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Exemplars play a central role in business ethics and ethical decision-making. In general terms, an exemplar is defined as ‘a person or thing to be copied’ and can include…
Exemplars play a central role in business ethics and ethical decision-making. In general terms, an exemplar is defined as ‘a person or thing to be copied’ and can include persons who have their sense of moral commitment as a core part of their sense of self, take a principled personal stand or a role model or an organisation committed to certain moral standards or other things such as case studies, anecdotes, and even fables and myths. Researchers have used different approaches to explain the role of exemplars in decision-making in general and ethical decision-making in particular. This paper presents evidence of SME managers acknowledging the role of exemplars in the management of their businesses and in their ethical decision-making processes.
Semi-structured, open-ended interviews were conducted in an exploratory manner with 20 owners/senior managers of SMEs in Australia. Two types of exemplars were identified in the analysis – individual and organisational, and indicated the prominence of individual exemplars over organisational exemplars. Analysis also suggests the use of multiple exemplars, learning moral behaviours, getting inspired, learning ethical decision-making skills and the ability to retrieve exemplar representations from memory to influence judgements and decisions.
This study provides an insight into one of the methods employed by SME managers in ethical decision-making. Findings could be useful in making SME managers aware of their penchant of using exemplars. The paper contributes to the knowledge in the area of one of the many methods that SME managers use in ethical decision-making.
We argue that Oskar Schindler is a moral exemplar. Oskar Schindler and other moral exemplars should, according to Mayo, be emulated. Emulating Schindler when he acted as a…
We argue that Oskar Schindler is a moral exemplar. Oskar Schindler and other moral exemplars should, according to Mayo, be emulated. Emulating Schindler when he acted as a moral exemplar could have led to others’ being helped during truly terrible times. Yet, had officialdom at that time known what Schindler was doing, he would have lost his life, and the lives of the many others he was able to save – as well as their progeny – would also have been lost. Thus, we underscore that it can be extraordinarily difficult for someone to be recognised as a moral exemplar when a moral exemplar is so desperately needed.
A proposed typology of moral exemplars in business highlights instances selected to illustrate standards for inclusion. The typology distinguishes among champions, heroes…
A proposed typology of moral exemplars in business highlights instances selected to illustrate standards for inclusion. The typology distinguishes among champions, heroes, and saints as different kinds of business exemplars. The typology reflects variations in both specific decision conditions and moral value emphases of business actors. The typology also differentiates moral exemplars from moral neutrals (i.e., amoral actors) and moral sinners (i.e., moral value scofflaws). The objective is to advance understanding of moral character and moral courage in business settings.
The methodology combines original conceptual argument and brief case summaries taken from available literature. The chapter is not a systematic survey of literature but cites key works. Construction of the typology involved iteration between conceptual development and case interpretation.
The chapter separates business cases into private business and public business, and applies Adam Smith’s distinction between citizenship and good citizenship. An additional distinction is made between extreme conditions and normal conditions. Moral heroism in business is restricted to life-and-death or strongly analogous situations in extreme conditions such as hazardous whistleblowing. Moral sainthood in business involves extreme maximization of a single value going far beyond simple compliance with legal requirements and typical ethical norms – Smith’s definition of citizenship. Moral championing in business concerns some degree of lesser self-sacrifice in defense of important values reflecting Smith’s definition of good citizenship.
Research Limitations and Implications
The chapter is a selection of literature undertaken in iteration with the conceptual development effort. The original research aspect of the chapter is thus quite limited. The author is not positioned to judge the accuracy of published information, for or against a particular instance. The classifications thus depend on whether the instance would, if the generally reported facts are basically accurate, serve as a reasonable illustration of standards for inclusion. Criticisms have been made concerning some of the instances discussed here.
The emphasis is on providing standards for defining moral exemplars for business to suggest how much can be accomplished in business through moral influence.
The conceptual contribution is original, although drawing on the philosophical literature debate about saints and heroes. The chapter treats exemplar as the overarching construct, separated into three kinds: heroes, saints, and champions. Sinner is implicit in the notion of saint. The chapter adds moral champions and moral neutrals to isolate moral heroism. The cases exist in the literature, but have been combined together here for the first time.
There is significant debate regarding the necessity for and existence of moral exemplars in business. We believe it is both necessary and beneficial for free market…
There is significant debate regarding the necessity for and existence of moral exemplars in business. We believe it is both necessary and beneficial for free market economic systems to be viewed as a moral exemplar by business students, educators, practitioners, and ethicists. Since much of the world operates under some type of free market economic paradigm, it is important that there be a moral base for these operations.
Free market economic systems are usually defended on utilitarian grounds, that they produce better results than other systems. In this chapter we take a micro approach and show that free market economic systems support individual rights and dignity. This is important because business persons need moral exemplars based in their own discipline’s theory to recognize the vocational aspects of business. That is, business persons must understand why free market systems serve the greater good.
Free market systems are not a complete or perfect moral exemplar. Business persons need to know the limits of the economic system and find other moral exemplars for their role as citizens. We illustrate this with the discussion of monopoly and Option for the Poor.
Catholic Social Teaching (CST), the moral exemplar of the Roman Catholic Church, has been developed over many centuries. The purpose of this chapter is to show how free market economic outcomes are compatible with CST goals. Illustrating the consistency between CST and free market systems provides compelling evidence that such systems are indeed a moral exemplar for business persons.
Although Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is the most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted infection in the USA, much controversy exists with respect to HPV vaccination…
Although Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is the most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted infection in the USA, much controversy exists with respect to HPV vaccination, especially among parents of adolescents. Previous research has shown that exemplars in the media influence public opinion estimates about controversial social issues. However, little is known about the underlying psychological processes of how exemplars influence public opinion formation. The purpose of this paper is to systematically explore such psychological processes based on the projection theory. To this end, the important yet controversial public health issue, the mandatory HPV vaccination, was chosen.
A two-factor (exemplar vs proportion), between-subject experiment was conducted using online newspaper articles as main stimuli. A total of 138 participants completed the study. The analytical framework comprised the Sobel test with the Bootstrap method and a series of Ordinary Least Square hierarchical regression analyses.
The higher the proportion of exemplars against the HPV vaccination in a news article was, the greater the number of individuals who became opposed to it was. And the high personal opposition translated into negative public opinion change estimation.
The findings indicate that news exemplars may influence individuals’ personal opinion formation, and, in turn, contribute to their estimations of future public opinion climate, as suggested by the projection theory. Theoretical, methodological and practical implications for journalists, health educators and policy makers are discussed.
The purpose of this paper is to explore how brand origin (BO) cues affect the consumer’s association of a new brand with BO learning and the subsequent effects on brand…
The purpose of this paper is to explore how brand origin (BO) cues affect the consumer’s association of a new brand with BO learning and the subsequent effects on brand image (BO semiotics). An integrative theoretical framework is proposed that includes both processes.
The proposed model is based on analogical learning theory and triadic semiotic theory.
Two types of BO knowledge form BO meanings in consumer minds: country-related categories and exemplar brands, which have a classification and/or inferential role. The brand cues (indexes or icons) used by consumers to identify BO generate one or the other type of BO knowledge. Indexes trigger the classification function of country-related categories while icons trigger the inferential role of country-related categories and exemplar brands. BO knowledge informs the meaning transfer when consumers interpret the meaning of a new brand, leading to either a transfer of relations or a transfer of attributes to the new brand.
Marketers should monitor BO exemplar brands that consumers use as meaning sources and carefully select the signs used in their communications to evoke BO.
The proposed framework contrasts with dominant categorisation perspectives, re-establishing the dual role of categories and emphasising the relevance of brand cues in BO identification and BO exemplar brands in the BO meaning transfer process. A meaning-centred perspective is adopted to integrate BO identification and the related transfer mechanisms.
Despite ample research on the topic of business model innovation, little is known about the cognitive processes whereby some innovative business models gain the status of…
Despite ample research on the topic of business model innovation, little is known about the cognitive processes whereby some innovative business models gain the status of iconic representations of particular types of firms. This study addresses the question: How do iconic business models emerge? In other words: How do innovative business models become prototypical exemplars for new categories of firms? We focus on the case of Airbnb, and analyze how six mainstream business media publications discussed Airbnb between 2008 and 2013. The cognitive process whereby Airbnb’s business model became the iconic business model for the sharing economy involved three phases. First, these publications drew on multiple analogies to try to assimilate Airbnb’s innovative business model into their existing system of categories. Second, they developed a more nuanced understanding of Airbnb’s business model. Finally, they established it as the prototypical exemplar of a new type of organization. We contribute to business model research by providing an elaborated definition of the notion of the iconic business model which is rooted in social categorization research, and by theorizing the cognitive process that underpins the emergence of iconic business models. Our study also complements research on the role of analogical reasoning in business model innovation. Finally, we complement the market categorization literature by documenting a case of the emergence of a prototypical exemplar.
It is not surprising that the dominant cognitive frame through which most audiences view climate change is that of an environmental problem. However, this messaging…
It is not surprising that the dominant cognitive frame through which most audiences view climate change is that of an environmental problem. However, this messaging strategy has proven susceptible to counter-attacks, defensing processing, and other cognitive biases. As such, many environmental advocates are switching gears. From Barack Obama to Pope Francis, the environment-as-public-health-concern narrative is increasingly found in climate change messages. This strategy involves making the abstract issue of climate change more concrete by tying it to negative health impacts, like asthma, heat-related illness, and the spread of disease. Understanding why and for whom this strategy is persuasive, particularly in a social media context where users often encounter persuasive climate change messages, can help advance theory and practice.
The purpose of this chapter is two-fold: 1.) Test the effects of climate message frame (damage to nature or damage to public health), message source (liberal or conservative organization), and the use of visual human exemplars (present or absent) in social media messages; and, 2.) Assess the predictive utility of different conceptual frameworks (personification, construal level theory, and moral foundations theory) as explanatory mechanisms for persuasive social media climate message effects. The results of a nation-wide experiment reveal that the use of visual exemplars matters when climate change is framed as an environmental problem, but otherwise message frame, source, and visual exemplar use have little impact on policy attitudes. Further analyses demonstrated that multiple conceptual mechanisms related to the aforementioned theories help explain social media effects on climate change attitudes.
Hospital nurse managers are in the middle. Their supervisors expect that they will monitor and discipline nurses who commit errors, while also asking them to create a…
Hospital nurse managers are in the middle. Their supervisors expect that they will monitor and discipline nurses who commit errors, while also asking them to create a culture that fosters reporting of errors. Their staff nurses expect the managers to support them after errors occur. Drawing on interviews with 20 nurse managers from three tertiary care hospitals, the study identifies key exemplars that illustrate how managers monitor nursing errors. The exemplars examine how nurse managers: (1) sent mixed messages to staff nurses about incident reporting, (2) kept two sets of books for recording errors, and (3) developed routines for classifying potentially harmful errors into non-reportable categories. These exemplars highlight two tensions: the application of bureaucratic rule-based standards to professional tasks, and maintaining accountability for errors while also learning from them. We discuss how these fundamental tensions influence organizational learning and suggest theoretical and practical research questions and a conceptual framework.