This paper describes and discusses the Enron Corporation debacle. The paper presents the business ethics background and leadership mechanisms affecting Enron''s collapse and eventual bankruptcy. Through a systematic analysis of the organizational culture at Enron (following Schein''s frame of reference) the paper demonstrates how the company''s culture had profound effects on the ethics of its employees.
What does morality have to do with psychology in a value-neutral, postmodern world? According to a provocative new book, everything. Taking exception with current ideas in the mainstream as straying from the discipline’s ethical foundations, Psychology as a Moral Science argues that psychological phenomena are inherently moral, and that psychology, as prescriptive and interventive practice, reflects specific moral principles. The book cites normative moral standards, as far back as Aristotle, that give human thoughts, feelings, and actions meaning, and posits psychology (...) as one of the critical methods of organizing normative values in society; at the same time it carefully notes the discipline’s history of being sidetracked by overemphasis on theoretical constructs and physical causes—what the author terms “the psychologizing of morality.” This synthesis of ideas brings an essential unity to what can sometimes appear as a fragmented area of inquiry at odds with itself. The book’s “interpretive-pragmatic approach”: • Revisits core psychological concepts as supporting normative value systems. • Traces how psychology has shaped society’s view of morality • Confronts the “naturalistic fallacy” in contemporary psychology. • Explains why moral science need not be separated from social science. • Addresses challenges and critiques to the author’s work from both formalist and relativist theories of morality. With its bold call to reason, Psychology as a Moral Science contains enough controversial ideas to spark great interest among researchers and scholars in psychology and the philosophy of science. (shrink)
Western philosophy has been greatly influenced by visual metaphors. Knowing something has commonly, yet implicitly, been conceptualized as seeing something clearly, learning has been framed as being visually exposed to something, and the mind has been understood as a ‘mirror of nature'. A whole ‘epistemology of the eye' has been at work, which has had significant practical implications, not least in educational contexts. One way to characterize John Dewey's pragmatism is to see it as an attempt to replace the epistemology (...) of the eye with an epistemology of the hand. This article develops the epistemology of the hand on three levels: A level of embodiment and metaphors, of craftsmanship and social practices, and of schooling and education. (shrink)
This article outlines three conceptions of culture: The normative, the anthropological, and the pragmatist. I advocate a pragmatist conception of culture as practices using the conceptual resources found in John Dewey's pragmatism. I argue that culture is not to be thought of as a distinct, non-natural ontological realm, but is nature as it directs itself intelligently through historically evolved social practices. In Dewey's pragmatism, culture is another name for human experience as a practical process. I further argue that we can (...) only have cultures if we presuppose the reality of certain moral values like truthfulness, justice, and respect for ritual. Finally, I argue that the deepest understanding of culture is a kind of practical rather than cognitive understanding. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
Marketing ethics is normally marketed as a sub-specialization of business ethics. In this paper, marketing ethics serves as an umbrella term for advertising, PR and sales ethics and as an example of professional ethics. To structure the paper, four approaches are distinguished, with a focus on typical professional conflicts, codes, roles or climates respectively. Since the moral climate approachis more inclusive than the other approaches, the last part of the paper deals mainly with moral climates, within the above-mentioned marketing sub-professions.
The paper takes a look at insurance customer dishonesty as a special case of consumer ethics, understood as a way of situation handling, as a moral choice between right and wrong, such as between self-interest vs. common-interest, in other words, a “moral temptation”. After briefly raising the question if different schools, of moral philosophy would conceptualize such moral temptations differently, the paper presents ‘moral psychology’ as a frame of reference, with a focus on cognitive moral development, moral attitude and moral (...) neutralization. Conceptualization questions can’t be answered finally without thinking at the same time of empirical research design and instrument design decisions, e.g. choosing between experiment vs. questionnaire studies, designing suitable moral temptation situations as an experiment vs. questionnaires with scenario vignettes. The paper discusses then experiences from a 2004 pilot survey, with a main focus on a few insurance dishonesty scenarios with follow-up questions. The paper has an open end, i.e. outlines desirable future theoretical, empirical and practical work with insurance customer dishonesty. (shrink)
Most consumer morality studies focus on consumer immorality, i.e. different types and degrees of consumer dishonesty or deviance. This paper follows this tradition, by looking at insurance customer dishonesty. For looking at insurance customer dishonesty in a wider perspective, the paper drafts a sociology of insurance customer morality, including outlines of micro-level, meso-level and macro-level moral sociologies of insurance fraud, as well as a discussion of moral heterogeneity and a critical understanding of deviance. As a next step a few empirical (...) rsearch questions are formulated and illustrated with data from a Norwegian-German pilot study. (shrink)
Departing from frequent use of moral conflict cases in business ethics teaching and research, the paper suggests an elaboration of a moral conflict approach within business ethics, both conceptually and philosophically. The conceptual elaboration borrows from social science conflict research terminology, while the philosophical elaboration presents casuistry as a kind of practical, inductive argumentation with a focus on paradigmatic examples.
The paper suggests that consumers and their behaviors deserve more attention in our field. After a few website references and after a brief literature review of recent business ethics and consumer behavior literature conceptual frameworks are suggested. As an open end, the paper contains some empirical references, related to consumer honesty, tax loyalty and to motives for buying organic food, and suggests the development of a consumer morality measurement instrument.
Two crucial distinctions regarding political competence must be made. First, the mere probability that you will make a morally right decision (reliability) is distinct from your ability to skillfully make a decision (competence). Empirical and normative accounts have focused primarily on reliability, but competence is more important if we take central normative commitments seriously. Second, the competence you have on your own (direct competence) is distinct from the competence you have in contributing to some collective enterprise (contributory competence). Direct competence (...) is likely to be extremely demanding in a democratic context, so we should move to a contributory account of competence. (shrink)
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen's death, during 2006 quite a number of cultural events were launched (cf. http://www.ibsen.net/). The article suggests celebrating Ibsen as a potentially useful resource for business ethics teaching. Departing from a short presentation of Ibsen's plays An enemy of the people and A doll's house the main focus of this paper is on two selected scenes from the latter piece -both as raw material for developing scenarios for moral maturity assessment (one (...) of them is strikingly similar to and different from Heinz' dilemma), and for teaching business students moral reflection and imagination. As an open end of the article a few wider questions are asked about the use of literature in addition to or instead of ethics when it comes to triggering moral reflection and imagination. (shrink)
This article uses sociological role theory to help understand ethical challenges faced by Norwegian real estate agents. The article begins with an introductory case, and then briefly examines the strengths and limitations of using legal definitions and rules for understanding real estate agency and real estate agent ethics. It goes on to argue that the ethical challenges of real estate agency can be described and understood as a system of conflicting roles with associated rights and duties, in particular sales agent, (...) intermediary and adviser sub-roles. The arguments are developed using exploratory findings from a survey of Norwegian real estate agents and from several focus groups. The article then suggests the use of various intranet tools as a kind of action research aimed at putting ethics on the real estate agents' agenda, working to develop a collective conscience and collective selfcriticism among the agents, and, in doing so, building bridges between academic research and the practical working world of the agents. (shrink)
The article presents an interpretation of certain aspects of John Dewey’s psychological works. The interpretation aims to show that Dewey’s framework speaks directly to certain problems that the discipline of psychology faces today. In particular the reflexive problem, the fact that psychology as an array of discursive practices has served to constitute forms of human subjectivity in Western cultures. Psychology has served to produce or transform its subject-matter. It is shown first that Dewey was aware of the reflexive problem, and (...) found that it needed to be addressed. Next, three concepts of Dewey’s psychology are drawn in: subjectivity, habit and morality. Dewey is interpreted as articulating what we today would call a practice-orientated approach to psychology, in which moral and practical reasoning is seen as a dimension of all knowledge and action. Subjectivity is understood as a function emerging with complex interaction. Finally, a Deweyan approach to how psychology and other social sciences can cope with, and make positive use of, the reflexive problem, is outlined. By acknowledging their existence in the world they study, i.e. by becoming moral sciences that realize their moral and political implications, the social sciences can become problem-solving instruments that serve to help create a democratic public, a community as an actual social idea. It is pointed out that Dewey had an attractive view both of psychology – the subject-matter and of Psychology – the discipline and its practices – and ventured on the rare attempt at explicating how they are connected in what he called Great Societies, what we today would call post- or late-modernity, and how Psychology can help to constitute Great Communities in which human beings might flourish. (shrink)
Vocational ethics and vocational moral socialization are important for the business ethical climate in a given country and in a given industry, but have not received attention in the literature. Our article suggests vocational ethics as a legitimate sub-specialty for business ethics research and development. The article addresses the exposure of vocational students to a combination of vocational school-based and workplace-based socialization, and outlines an agenda for teaching-oriented research and research-based teaching. More specifically, we first draft a conceptual frame of (...) reference and then report results and experiences from a scenario-based pilot study at one of the biggest vocational schools in the country. As a third step such a preliminary situation analysis inspires a number of suggestions for how one could start with developing this field, practically, empirically and theoretically. (shrink)
The concept of the self is embedded in a web of relationships of other concepts and phenomena such as consciousness, self-consciousness, personal identity and the mind–body problem. The article follows the ontological and epistemological roles of the concept of selfconsciousness and the structural co-implication of consciousness and self-consciousness from Descartes and Locke to Kant and Sartre while delineating its subject matter from related inquiries into the relationship between the mind and the body, personal identity, and the question whether consciousness is (...) an irreducible reality sui generis or essentially a neurobiological entity. Over the course of its history, the modern self turns out to become an ever more elusive phenomenon, while its roles as a bearer of individual responsibility and as a subject of reflective endorsement of the truth become ever more pronounced. (shrink)
Psychologists have traditionally been reluctant to investigate not just the historical nature of their subject matter — humans as acting, thinking and feeling beings — but even more so the historical nature of their discipline, its theories and practices. In this article, I will try to take seriously the historical transformation in the West from industrial society to consumer society. After having introduced these socio-economic designations, I shall try to illustrate how the transformation relates to changes in significant societal practices (...) with a particular attention to education and work. Since its inception, psychology has been deeply involved in the management of human beings in and through these practices, and considerable changes have taken place in the dominant psychologies with the change from industrial to consumer society. I interpret psychoanalysis and behaviourism as psychologies of industrial society, and humanistic psychology and the more recent wave of social constructionism as psychologies of consumer society. With shifting psychologies also come shifting life problems and pathologies, which I briefly address. (shrink)
This article describes and discusses team teaching and particularly guest lectures as a way of integrating ethics into the business curriculum. After a brief discussion of business school responsibilities and the teaching of ethics, the article looks at efforts to integrate the teaching of ethics across the curriculum. Then, findings from a small pilot study among business ethics and business school colleagues are summarized and discussed, with a focus on guest lecturing and team teaching, both with regard to experience and (...) to faculty’s willingness to try. A final section of the article formulates recommendations for how our theory could be translated into practice. (shrink)
Business activity can be analyzed through a ‘risk awareness’ perspective and a ‘responsibility awareness’ perspective. However, risk and responsibility are actually interdependent. Risk-taking triggers responsibility issues and taking responsibility means risking being asked critical questions. This article suggests some first steps for combining these two perspectives conceptually. After several introductory illustrations showing how risk and responsibility issues are intertwined, the article looks separately each at risk and at responsibility. Then the argument that such perspectives could be usefully combined is elaborated (...) further from a theoretical angle and from a practical angle, by looking at various ethical issues and by presenting paradigmatic examples of balancing or sharing risk and responsibility related to leadership, to ERM and to insurance. (shrink)
After a selective review of relevant literature about teaching business ethics, this paper builds on a summary of Fred Bird’s thoughts about the voicing of moral concerns provided in his book about moral muteness. Socratic dialogue methodology is then presented and the use of this methodology is examined, for business ethics teaching in general, and for addressing our paper topic in particular. Three short form Socratic dialogues about the paper topic are summarized for illustration, together with preparation and debriefing suggestions (...) for a Socratic dialogue unit as part of a business ethics course. In conclusion, Socratic dialogue design is related to the experiential learning approach, and characterized by a few basic traits, which imply both risks and opportunities for business ethics teaching. (shrink)
This paper argues that an emerging framework for studying social episodes known as positioning theory is a rich tool for practical reasoning. After giving an outline of the Aristotelian conception of practical reason, recently developed by Alasdair MacIntyre, it is argued that positioning theory should be seen not as a detached, scientific theory, but rather as an important resource for learning to think and act in relation to practical and moral matters. I try to demonstrate a number of significant points (...) of resemblance between MacIntyres analysis of practical reason and Rom Harre positioning theory can be seen as explicating an understanding of social episodes that we need to acquire in order to learn to act as capable practical reasoners, but which quite often is left implicit in our everyday lives. Finally, I consider how positioning theory could be used to train the capacity for practical reasoning in moral education. s positioning theory. Following a pragmatist view of social theories, I suggest that. (shrink)
Business ethics as an academic field is, not least, about moral criticism and self‐criticism, of business and of business education. However, the business ethics discourse appears to shift between a critique of immorality and a crude moralism. The article explores the concept of moralism with reference to the relevant literature and illustrates its various manifestations with reference to empirical studies. This is followed up by theses for further discussion and research.
The idea of a logical and metaphysical gap between facts and values is taken for granted in much psychology. Howard Kendler has recently defended the standard view that human values cannot be discovered by psychology. In contrast, various postmodern approaches have sought to attack the fact-value dichotomy with the argument that psychological facts are inevitably morally and politically laden, and therefore relative. In this article, a third line of thought is pursued, significantly inspired by philosopher of science, Hilary Putnam. It (...) is argued that knowledge of facts presupposes knowledge of values, and that value judgments can be objectively right. In this light, the objectivity of scientific facts is not threatened by their entanglement with values. Psychology's objects can be described accurately only with value concepts, among them "thick ethical concepts." Different ways in which psychological science presupposes values are outlined. Finally, it is suggested that the distinction between epistemic and moral values is rarely useful in psychology, and should not be thought of as absolute. (shrink)
Political instrumentalism claims that the right to rule should be distributed such that justice is promoted best. Building on a distinction made by consequentialists in moral philosophy, I argue that instrumentalists should distinguish two levels of normative thinking about legitimacy, the critical and applied level. An indirect instrumentalism which acknowledges this distinction has significant advantages over simpler forms of instrumentalism that do not.
Some authors have argued that legitimacy without authority is possible, though their work has not found much uptake in mainstream political philosophy. I provide an improved model how legitimate political institutions without authority are possible, the Transmission Model, which I couple with a thin substantive position, the Moral Value View. I defend the model against three common objections.
v. 1. The Enlightenment, Kant -- v. 2. Kant's immediate critics, Early German romanticism -- v. 3. General characterization, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel -- v. 4. New horizons, The legacy of German idealism.
There is much more written about how and why business schools could and should talk about business ethics than about how they could “walk the talk.” When ethics is discussed, it is usually in relation to the position of business ethics within the curriculum, rather than about what does and does not constitute ethical behaviour on the part of a business school and its members. This paper seeks to explore how ethics can develop beyond the curriculum, and some methods by (...) which business schools might promote effective ethical self-development. Four basic ethical concepts are used as potential starting points for business school faculty to engage with business ethics beyond the curriculum: moral conflict, role morality, moral codes, and moral climate. Through a discussion of these, eight theses are developed for further discussion and are suggested as a framework for future comparative research about business school ethics. (shrink)
Insurance fraud and abuse—international concerns—are inherent in the proposition of insurance and prevalent in insurer–insured interactions. While the subject of considerable industry and regulatory attention, this little-researched area of consumer behavior and consumer ethics represents persistent social policy questions and problems at multiple levels. This article addresses the issue by first defining insurance fraud and its origins in contract, as well as consumer- and insurer-management. The authors conclude by re-envisioning the problem as one of co-creation by the consumer-insured and insurer (...) personnel, proposing a framework for its study and resolution. (shrink)
Microinsurance is the provision of insurance services to the poor, usually in developing countries. One of the key criteria of poverty is vulnerability even to minor events. In such cases, even micro coverage can make a major difference, yet still be funded by an affordable contribution by the insured. Like any kind of insurance, microinsurance can cover different risks to life, health, farming, property among other things. Our paper sketches how one could address and develop microinsurance business ethics. First, we (...) introduce microinsurance to the business ethics community and business ethics to the microinsurance community. Our draft of microinsurance ethics is then developed from two angles: as a holistic understanding of ideals and possible ethical conflicts in key stakeholder relationships and by distinguishing eight challenges when targeting the poor and when marketing microinsurance. As an open ending, the article suggests a three-stage action research design focusing on how microinsurance could (and should) internalize ethics, respecting rather than neglecting national- and local-cultural conditions. (shrink)
John Dewey was an American psychologist, philosopher, educator, social critic, and political activist. John Dewey: Science for a Changing World addresses Dewey’s contemporary relevance; his life and intellectual trajectory; his basic philosophical ideas, with an emphasis on his philosophy of nature; and his educational theory, which has often been misunderstood. In addition, Dewey’s pragmatism and pragmatist ethics are discussed, as are some of the criticisms that can be directed at them. Throughout the book, Dewey’s ideas are related to the general (...) history of ideas, but there is also a constant focus on how Dewey may assist us in solving some of the problems that face us in a so-called postmodern era. This book is the first to offer an interpretation of John Dewey’s works with particular emphasis on his contribution to psychology.John Dewey distinguished himself by combining a culturalist approach to human life with a naturalistic one. He was an avowed naturalist and follower of Darwin, and Brinkmann shows how his non-reductionist, naturalist psychology can serve as a much-needed correction to contemporary forms of "evolutionary psychology." Dewey’s psychology, however, is not an isolated element in his thinking as a whole, so the author also provides an introduction to the philosophical, ethical, and educational ideas that go hand-in-hand with his psychology. (shrink)