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This research uses identity theory to examine the individual variability in moral behavior for acts of commission (committing a bad act) and omission (failing to do a good…
This research uses identity theory to examine the individual variability in moral behavior for acts of commission (committing a bad act) and omission (failing to do a good act). Most research using identity theory has examined behavior in the active sense as in doing something while neglecting behavior in the passive sense as in not doing something. Doing something may carry more information as to who one is than not doing something. Thus, behavior in the active sense may be more likely to implicate the self and thus activate the identity process than behavior in the passive sense. I investigate this by placing individuals in the moral dilemma of a testing situation in which they have the opportunity to cheat (an act of commission) (Condition 1) or not report that they were over-scored on a test (an act of omission) (Condition 2). Participants' moral identities and emotions are obtained. The results reveal that the identity process helps explain moral behavior and emotions for an act of commission but not an act of omission. The results suggest that compared to an omitted act, a committed act generates more cognitive processing as to who one is thereby activating the identity process. Furthermore, in omission, individuals may not see themselves as responsible for an outcome, thus failing to frame the situation in moral terms – as having done a bad thing.
The chapter proposes that higher education researchers descriptively analyze and evaluate practices regarding university leadership and management through the lens of…
The chapter proposes that higher education researchers descriptively analyze and evaluate practices regarding university leadership and management through the lens of phronēsis (understood as “practical reasonableness”). It elaborates and develops an emerging orientation, coming from a range of social and organizational theorists, for a “philosophical” or “moral sociology” that derives neo-Aristotelian insights into agency and social practices.
As a “fictitious commodity” (Polanyi), that cannot be separated from the human being who is its owner, labor has a special moral significance. However, this moral quality…
As a “fictitious commodity” (Polanyi), that cannot be separated from the human being who is its owner, labor has a special moral significance. However, this moral quality is not a given but must be asserted in struggles over the value of labor. With the example of disabled workers in Switzerland, this chapter examines the moralization of labor as a means to revalue a category of workers who range far down the labor queue. Moralization mediates the tension between the normative societal goal of inclusion for disabled people and the freedom of employers to select the most “productive” workers. Drawing on the theoretical approach of the Economics of Convention the chapter analyzes the valuation frames proposed by economic and welfare state actors in political debates over the establishment of the Swiss disability insurance and the role of employers regarding occupational integration. A core concept used in negotiations of the value of disabled labor in the public arena and within individual businesses is the “social responsibility” of employers. Historically, employers’ associations successfully promoted the liberal principle of voluntary responsibility to prevent state interference in the labor market. In contrast, disability insurance argues predominantly within the market and the industrial convention to “sell” its clientele in the context of employer campaigns and case-related interactions with employers. Only recently, both sides started to reframe the employment of disabled people as a win–win affair, which would reconcile economic self-interest and the common good.
Business schools offer a unique window into the making of corporate morals since they bring together future executives at formative moments in their professional lives…
Business schools offer a unique window into the making of corporate morals since they bring together future executives at formative moments in their professional lives. This paper relies on an analysis of faculty’s teaching tasks at the Harvard Business School to better understand the making of corporate morals. More specifically, it builds on a coding of teaching notes used by faculty members to highlight the importance of silence in promoting a form of moral relativism. This moral relativism constitutes, I argue, a powerful ideology – one that primes business leaders not to vilify any moral stand. In such a context, almost anything can be labeled “moral” and few behaviors can be deemed “immoral.”
While many modern institutionalists have shown a renewed interest in Philip Selznick’s early work, previous efforts to reincorporate his perspective have given relatively little attention to values (which are the most central element of the theory itself). This paper addresses this disconnect by: (1) revisiting Selznick’s key arguments about values and explaining their various roles in his thought, (2) expressing a theoretical framework through which values could be “reinfused” into the contemporary institutional literature and, (3) developing six different proposals for theory and research which do just this. These proposals are offered as an a la carte menu of possibilities, rather than a programmatic agenda for reform. While we hope that our paper will facilitate a renewed focus on values within institutional theory, we do not see this as a theoretical imperative.
Action from activists is at the origin of many initiatives that end up injecting moral concerns into the way companies operate. In such instances, activists function as…
Action from activists is at the origin of many initiatives that end up injecting moral concerns into the way companies operate. In such instances, activists function as moral entrepreneurs that lastingly change the definition of what constitutes morally acceptable corporate behavior. Yet, in order to have such a lasting effect on companies, activist efforts need to pass through multiple stages that deal with both the effective mobilization of their own constituents and the triggering of corporate responses that can induce broader change in the economy. In the present chapter, the authors study how local shareholder activists initiated and helped sustain the process that led to the establishment of active ownership in Switzerland between 1997 and 2011. Active ownership refers to the active engagement of shareholders with firms to push them toward considering environmental, social, and corporate governance criteria in their decision-making. The case illustrates the processual nature of moralizing dynamics initiated by activists and emphasizes the long-term and cumulative nature of many moralization projects.
Whenever the news media feature brand-related moral struggles over issues such as ethicality, fairness, or sustainability, brands often find themselves in the position of…
Whenever the news media feature brand-related moral struggles over issues such as ethicality, fairness, or sustainability, brands often find themselves in the position of the culprit. However, brands may also take the opposite position, that of a moral entrepreneur who proactively raises and addresses moral issues that matter to society. In this chapter, the authors present a case study of the Austrian shoe manufacturer Waldviertler, which staged a protest campaign against Austria’s financial market authorities in the wake of the authorities demanding that the company closes its alternative (and illegal) consumer investment model after 10 years of operation. In response to this demand, the company organized protest marches, online petitions, and press conferences to reclaim the moral high ground for its financing model as a way out of the crunch following the global credit crisis and as a way to fight unfair administrative burdens. The authors present an interpretive analysis of brand communication material and media coverage that reveals how this brand used protest rhetoric on three levels – logos, ethos, and pathos – to reverse moral standards, to embody a rebel ethos, and to cultivate moral indignation. The authors also show how the media responded to protest rhetoric both with thematic coverage of context, trends, and general evidence, and with episodic coverage focusing on dramatic actions and the company owner’s charisma. The authors close with a discussion of how protestainment, the stylization of a leader figure, and marketplace sentiments can ensure sustained media coverage of moral struggles.
There are a number of conflicts today involving groups and individuals as regards nature in its various forms. The aim of this article is to examine how these give rise to…
There are a number of conflicts today involving groups and individuals as regards nature in its various forms. The aim of this article is to examine how these give rise to changes in the forms of critique and justification that underpin them. Based on various points of disagreement as to how nature should be developed, three possibilities of change have been put forward for examination according to the importance of the transformations required: (a) integration of the model into existing orders of justification, (b) development of a new order based on the same model, (c) serious adjustment of the underlying common matrix of orders and the basis it offers for appreciating injustice.
This chapter takes an interdisciplinary approach combining expertise in sports management and in philosophy to examine the premises underpinning the contested claim that…
This chapter takes an interdisciplinary approach combining expertise in sports management and in philosophy to examine the premises underpinning the contested claim that professional athletes have a special obligation to be role models both within and beyond the sporting arena. Arguments for and against the claim are briefly addressed, as a prelude to identifying and elucidating a set of factors relevant to a consideration of this alleged special obligation. The chapter considers understandings of sport, play and athleticism from an ethical perspective and examines their relationship to professionalism to determine the extent to which ethical imperatives can logically be upheld or undermined within the professional context. The chapter concludes that professional athletes cannot be expected to be able to respond to the demand that they act as role models within and beyond the sporting arena unless the tensions implicit within that demand are articulated. The chapter calls for recognition of the complexity of ethical decision-making in the context of professional sport and recommends that the training of professional athletes should prepare them to deal with this complexity. Recognition of the complexity of decision-making with the professional sporting context suggests the need for further research into optimal training strategies for young professional athletes and into the genesis and reasonableness of the demand that such athletes act as role models both within and beyond the sporting arena.