Power and values in corporate life

Journal of Business Ethics 6 (5):343 - 353 (1987)
Abstract
The role of power and its relation to values has become a topic of growing interest in business ethics as well as in the literature of management and the sociology of organizations. Though there is more interest in the role and potential for abuse of power in corporations, the concept of power drawn from classical political theory and initial behavioral studies of power in organizations is inadequate for understanding the place, complexity and ethics of power in the corporation. Analyses of power drawn from recent political theory can provide a more fine-grained and illuminating understanding of power than has been available from classical political theory and social science literature. I distinguish three approaches: the behavioral model commonly employed, the ideological model which comes out of the political theory of certain neo-Marxists, and what I call the disciplinary model drawn form Michel Foucault's analysis of modern forms of power. I suggest areas of working life and ethical issues about the relation between power and values that can be illuminated by these alternate analyses.
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