Business and Society 58 (7):1448-1478 (2019)

In Sandra Waddock’s article “Taking Stock of SIM” in this journal, she identifies key issues in the work of the Social Issues in Management Division of the Academy of Management. This article challenges her analysis of SIM scholarship and her arguments of what is necessary for the division to progress. Scholarship in SIM should emphasize two key streams: First, scholars in SIM should seek to develop a science of social forensics, design, and social repair—in essence, develop a method of problem diagnosis, an approach to practical solution design, and a systematic understanding of the selection and implementation of social repair—in other words, seek to understand how to systematically troubleshoot and engineer solutions to fundamental issues in the business and society interface. The second stream, which informs the first, involves the development of original, core, transferable systematics that can “travel”—be the source of understanding-generating analysis—in other disciplines, including the topical regions of the Academy of Management. The article argues that laying claim to and developing true normative theory applicable across disciplines should be a distinctive identifier of work in SIM. The article concludes with an illustration of how systematics can be applied to address the literature’s failure to even seek to understand the logic underlying the standard ethical theories. These theories are properly seen as complements rather than substitutes. We need to ask and answer the “fundamental question of business ethics”: What should I do?.We suggest an approach labeled “integrative ethics,” employing ethical frames/injunctive formats, framed contexts for action, and the distribution of desires.
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DOI 10.1177/0007650317722779
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