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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2006

Paul L. Govekar and Michele A. Govekar

To compare and contrast the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and the 1991 Hamlet, North Carolina, chicken processing plant fire to determine what lessons were learned…

3075

Abstract

Purpose

To compare and contrast the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and the 1991 Hamlet, North Carolina, chicken processing plant fire to determine what lessons were learned and what lessons remain to be learned from the worst and second‐worst industrial accidents in the US.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses contemporaneous and modern sources to explore the parallels between the two fires and find some lessons for management in these two tragic events.

Findings

A number of parallels were found between the two incidents. Lessons for practicing managers, domestic and international, are presented along with avenues for possible future research.

Originality/value

This paper develops parallels between two tragic industrial accidents separated by 80 years in time and hundreds of miles in distance. Lessons learned from these accidents as well as lessons still to be learned are suggested.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 27 June 2008

Paul L. Govekar

The purpose of this paper is to provide an historical perspective to help understand the forces that resulted in the Sarbanes‐Oxley Act. It aims to provide an historical…

1820

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an historical perspective to help understand the forces that resulted in the Sarbanes‐Oxley Act. It aims to provide an historical vindication of the taxonomy developed by Charles Conrad in 2003.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper applies a framework developed by Charles Conrad in 2003 to explain the events that led to the corporate meltdown in 2002‐2003 and compare it to a similar scandal in the insurance industry at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Findings

A number of parallels were found between the two incidents. Additionally, the framework developed by Charles Conrad in 2003 was vindicated by the historical comparison. Lessons for practicing managers, domestic and international, are presented along with avenues for possible future research.

Practical implications

Recent changes in the political landscape, particularly in the USA, may indicate that Sarbanes‐Oxley will, indeed, be with us for a longer, rather shorter time. However, the real lesson for managers and scholars of management may be to concentrate on the three trends that foreshadow scandals and meltdowns to prevent similar problems, with their inevitable legal backlash in the future.

Originality/value

This paper uses the framework developed by Charles Conrad in 2003 to explore to different corporate meltdowns separated by a century in the USA. Lessons learned from these incidents as well as a perspective on the probable effective life of the Sarbanes‐Oxley Act are suggested.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 16 January 2007

Mark Schwartz

The purpose of this paper is to examine the current gap between the subjects of business ethics and pre‐1960 management theory.

24225

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the current gap between the subjects of business ethics and pre‐1960 management theory.

Design/methodology/approach

In an attempt to achieve the objective of the paper, the business ethics content of three leading management theorists during the first half of the 1900s is examined: Frederick Taylor; Chester Barnard; and Peter Drucker.

Findings

The paper concludes that there are significant business ethics content as well as ethical implications in the writings of each of the three management theorists.

Research limitations/implications

The analysis focused on only three, albeit significant, management theorists. A more complete discussion would have included other important management theorists as well.

Practical implications

The analysis suggests that management theory should not be taught without discussing both the business ethics implications and the business ethics content inherent in the theory. In addition, failure on the part of business ethics academics to understand early management theory, the ethical ramifications of such theory, and the business ethics issues explicitly discussed by leading management theorists, may lead to teaching and research in a subject without a proper theoretical foundation.

Originality/value

The paper attempts to address a gap in management literature by demonstrating some of the linkages between business ethics and business management thought, and thereby be of value to management theorists as well as business ethicists in their teaching and research efforts.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 16 January 2007

Stephen B. Knouse, Vanessa D. Hill and J. Brooke Hamilton

The purpose of this paper is to trace a history of American codes of business ethics as they evolved from religious bases to legalistic bases to an international emphasis.

3577

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to trace a history of American codes of business ethics as they evolved from religious bases to legalistic bases to an international emphasis.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper describes the evolution of business codes of ethics over the twentieth century in relation to the development of social issues.

Findings

It is found that ethical codes are influenced by the prevailing ideology of the time regarding the social responsibility of business. The earlier part of the twentieth century emphasized religious values governing the treatment of customers and competitors and the responsibility of businesses for the well‐being of their employees by directing their private as well as business conduct. The latter part of the twentieth century stressed legal compliance as government regulation sought to control business behaviors that were harmful to society and to the environment. Entering into the twenty‐first century, we are seeing an increase in international emphases in codes of ethics. We discuss these trends in terms of evolving approaches to corporate social responsibility.

Practical implications

Organizations writing (and rewriting) codes of ethics should move beyond reactive legal compliance and proactively examine values associated with their stakeholder relationships as well as relationships to corporate social responsibility issues.

Originality/value

While there have been histories of medical and legal codes of ethics, to the authors' knowledge, this is the first exploration of a history of American business codes of ethics. The paper examines the development of codes of ethics in the context of business needs and social values prominent during those times.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 16 January 2007

Rosa Nelly Trevinyo‐Rodríguez

The purpose of this paper is to provide a meaningful framework for the classification of the integrity trait in the moral context (ethics), offering an understandable…

3039

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a meaningful framework for the classification of the integrity trait in the moral context (ethics), offering an understandable conceptualization of a notion that although identified as central in the literature has is not been defined in a clear and conventional way.

Design/methodology/approach

Grounding ideas on the person‐situation historical debate, and drawing on the insights of Luhmann's General System Theory, this paper develops a multileveled framework that categorizes the view of integrity.

Findings

The integrity framework presents three categories (levels) of integrity: personal integrity, moral integrity and organizational integrity (OI). This classification serves as a bridging mechanism when trying to link different academic areas (e.g. psychology and ethics) since it provides some agreement on the different meanings and perspectives of the concept of integrity present in the literature.

Practical implications

Practical application of the framework is foreseen within the organizational context, where managers could use it for articulating some of the more intangible aspects that compose their organizational cultures, and which in turn, impact their employees' behavior. In addition, the framework is useful to detect possible/future conflicts of interests that may arise due to different personal (employees) and organizational (company) views of integrity.

Originality/value

This paper alerts scholars and practitioners to the need of a sound classification of the concept of integrity, plus an agreement on its meaning, scope and uses. Consequently, it develops a multileveled framework to show an understandable conceptualization of the trait, paving the road for multidisciplinary research on the topic.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 16 January 2007

Bogdan Costea and Kostas Amiridis

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the way in which H.G. Wells' 1914 novel The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman might be interpreted as an “essay” illustrating some key…

633

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the way in which H.G. Wells' 1914 novel The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman might be interpreted as an “essay” illustrating some key aspects in the articulation of the ethos of business and management in the cultural context of early twentieth century capitalism.

Design/methodology/approach

Approaching the novel as a piece of cultural history, the paper analyzes its characters and themes, as well as its form and style, to investigate fundamental ethical aspects of business as an occupation and form of organization. The novel (one amongst countless examples in the last century) stimulates reflection upon the purposes of “businesses” (as institutions) and of “business people”.

Findings

H.G. Wells explores, in the rich form of a tragic novel, the relationship between the pursuit of profit, family life, and social integration. This problematic is not simply of historical interest. It has become intensified over the last century, yet is poorly represented in recent texts of “business ethics” which “hide” its complexity behind a search for simplistic, transcendental frameworks.

Originality/value

This is a new source for a wide historical contextualization of key aspects of business ethics by relating domestic life, entrepreneurial behavior, and social responsibility at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 16 January 2007

Richard C. Hoffman

The purpose of this study is to better understand the origins of modern corporate social responsibility. The paper seeks to examine some factors that enabled the new…

5809

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to better understand the origins of modern corporate social responsibility. The paper seeks to examine some factors that enabled the new industrial corporation to expand its role in society.

Design/methodology/approach

Using institutional theory, this paper describes how some of the institutional characteristics of the modern corporation itself provided some opportunities or challenges in terms of gaining social legitimacy.

Findings

The institutional features of the corporation, its technology and management created new demands on the corporation by society. These in turn led to the development of such concepts of corporate social responsibility as: public relations, service, trusteeship, and public welfare.

Research limitations/implications

Future research on social legitimacy should focus on demands placed by the institutional characteristics of new organizations. Other research might include comparative studies of corporate legitimacy in Europe or Asia or an examination of the evolving role of managers from the role of welfare capitalist to trusteeship.

Practical implications

Institutions that adapt to changing demands have the best chance to survive. Firms that adopt new social activities are likely to have to sustain them in the long run.

Originality/value

This study is the first to argue that the features of the modern corporation itself stimulated some of the social activities it undertook. Contributions of scientific management scholars to the shaping of the emerging corporate role are also noted.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 16 January 2007

Virginia W. Gerde, Michael G. Goldsby and Jon M. Shepard

In The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Max Weber chronicled how seventeenth‐century religious tenets expounded by John Calvin inadvertently laid the…

2261

Abstract

Purpose

In The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Max Weber chronicled how seventeenth‐century religious tenets expounded by John Calvin inadvertently laid the ideological groundwork for the flourishing of eighteenth‐century capitalism. In this early work on the rise of capitalism, Weber examined the changes in attitudes of business and accepted ethical business behavior and the transition of justification from religious tenets and guidance to more secular, yet rational explanations. The purpose of this paper is to contend this transition from religious to secular moral cover for business ethics was aided by the harmony‐of‐interests doctrine, which provided moral, but secular, cover for the pursuit of self‐interest and personal wealth with an implicit, secular rationalization of promoting the public good.

Design/methodology/approach

Although Weber used Benjamin Franklin as an exemplar of the earlier Calvinist Protestantism and spirit of capitalism, advocates a case study of Robert Keayne, a seventeenth‐century Boston Puritan Merchant, as being more appropriate for Weber's thesis. The paper uses passages from Keanye's will to illustrate the seventeenth‐century Protestant ethic and spirit of capitalism, Franklin's writings to illustrate the eighteenth‐century Protestant ethic and spirit of capitalism, and various historical prose to demonstrate the legitimation of the harmony‐of‐interests doctrine which allowed for the secular moral cover for the pursuit of capitalism in the following centuries.

Findings

The original (seventeenth‐century) spirit of capitalism identified by Weber is reflected in the rational way in which Keayne conducted his business affairs and in the extent to which his business behavior mirrored Calvinist tenets.

Originality/value

This earlier spirit of capitalism is important in setting the stage for the emergence of the eighteenth‐century spirit of capitalism embodied in Franklin as seen through his writings of acceptable and moral behavior without the use of explicit religious explanations.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 16 January 2007

Dae‐il Nam and David J. Lemak

The purpose of this paper is to apply Chester Barnard's ideas about authority in organizations to the modern phenomenon of “whistle‐blowing” and highlight insights that…

3778

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to apply Chester Barnard's ideas about authority in organizations to the modern phenomenon of “whistle‐blowing” and highlight insights that can advance contemporary theory in business ethics. The paper coins a new term “the whistle‐blowing zone,” and uses it as a way to capitalize on Barnard's insights and to offer a conceptual framework that can help business ethics scholars explain the phenomenon.

Design/methodology/approach

By comparing and contrasting Barnard's ideas with contemporary research, the authors argue that he provides a number of insights that can advance modern business ethical theory and research. Implications about the origin and mechanism of whistle‐blowing are discussed.

Findings

First, it is found that Barnard's theory of authority, specifically the notion of a “zone of indifference” is applicable to the modern phenomenon of whistle‐blowing. Second, the paper coins a new term “the whistle‐blowing zone,” to explain why and how whistle‐blowing occurs. Finally, the paper develops a conceptual framework to capitalize on Barnard's insight to explain the phenomenon of “whistle‐blowing.”

Originality/value

This paper is the first paper to examine Barnard's writings in the context of the modern business issue of whistle‐blowing. It is believed that the study of business ethics can be enhanced by applying Barnard's work. His concept of authority in formal organizations actually provides the theoretical foundation to examine and understand the phenomenon of whistle‐blowing in ways that have not appeared in the literature to date.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

1 – 10 of 16