liberal arts when faced with business knowledge production in order to promote a pluralist ethics. If SMU is successful, it can become a model for other global business schools in Asia and beyond.

Social implications

Asian higher education is ongoing a rapid transformation in values. The shift is towards understanding the wider relationship between universities and society and the role of an education citizenry. Liberal management education can be a bridge to this new world of higher education in Asia, and beyond.

Originality/value

This discussion provides a fuller understanding of the two-sided nature of the liberal arts and the importance of both sides for building a liberal management education and creating ethically mature students.

Details

Journal of Management Development, vol. 33 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0262-1711

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Article
Publication date: 26 June 2007

Lucas D. Introna and Martin Brigham

This question of community has always been a preoccupation for the human sciences and, indeed, is a practical concern for us everyday humans in our variety ways of being…

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634

Abstract

Purpose

This question of community has always been a preoccupation for the human sciences and, indeed, is a practical concern for us everyday humans in our variety ways of being. As such a preoccupation with community traverses vast territories of intellectual discourse in philosophy, sociology, anthropology, psychology, and so forth. Recent developments in continental philosophy, innovations in information and communication technology and the emergence of “virtual” communities afford an opportunity to reconsider the meaning of community in what is believed to be a rather fundamental way. Virtual communities are often critiqued for being “thin” and “shallow” lacking the depth that local proximity in face‐to‐face communities brings. It is suggested that such a critique privileges a certain view of community premised upon shared values, or shared concerns, embedded in local situated face‐to‐face interaction and practices. The paper agues that such a view of community, based on categorical and physical proximity or sameness, can be problematised by a notion of community that is based on the ethical proximity of the stranger, the otherness of the Other.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws upon Martin Heidegger, Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida.

Findings

The paper demonstrates that community premised upon a categorical and physical proximity can be problematised by a conception of community based upon the ethical proximity of the stranger – the otherness of the Other. In developing this notion of community, the paper argues that communities always face an insider/outsider problematic that mirrors Levinas' tension between ethics and justice. Furthermore, the paper suggests that the continual working out of this problem, our ethical concern, is differently constituted in virtual communities and face‐to‐face communities. In particular, the paper draws attention to the importance of the encounter with the stranger in virtual environments.

Originality/value

Contributes to debates on community by developing an ethical and political philosophy through which a shared sense of community can be rethought through the primacy of the Other.

Details

Society and Business Review, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5680

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2008

Sara Louise Muhr

The purpose of this article is to question whether business is ethical as long as it follows rules, and on this view, to reflect over the relation between responsibility…

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1168

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to question whether business is ethical as long as it follows rules, and on this view, to reflect over the relation between responsibility and justice.

Design/methodology/approach

To exemplify this relation, the paper is based on in‐depth interviews with a human rights consultant. In this way, the paper presents a story from the field and thus follows a narrative method to retell the story of the consultant leading a human rights project in South Africa.

Findings

The paper concludes that following rules is not enough to ensure ethical business in a global market place. As global business rests on dynamics and flexibility, it seems limited that most business ethics rests on bureaucratic notions. The value of also viewing ethical decision‐making as personal responsibility is introduced through the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas.

Research limitations/implications

The study is based on in depth interviews with one person. Although this method ensures access to deeply personal and thorough knowledge about the event, it also has its limitation and risk of bias. Although this paper points towards some interesting relations between personal responsibility and international/organisational justice, more research is needed in the field of personal responsibility to make stronger conclusions.

Practical implications

The paper proposes that people working at the global market place could benefit from being educated in personal ethics and not only bureaucratic notions of ethics.

Originality/value

The paper provides valuable insight into the scarcely researched area of personalised business ethics.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 46 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Book part
Publication date: 17 September 2020

Shaun Best

Abstract

Details

The Emerald Guide to Zygmunt Bauman
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-741-6

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Abstract

Details

Man-Eating Monsters
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-528-3

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2005

Bert van de Ven

This article discusses the appeal of human rights as a normative basis for stakeholder claims in the context of international business. This appeal to human rights has…

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2910

Abstract

This article discusses the appeal of human rights as a normative basis for stakeholder claims in the context of international business. This appeal to human rights has proven to be an effective way to legitimize (in the sociological sense) the claims of stakeholders due to their proclaimed universal validity and the media interest in stories about human right violations. A problem for corporations that have to deal with claims based on human rights is that there seems to be little room to weigh these claims against the corporation’s interest and other stakeholder claims, since human rights are believed to override self‐interest. Furthermore, stakeholder theory as it stands, does not provide for a criterion to weigh human rights claims against the claims of (other) stakeholders. Following recent versions of stakeholder theory, claims based solely on human rights do not even qualify some person or group as a stakeholder. So the position of human rights‐based claims within organizational ethics remains unclear in stakeholder theory. The question this article tries to answer, is whether a corporation has a moral obligation to fulfil claims that are based solely on human rights and how this relates to the obligations a firm has to its stakeholders.

Details

Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

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Article
Publication date: 25 May 2021

David Yates and Rita Maria Difrancesco

We discuss the beneficiary accountability implications that arose due to the COVID-19 pandemic (and resultant social distancing restrictions) for a branch of a religious…

Abstract

Purpose

We discuss the beneficiary accountability implications that arose due to the COVID-19 pandemic (and resultant social distancing restrictions) for a branch of a religious non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in mainland Spain, whose main beneficiaries are homeless individuals.

Design/methodology/approach

We utilise a singular case method to observe accountability implications in the case organisation. We also utilise two sources of primary data: eight semi-structured interviews with volunteers of the NGO branch, supported by auto-ethnographic data recorded in forty-six diary entries throughout the period of research.

Findings

As the main mechanism for the discharge of beneficiary accountability for the case organisation is through action, this was affected greatly by the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing measures. Beneficiary accountability (discharged through action) changed rapidly, resulting in neglect of previous beneficiaries, carrying profound implications for charitable actors, beneficiaries and the organisation.

Research limitations/implications

Our case focuses on that of a small organisation, and therefore the generalisability of findings will be somewhat limited and context specific. The number of interviews (eight) is also relatively small.

Practical implications

Insights can be drawn for the management of volunteers, alignment of personally held accountabilities of internal actors with those of organisations and emotional aspects of accountability for NGO managers and organisers.

Originality/value

NGO accountability theorisation is enhanced via the use of Levinas' Judaic writings concerning the importance of the ritual practice of ethics for the individual involved in charitable action. The intertwined nature of personal accountability of volunteers and beneficiary accountability for the organisation is emphasised.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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