Moral Motivation across Ethical Theories: What Can We Learn for Designing Corporate Ethics Programs?
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Business Ethics 81 (4):751 - 764 (2008)
In this article we discuss what are the implications for improving the design of corporate ethics programs, if we focus on the moral motivation accounts offered by main ethical theories. Virtue ethics, deontological ethics and utilitarianism offer different criteria of judgment to face moral dilemmas: Aristotle's virtues of character, Kant's categorical imperative, and Mill's greatest happiness principle are, respectively, their criteria to answer the question "What is the right thing to do?" We look at ethical theories from a different perspective: the question we ask is "Why should I do the right thing?" In other words, we deal with the problem of moral motivation, and we examine the different rationale the main ethical theories provide. We then point out the relation between moral motivation and the concept of rationality in the different approaches - is acting morally seen as an expression of rational behavior? Our analysis of moral motivation provides a useful framework to improve the understanding of the relationships between formal and informal elements of corporate ethics programs, emphasizing the importance of the latter, often overlooked in compliance-focused programs. We conclude by suggesting that the concept of moral imagination can provide a unifying approach to enhance the effectiveness of corporate ethics programs, by providing an intangible asset that supports the implementation of their formal components into management decision making.
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References found in this work BETA
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Citations of this work BETA
David A. Ralston & Allison Pearson (2010). The Cross-Cultural Evolution of the Subordinate Influence Ethics Measure. Journal of Business Ethics 96 (1):149 - 168.
Ronald Paul Hill & Justine M. Rapp (forthcoming). Codes of Ethical Conduct: A Bottom-Up Approach. Journal of Business Ethics.
Claus Dierksmeier (2013). Kant on Virtue. Journal of Business Ethics 113 (4):597-609.
Simone de Colle, Adrian Henriques & Saras Sarasvathy (2013). The Paradox of Corporate Social Responsibility Standards. Journal of Business Ethics 125 (2):1-15.
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