Our goals in this article are to summarize the existing literature on the role business can play in creating sustainable peace and to discuss important avenues for extending this research. As part of our discussion, we review the ethical arguments and related research made to date, including the rationale and motivation for businesses to engage in conflict resolution and peace building, and discuss how scholars are extending research in this area. We also focus on specific ways companies can actively engage (...) in conflict reduction including promoting economic development, the rule of law, and principles of external valuation, contributing to a sense of community, and engaging in track-two diplomacy and conflict sensitive practices. We conclude by developing a set of future research questions and considerations. (shrink)
In this response to Paul Lawrence’s Ruffin Lecture, I assess the benefits of integrating biology into business ethics including the way in which biology counteracts conventional economic descriptions of human nature. Section II looks at the dangers of the project and offers the notion of Multilevel Selection Theory as a way to address the notion of how one balances various biological drives. Section III concludes by suggesting that in order to optimally integrate biology, one should attend to contractual notions (the (...) deal) as well as a Sisyphean quest to engage in the task of integration. In doing so, we should also remember to draw upon the dolphin in each of us, that part that takes pleasure in doing moral acts. (shrink)
This book argues that ethical business behavior can be enhanced by taking fuller account of human nature, particularly with respect to the need for creating relatively small communities within the corporation. Timothy Fort discusses this premise in relation to the three predominant theories of business ethics--stakeholder, virtue, and contract. Drawing heavily from philosophy, he analyzes traditional business ethics and legal theory. Overall, his work provides a good example of how to integrate normative and empirical studies in business ethics, a task (...) that often receives substantial discussion in academic journals. (shrink)
This article reviews Thomas Donaldson and Thomas Dunfee's new book Ties That Bind. The article argues that the book is a helpful elaboration of Donaldson and Dunfee's Integrative Social Contracts Approach, particularly with regard to their specification of hypernorms. The article also presents Donaldson and Dunfee's argument with regard to how the hypernorm of necessary social efficiency applies to bribery and raises questions about the extent to which human moral behavior might be hardwired.
This paper is a response to a recent colloquy among Professors David Messick, Donna Wold, and Edwin Harman. I defend Messick’s naturalist methodology, which suggests that people inherently categorize others and act altruistically toward certain people in a given person’s in-group. This paper suggests that an anthropological reason for this grouping tendency is a limited human neural ability to process large numbers of relationships. But because human beings also have the ability to modify, to some extent, their nature, corporate law (...) can organize small mediating institutions within large corporations in order to take ethical advantage of this groupingtendency. Within a corporate law taking seriously a mediating institution’s formulation of business communities, a virtue ethicsapproach can be integrated with a naturalist approach in a way that fosters ethical business behavior while mitigating the dangers of ingrouping tendencies. (shrink)
Just as Michael Porter's five forces provided a practical analytical tool for describing the forces that shape competitive strategy, so business ethicists ought to provide business leaders with a workable framework for understanding the sources of ethical obligations. The forces that shape competitive strategy vary according to time and industry, but are anchored in an ultimate criteria of profitability. Similarily, ethics can use a set of analytical categories that identify the relevant forces to business ethics on the basis of relationality.This (...) paper first argues that relationality based on naturalism is the primary, plausible value for ethics. Second, it adapts a tripartite dialectic from scholars William Frederick and Michael Novak to describe the relational categories with which business must contend. Third, it uses these forces in a way similar to Porter's competitive forces to offer an analytical language familiar to managers in order to characterize business ethics. (shrink)
The issue of whether religious belief should be an appropriate grounding for business ethics raises issues very similar to those raised in asking whether religious belief should be an appropriate grounding for political morality. In light of that fact that writings in political morality have been a common resource for contemporary business ethics, this paper presents contemporary arguments about the role of religion in political morality while noting the relevance of these debates for business ethics.The paper takes the position that (...) rather than excluding religion from public morality, political morality (and business ethics) ought to take an inclusive, ecumenical approach. To argue this position and to present fully a range of literature normally not studied in business ethics circles, the paper presents and critiques the major contemporary authors in the field of political morality and contrasts them with the inclusionists who seek to keep public grounds open for all moral perspectives. (shrink)
This paper argues that business can be helpfully conceived of as a mediating institution. Drawing upon neo-conservative theology, the author argues that mediating institutions serve a vital function in a free society to provide social justice out of an expanded civil society and provide a framework for a flourishing free market. Such institutions also nourish the attitudinal orientation of solidarity in applying the principle of subsidiarity by which self-interest becomes fulfilled through concern for others.The author further argues that businesses also (...) be conceived of as mediating institutions and thereby be held to criteria of meeting associationalneeds. In addition to normative reasons for revising the social contract so that businesses do serve the role of mediating institutions, contemporary management theories demonstrate that businesses can also meet their social obligations of creating wealth while meeting associational needs. (shrink)