David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Business Ethics 20 (4):359-374 (2011)
The political philosopher Hannah Arendt develops several arguments regarding why truthfulness cannot be counted among the political virtues. This article shows that similar arguments apply to lying in business. Based on Hannah Arendt's theory, we distinguish five reasons why lying is a structural temptation to businessmen: business is about action to change the world and therefore businessmen need the capacity to deny current reality; commerce requires successful image-making and liars have the advantage to come up with plausible stories; business communication is more often about opinions than about facts, giving leeway to ignore uncomfortable signals; business increasingly makes use of plans and models, but these techniques foster inflexibility in acknowledging the real facts; and businessmen easily fall prey to self-deception, because one needs to act as if the vision already materializes. The theory is illustrated by a case study of Landis, which grew from a relatively insignificant organization into a large one within a short period of time, but ended with outright lies and bankruptcy
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References found in this work BETA
Bernard Williams (2002). Truth and Truthfulness: An Essay in Genealogy. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Reggy Hooghiemstra (2000). Corporate Communication and Impression Management – New Perspectives Why Companies Engage in Corporate Social Reporting. Journal of Business Ethics 27 (1-2):55 - 68.
Jacques Derrida (2002). Without Alibi. Stanford University Press.
Rob Gray (2001). Thirty Years of Social Accounting, Reporting and Auditing: What (If Anything) Have We Learnt? Business Ethics 10 (1):9–15.
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