When in Rome ... Moral maturity and ethics for international economic organizations

Journal of Business Ethics 54 (1):17-32 (2004)
Abstract
A number of multinational enterprises have come under ethical scrutiny over the recent decades. In some cases, this may be due to a lack of maturity of corporate moral reasoning. The article is based on a framework developed by Lawrence Kohlberg. He suggested three main stages of moral development: They are (1) pre-conventional moral reasoning, (2) conventional and (3) post-conventional moral reasoning. The article places different approaches to business ethics into the framework developed by Kohlberg. It is argued that the first two stages form an insufficient basis for ethical guidance for multinational organizations. Five post-conventional ethical perspectives are presented to assist MNC's in their analysis in order to uncover the possible dilemmas, to avoid harming others and also to avoid costly embarrassment at the hands of critics.
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