This paper seeks to analyse small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) managers' representations of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and CSR communication in a corporate communication perspective. The basic question is: how strategic is CSR communication in SMEs? Corporate communication and CSR theories are used to establish an ideal typology of CSR concepts informing an analysis of qualitative data in the form of interviews with three middle managers in two Danish SMEs. A CSR communication model published earlier by the authors is challenged (...) from a SME perspective. Results from an Internet-based questionnaire survey of 1071 SMEs pave the way for the analysis. Our analysis shows that SME managers clearly have an inside-out approach to CSR, with a strong emphasis on the internal (corporate culture) dimension. However, SMEs and/or SME managers tend not to communicate externally about the CSR activities of the company. Based on these findings, the paper argues that CSR communication in SMEs is challenged by the global economy and is under revision. The contribution of the paper is to provide an insight into SMEs' present stage in relation to a possible future approach to strategic CSR communication. The paper also reminds us that SMEs have no interest in turning their local and authentic practice into a forced marketing and branding exercise, leaving them with an artificial picture of who they are and strive to be in the future. They should keep on acting locally but force themselves to think globally. (shrink)
The practice of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has often been described as a balance of profitability and social or societal responsibility by scholars as well as practitioners. It is assumed that regulations and guidelines of CSR practices link competitiveness and responsibility together. While recognising that formal CSR statements represent a goal-oriented managerial approach to CSR, we argue based on the description of a qualitative case study that the relationship between profitability and social or societal responsibility is not as clear and (...) simple as it is often described. Instead, CSR should be considered as a continuously negotiated process between companies and stakeholders. Hence, the creation of a constructive link between profitability and social or societal responsibility is dependent on the amount of effort that has been put into exploring the concerns of the stakeholders, vis-a-vis the company, while simultaneously accepting changes when they are necessary. (shrink)
This study examines the moral and ethical arguments presented by public relations practitioners in online debate on the appropriateness of representing the tobacco industry or tobacco interests. It is a descriptive and inferential analysis of 21 e-mail messages posted during a 14-month debate on the PRForum, an online newsgroup for public relations professionals, applying Kohlberg's cognitive-development theory of moralization. Debate focused on the right of an organization to promote a legal product versus a practitioner's obligation to protect the welfare of (...) society. Intensity of disagreement, and the inability to achieve consensus, suggests that personal ethical baselines are subjective, that practitioner perceptions of right or wrong are injluenced by their level of cognitive and moral development, and that codes of behavior of professional organizations are too ambiguous to use in dealing with complex ethical issues. (shrink)
The aim of the present investigation was to describe and to classify significant ethical problems encountered by the members of the staff during the daily clinical work at a hospital medical department. A set of definitions was prepared for the purpose, including the definition of a 'significant ethical problem'. During a three month period 426 inpatients and 173 outpatients were admitted. Significant ethical problems were encountered during the management of 106 in-patients (25 per cent) and 9 out-patients (5 per cent). (...) No significant difference was found between the frequency of ethical problems in female and male patients, but a positive correlation was noted between the number of problems and the patients' age. The problem types were classified according to a problem list. The results of this investigation suggest that greater attention must be paid to discussions about ethical problems among doctors and other categories of health personnel and that, among others, medical students ought to be taught the analysis of ethical problems. (shrink)
In this article I critically examine a standard feature in conceptions of discrimination: the group-criterion, specifically the idea that there is a limited and definablegroup of traits that can form the basis of discrimination. I review two types of argument for the criterion. One focuses on inherently relevant groups and relies ultimately on luck-egalitarian principles; the other focuses on contextually relevant groups and relies ultimately on the badness of outcomes. I conclude that as neither type of argument is convincing, the (...) criterion is morally arbitrary, and as such untenable. Finally, I suggest both some of the conceptual and some of the practical implications of abandoning the criterion. (shrink)
A survey was conducted of a subset of the physics community in order to gain insight into attitudes towards integrating ethics into the physics curriculum. The results indicated significant support among some groups for such an integration yet also revealed significant barriers to this process. Respondents were also asked to suggest topics which should be covered under the heading of ethical issues in physics. The great variety of results indicates both that there are many issues worth investigating and that many (...) in the physics community have given a great deal of thought to these issues. (shrink)
This article analyses the moral status of racial profiling from a consequentialist perspective and argues that, contrary to what proponents of racial profiling might assume, there is a prima facie case against racial profiling on consequentialist grounds. To do so it establishes general definitions of police practices and profiling, sketches out the costs and benefits involved in racial profiling in particular and presents three challenges. The foundation challenge suggests that the shifting of burdens onto marginalized minorities may, even when profiling (...) itself is justified, serve to prolong unjustified police practices. The valuation challenge argues that although both costs and benefits are difficult to establish, the benefits of racial profiling are afflicted with greater uncertainty than the costs, and must be comparatively discounted. Finally, the application challenge argues that using racial profiling in practice will be complicated by both cognitive and psychological biases, which together reduce the effectiveness of profiling while still incurring its costs. Jointly, it is concluded, these challenges establish a prima facie case against racial profiling, so that the real challenge consists in helping officers practice the art of the police and not see that which it is useless that they should see. (shrink)
The propagation of errors in physics research is studied, with particular attention being paid to the effectiveness of the erratum in avoiding error propagation. We study the citation history of 17 physics papers which have significant errata associated with them. It would appear that the existence of an erratum does not significantly decrease the frequency with which a paper is cited and in most cases the erratum isnot cited along with the original paper. The authors comment on implications for the (...) responsibilities of authors. (shrink)
A course focusing on ethical issues in physics has been taught to undergraduate students at Eastern Michigan University since 1988. The course covers both responsible conduct of research and ethical issues associated with how physicists interact with the rest of society. Since most undergraduate physics majors will not have a career in academia, it is important that a course such as this address issues that will be relevant to physicists in a wide range of job situations. There is a wealth (...) of published work that can be drawn on for reading assignments. (shrink)
In this article I assert that deliberative democratic theory, as articulated by Jürgen Habermas and Seyla Benhabib, explicitly fails to live up the demands of its discourse-ethical foundation when we examine undocumented immigrants who live in any given nation. In the case of undocumented immigrants, there is a gap which exists between a moral imperative to include those affected by a norm in discourse, and legal structures which actualize this imperative. I offer the following account in an effort to show (...) how one might bridge this gap. First, virtual representation of undocumented interests by the citizens of a bounded community is not sufficient to correct the dilemma of deliberative democracy. Second, I will claim (contra Habermas) that the rhetorical power of personal testimony from marginalized individuals is required for a responsible judgment in discourse. Finally I will discuss practical forums for this participation which can potentially solve the dilemma of deliberative democracy. Through direct confrontation with those who are unjustly marginalized, we can cross the divide that exists between a moral imperative to respect the undocumented and a legally-recognized right to participate in discourse. (shrink)
The ground state of chains with antiferromagnetic XY interactions is examined by direct diagonalisation of the Hamiltonian. Attention is focussed on chains with nearest and next-nearest neighbour interactions. It is found that results for finite chains can be readily extrapolated to infinite chains. The dimerised ground state corresponds to a maximum in the energy per spin with respect to the next-nearest neighbour interaction parameter. An alternate normalisation scheme provides additional insight into how the ground state energy depends on the interaction (...) parameters. (shrink)
Carbon monoxide (CO) intoxication leads to acute and chronic neurological deficits, but little is known about the specific noxious mechanisms. 1 H magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) may allow insight into the pathophysiology of CO poisoning by monitoring neurochemical disturbances, yet only limited information is available to date on the use of this protocol in determining the neurological effects of CO poisoning. To further examine the short-term and long-term effects of CO on the (...) central nervous system, we have studied seven patients with CO poisoning assessed by gray and white matter MRS, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and neuropsychological testing. Five patients suffered from acute high-dose CO intoxication and were in coma for 1–6 days. In these patients, MRI revealed hyperintensities of the white matter and globus pallidus and also showed increased choline (Cho) and decreased N -acetyl aspartate (NAA) ratios to creatine (Cr), predominantly in the white matter. Lactate peaks were detected in two patients during the early phase of high-dose CO poisoning. Two patients with chronic low-dose CO exposure and without loss of consciousness had normal MRI and MRS scans. On follow-up. five of our seven patients had long-lasting intellectual impairment, including one individual with low-dose CO exposure. The MRS results showed persisting biochemical alterations despite the MRI scan showing normalization of morphological changes. In conclusion, the MRS was normal in patients suffering from chronic low-dose CO exposure; in contrast, patients with high-dose exposure showed abnormal gray and white matter levels of NAA/Cr, Cho/Cr and lactate, as detected by 1 H MRS, suggesting disturbances of neuronal function, membrane metabolism and anaerobic energy metabolism, respectively. Early increases in Cho/Cr and decreases of NAA/Cr may be related to a poor long-term outcome, but confirmation by future studies is needed. (shrink)
Material kept in the National Library of Finland shows that from 1963 until 1969 Erik Stenius (1911–1990) worked on a book on antinomies , having been invited by the Dutch logician Evert Beth (1908–1964) to contribute a monograph to the North-Holland series Studies in Logic and the Foundations of Mathematics . The book was never published, but the manuscript has been found, and it is the purpose of this note to report on this finding.
Erik Erikson's work in psychosocial developmental theory has made valuable contributions to the field of religious ethics on some very basic issues. This paper makes scattered elements of Erikson's explicit ethical perspective available in concise fashion for critical ethical reflection. It does this in such a way as to highlight the centrally important fact for religious ethics that implicitly operative in Erikson's view is a criterion of "self-transcendence" as definitive of mature personal (fully human, ethical) development.
In my response to Kevin Carnahan, I explain the concept of religion that I have been working with in my writings on the place of religious reasons in public political discourse. While acknowledging that religion is often privatized, my concern has been with religion as a way of life. It is religion so understood that raises the most serious issues concerning the role of religion in public discourse. In my response to Erik A. Anderson, I go beyond what I (...) have previously said about the role of religious reasons in public discourse. As an alternative to Rawlsian public reason, I argue that the essence of liberal democracy is that every citizen is to have equal political voice. I go on to consider what it is to exercise one’s equal political voice as a moral engagement. (shrink)
An Internet persona known as "Erik" reviewed those aspects of my book No Free Lunch dealing with the Law of Conservation of Information and specificational resources. Erik's review is titled "On Dembski's Law of Conservation of Information" and is available at http://www.talkreason.org/articles/dembski_LCI.pdf. I respond to the review here.
Erik Schokkaert's note presents a very good summary of the theory of macrojustice and a very good list of the directions of research it points to. This is quite fitting since a research programme defines a paradigm, and he sees this proposal as a paradigm shift. This is also very appropriate since his own qualifications are the best for advancing fast in these research topics. I have only a very small number of qualifications to add to his presentation, but (...) I prefer to begin with emphasizing the most important issues. Two aspects can be seen as the most important: the de facto axiomatic derivation of the solution ELIE and its application on the one hand, and the present state of scholarly studies of the optimum or just distribution of income on the other hand. Let us enter by the second door (as opposed to what is done in the book Macrojustice). This will lead us to conclude with a more synthetic and broader view of the basic logic of the paradigms of justice and of the surprising recent history of their interpretations. (shrink)
Jeffrey Alexander and Erik Olin Wright are among the leading sociologists of their generation. Each has published his magnum opus in the past several years: The Civil Sphere (Alexander) and Envisioning Real Utopias (Wright). This paper—a dual review essay—lays out the core arguments of each work; situates each within the personal and intellectual contexts of its production; and critically assesses each in terms of its contributions to sociological theory and research. It also argues that the works converge (unexpectedly, given (...) Alexander’s intellectual origins in neo-functionalism and Wright’s in neo-Marxism) upon a common intellectual position, that of Deweyan pragmatism. It tries to make sense of Alexander’s and Wright’s peculiar dual voyage in a Deweyan direction and offers some reflections as to what that journey might tell us about social theory and political thought today. (shrink)
I defend the theory that one's life is meaningful to the extent that one promotes the good. Call this the good cause account (GCA) of the meaning of life. It holds that the good effects that count towards the meaning of one's life need not be intentional. Nor must one be aware of the effects. Nor does it matter whether the same good would have resulted if one had not existed. What matters is that one is causally responsible for the (...) good. I argue that the best theory of the meaning of life should clearly distinguish between subjective fulfillment and objective meaningfulness. The GCA respects the distinction. And it is superior to its leading rivals in the recent literature, most notably those of Erik Wielenberg and Susan Wolf. (shrink)