Integrity and cynicism: Possibilities and constraints of moral communication [Book Review]

Paying thorough attention to cynical action and integrity could result in a less naive approach to ethics and moral communication. This article discusses the issues of integrity and cynicism on a theoretical and on a more practical level. The first part confronts Habermas’s approach of communicative action with Sloterdijk’s concept of cynical reason. In the second part, the focus will be on the constraints and possibilities of moral communication within a business context. Discussing the corporate integrity approach of Kaptein and Wempe will provide this focus. Their approach can be considered as a valuable contribution to the question of how to deal with (dilemmas of) conflicting interests, open discussion, fairness, and strategic decision-making in the context of stakeholder dialog. However, it is concluded that Kaptein and Wempe seem to overstretch the concept of corporate integrity by their inclination to make it an all-purpose remedy for corporate dilemmas.
Keywords Business ethics  communicative/strategic action  cynicism  integrity  moral communication  open/hidden agendas  social theory
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DOI 10.1007/s10806-006-9020-y
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Cheshire Calhoun (1995). Standing for Something. Journal of Philosophy 92 (5):235-260.

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