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Article
Publication date: 3 January 2017

Michel Dion

The purpose of this paper is to circumscribe the various philosophical connections between the classical and the modern notion of corruption from Enlightenment to post-modernity.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to circumscribe the various philosophical connections between the classical and the modern notion of corruption from Enlightenment to post-modernity.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper analyzed to what extent the classical notion of corruption (Plato, Aristotle and Cicero) still influenced the way philosophers perceived the phenomenon of corruption during the Enlightenment (1625-1832), the transition period (1833-1900) and the post-modernity (1901 onward). Taking those historical periods as reference points, the author will see how literature about historical, social and political conditioning factors of corruption could convey the presence/absence of the classical or the modern notion of corruption.

Findings

The paper finds that the classical notion of corruption implies the degeneration of human relationships (Plato and Hegel), the degeneration of the body-and-mind unity (Aristotle, Pascal and Thomas Mann) or the degeneration of collective morality (Cicero, Locke, Rousseau, Hume and Kant). The modern notion of corruption as bribery was mainly introduced by Adam Smith. Nietzsche (and Musil) looked at corruption as degeneration of the will-to-power. The classical notion of corruption put the emphasis on the effects rather than on the cause itself (effects-based thinking). The modern notion of corruption as bribery insists on the cause rather than on the effects (cause-based thinking).

Research limitations/implications

In this paper, the author has taken into account the main representatives of the three historical periods. Future research could also analyze the works of other philosophers and novelists to see to what extent their philosophical and literary works are unveiling the classical or the modern notion of corruption.

Originality/value

The paper presents a philosophical and historical perspective about corruption. It sheds light on the way philosophers (and sometimes novelists) deal with the issue of corruption, whether it is from an effects-based or from a cause-based perspective.

Details

Journal of Financial Crime, vol. 24 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-0790

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Article
Publication date: 30 June 2021

Michel Dion

The purpose of this paper is to examine how much the basic tenets of conscious capitalism could favor organizational change and anticorruption strategies.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how much the basic tenets of conscious capitalism could favor organizational change and anticorruption strategies.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper questions the vagueness of the tenets and principles of conscious capitalism. It unveils the idealized worldview of conscious capitalism, as it is based on a “pseudo-humanistic and pseudo-holistic” philosophy. The paper analyzes various kinds of rationale for justifying anticorruption measures and explains how the conscious capitalism movement should assume the challenge to develop one or the other rationale.

Findings

The conscious capitalism movement does not have basic rationale for any self-justified discourse about anticorruption measures. The principles of conscious capitalism organizations can be coherent with a rationale of individual and organizational compliance. They could be suitable with a rationale of legal, industry and international compliance. We could expect that the principles of conscious capitalism allow radical changes in the organizational culture. However, the main principles of conscious capitalism are not explicitly related to any rationale for a corporate self-justified discourse about anticorruption measures.

Research limitations/implications

The three kinds of rationale for corporate self-justified discourse about anticorruption measures are not exhaustive. There can be other kinds of corporate rationale. Moreover, the conscious capitalism movement appeared in 2000s and is still evolving. So, we should never take for granted that the present ideals and principles of conscious capitalism will never be improved and deepened.

Originality/value

The paper explains how the conscious capitalism movement remains unable to present its rationale for justifying anticorruption measures. In doing so, it provides three kinds of rationale that conscious capitalism organizations could use to develop their corporate self-justified discourse about anticorruption policies, measures and programs.

Details

Journal of Financial Crime, vol. 28 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-0790

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Article
Publication date: 2 July 2019

Michel Dion

The purpose of this paper is to see to what extent Hans-Georg Gadamer’s hermeneutic philosophy could be used to unveil how corporate discourse about financial crimes (in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to see to what extent Hans-Georg Gadamer’s hermeneutic philosophy could be used to unveil how corporate discourse about financial crimes (in codes of ethics) is closely linked to the process of understanding.

Design/methodology/approach

Corporate ethical discourse of 20 business corporations will be analyzed, as it is conveyed within their codes of ethics. The companies came from five countries (USA, Canada, France, Switzerland and Brazil). In the explanatory study, the following industries were represented (two companies by industry): aircrafts/trains, military, airlines, recreational vehicles, soft drinks, cigarettes, pharmaceuticals, beauty products, telecommunications and banks.

Findings

Historically-based prejudices in three basic narrative strategies (silence, chosen items and detailed discussion) about financial crimes are related to the mindset, to the basic outlook on corporate self-interest or to an absolutizing attitude.

Research limitations/implications

The historically-based prejudices that have been identified in this explanatory study should be analyzed in longitudinal studies.

Practical implications

The historically-based prejudices that have been identified in this explanatory study should be analyzed in longitudinal studies. Historically-based prejudices could be strengthened by the way corporate codes of ethics deal with financial crimes. They could, thus, have a deep impact on the organizational culture in the long-run.

Originality/value

The paper analyzes the way corporate codes of ethics use given narrative strategies to address financial crimes issues. It also unveils historically-based prejudices that follow from the choice of one or the other narrative strategy.

Details

Journal of Financial Crime, vol. 26 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-0790

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2019

Michel Dion

The purpose of this paper is to use Kierkegaard’s life-views (aesthetical, ethicist and religious life-views) for better understanding the way fraudsters are dealing with…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to use Kierkegaard’s life-views (aesthetical, ethicist and religious life-views) for better understanding the way fraudsters are dealing with their ontic-existentiell guilt, while developing rationalization tactics.

Design/methodology/approach

Rationalization tactics make possible to neutralize moral discomfort about fraudulent practices. Endorsing Kierkegaard life-views actually unveils three basic patterns fraudsters could agree with (consciously or not): the focus for individualization processes, the ontic-existentiell quest and the attitude towards guilt. Each Kierkegaardian life-view has deepened this threefold pattern in a very different way.

Findings

The aesthetician life-view is so emphasizing immediacy and pleasure that it strengthens an amoral perspective. Fraudsters could easily adopt such life-view. The ethicist is so basically concerned with morality (distinction between good and evil) that he/she cannot consciously favour fraudulent practices. At best, fraudsters may be “would-be ethicists”. As long as they are unable to feel repentance, fraudsters will not be able to fully embrace the religious life-view. At best, they may be “would-be religious”.

Research limitations/implications

The way Kierkegaard’s life-views could put light on fraudsters’ rationalization tactics has not been empirically assessed. Empirical studies that would be focussed on such topics should deepen the relevance and meaning of fraudsters’ psychological, sociological, cultural and religious/spiritual traits.

Originality/value

The paper analyzes to what extent fraudsters could feel psychological guilt, as well as ontic-existentiell guilt, as it is grounded on ontological-existential guilt (guilt as an ontological category). Taking Kierkegaard’s life-views as reference pattern, it presents the implications of being oriented towards immediacy/pleasure (avoiding guilt, at any cost), towards freedom (being aware of one’s guilt) or towards the infinite (being fully aware of one’s guilt).

Details

Journal of Financial Crime, vol. 26 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-0790

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Article
Publication date: 4 July 2016

Michel Dion

The purpose of this paper is to philosophically address the issue of managerial opportunism and to describe the paradox of the opportunistic executive, particularly when…

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1366

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to philosophically address the issue of managerial opportunism and to describe the paradox of the opportunistic executive, particularly when the CEO could be considered as a “criminal-to-be”.

Design/methodology/approach

It will be seen to what extent governance mechanisms really contribute to prevent managerial opportunism, particularly through compensation packages (“financial carrots”). Then, Oliver E. Williamson’s viewpoint will be analyzed on opportunism, as his theory has largely influenced the way agency theories actually define managerial opportunism. Williamson was thinking opportunism without referring to philosophical works. The gap in exploring three basic types of opportunism will be filled: the Smithian egoist, the Hobbesian egoist and the Machiavellian egoist.

Findings

The Smithian egoist tries to reach an equilibrium between self-interest and compassion, while the Hobbesian egoist is motivated by self-interest, desire of power and the attitude of prudence. The Machiavellian egoist is always searching for power and makes followers’ fear arising. The way governance mechanisms and structures should be designed and implemented could be quite different if the CEO actually behaves as a Smithian, Hobbesian or Machiavellian egoist. CEO’s propensity to commit financial crime could largely vary from one type to another: low risk (Smithian egoist), medium risk (Hobbesian egoist) or high risk (Machiavellian egoist).

Research limitation/implications

Smith’s, Hobbes’ and Machiavelli’s philosophy was chosen because the agency theory sometimes refers to it, when defining the notion of opportunism. Other philosophies could also be analyzed to see to what extent they are opening the door to opportunism (for example, Spinoza).

Originality/value

The paper analyzes managerial opportunism from a philosophical viewpoint. Whether executives are Smithian, Hobbesian or Machiavellian egoists, their opportunism cannot give birth to similar behaviors.

Details

Journal of Financial Crime, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-0790

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Article
Publication date: 14 July 2020

Michel Dion

The purpose of this paper is to examine how four styles of “morally ambiguous” leadership could have a philosophical basis, while relatively contributing to efficiently…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how four styles of “morally ambiguous” leadership could have a philosophical basis, while relatively contributing to efficiently prevent bribery and extortion in the organizational life.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper identifies four styles of morally ambiguous leadership in taking philosophically based representations of “sociopolitical saviors” into account: “occasionally cruel saviors” (Niccolò Machiavelli); “occasionally compassionate saviors” (Adam Smith),; “socially conformist and compassionate” saviors (David Hume); and “revolutionary and implicitly compassionate” saviors (Hannah Arendt). Morally ambiguous leaders choose paradoxical ways to assume their moral responsibility. They use paradoxical strategies to prevent bribery and extortion in the organizational life.

Findings

The philosophical basis of those styles of morally ambiguous leadership unveils two basic antagonisms: the antagonism between cruelty and compassion; and the antagonism between social conformism and revolutionary spirit. The axis of power (Machiavelli) does not allow any connection between both antagonisms. The axis of self-interest (Smith) shows an intermediary positioning in both antagonisms (relatively compassionate, implicitly revolutionary). The axis of social conformism/compassion (Hume) and the axis of revolutionary spirit/compassion (Arendt) make leaders deepen their paradoxical positionings about moral issues.

Research limitations/implications

The four styles of morally ambiguous leadership have not been empirically assessed. Moreover, the analysis of Eastern and Western philosophies could allow decision-makers to identity other philosophically based and morally ambiguous positionings about moral issues. Other philosophies could also unveil further kinds of antagonisms that could be applied to prevention strategies against bribery and extortion schemes.

Originality/value

The paper presents a philosophically based analysis of morally ambiguous leadership and its potential impact on prevention strategies against bribery and extortion schemes.

Details

Journal of Financial Crime, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-0790

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1996

Michel Dion

Multiculturalism is now one of the greatest challenges in the Western society. It supposes a deeper awareness of the various cultures involved in a given society. Of…

Abstract

Multiculturalism is now one of the greatest challenges in the Western society. It supposes a deeper awareness of the various cultures involved in a given society. Of course, the well‐known cultural and ethnic groups must basically be involved in such a social change. But, since the arising and growth of business ethics as a field of research, the business world as a social institution has revealed itself as a complex network of subcultures. So, the “organizational culture” has become an “a priori concept” in business ethics. Although many researches deal with corporate culture, very few authors emphasize its structural elements. A systemic view of the organizational culture expresses how we cannot develop a corporate ethics without at least a “fore‐understanding” or, at best, a critical judgment on the organizational culture of a given corporation. I will describe the four subsystems of the organizational culture and their ethical implications.

Details

The International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 4 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1055-3185

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Article
Publication date: 31 July 2009

Michel Dion

The purpose of this paper is to assess the compatibility between the religious investing criteria of some Christian mutual funds and the “ Interfaith Center for Corporate…

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1129

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess the compatibility between the religious investing criteria of some Christian mutual funds and the “ Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility” (ICCR) shareholder resolutions about corporate unethical/illegal practices.

Design/methodology/approach

Among all ICCR 2007‐2008 shareholder resolutions, the paper analyze unethical practices that could lead to corporate illegalities for business corporations that are included in the portfolios of Christian mutual funds. It will determines to what extent such companies have codes of ethics that clearly explained the expected behaviour from their employees, managers, or directors about given ethical issues: sexual orientation discrimination, conflicts of interest on the board and slave labour in the supply chain.

Findings

About the issue of slave labour in the supply chain, managers of Christian mutual funds could not invoke ignorance since in the code of ethics of one company, there is no provision dealing with slave labour. Concerning conflicts of interest on the board, managers of Christian mutual funds could not identify potential risks related to those companies, since the problem is the applicability of their codes of ethics. Finally, companies have very different ways to address or not the issue of sexual orientation discrimination in their codes of ethics.

Originality/value

The originality of the paper is twofold: first to compare companies Christian mutual funds are investing in (on the basis of Christian selection criteria) and companies for which there are ICCR resolutions (the aim of such resolutions is to change some questionable or unethical aspect of a given business corporation), and second to see to what extent corporate codes of ethics are written in a way to reduce or increase the potentiality of ethical conflicts.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 36 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Article
Publication date: 5 January 2010

Michel Dion

The purpose of this paper is to see to what extent philosophers (from Plato to Rousseau) have described the phenomenon of corruption in a way that is relevant for corrupt…

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6370

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to see to what extent philosophers (from Plato to Rousseau) have described the phenomenon of corruption in a way that is relevant for corrupt practices in globalized markets.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper analyzes five levels of corruption from a philosophical viewpoint: corruption of principles (“ontic/spiritual/axiological corruption”), corruption of moral behavior (“moral corruption”), corruption of people (“social corruption”), corruption of organizations (“institutional corruption”), and corruption of states (“national/societal/cultural corruption”).

Findings

The paper finds that actual forms of corruption are basically grounded in prior phenomena of corruption, whether it is the corruption of principles, the corruption of moral behavior, the corruption of people, the corruption of organizations, or the corruption of states. In each case, philosophers have described the deep and broad effects of corruption. Their criticism is quite close to the way the social impact of corruption is presently circumscribed.

Originality/value

The paper addresses the issue of corruption in a philosophical way, and then tends to enhance the social relevance of philosophical discourse when dealing with corrupt practices.

Details

Journal of Money Laundering Control, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1368-5201

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Article
Publication date: 18 July 2008

Michel Dion

The purpose of this paper is to show the qualitative shift from a “traditional way”, to understand the conditioning factors of corporate crime to a “principled” approach.

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2111

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to show the qualitative shift from a “traditional way”, to understand the conditioning factors of corporate crime to a “principled” approach.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper analyzes the conditioning factors elaborated by the traditional approach and the basic crime prevention strategies that followed from such an approach; also, the basic concepts of the “principled” approach are analyzed as they give a qualitatively new understanding of crime prevention strategies.

Findings

The paper finds that a qualitative shift emerged from 1990 to 2006, insofar as the basic conditioning factors have substantially been modified (the “principled approach”). The most relevant concepts for crime prevention are now national culture, transformational leadership, moral courage and organizational transparency.

Originality/value

The paper presents a principled approach to crime prevention strategies as adding relevant ideas and concepts to the traditional approach.

Details

Journal of Financial Crime, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-0790

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