Toward an Ethical Theory of Organizing

Journal of Business Ethics 127 (2):399-417 (2015)

Current organizations are underpinned by utilitarian ethics of Modernity. Pure economic motive driven organizations detach themselves from larger societal interest. Rising number of corporate scandals and intraorganizational income inequalities are breeding similar trends in society at large. Current organizations base their competitive advantage on resources and capabilities which boils down to economic supremacy at all cost whether it is named I/o or RBV of the firm. This theoretical article posits Ethics-based Trust as the main competency and capability for attaining sustained competitive advantage. It in no way condemns utility view of the firms but treats it as a natural yet secondary outcome of genuine ethicality of the firm. Cultivating an ethical culture in the firm through identifying antecedents, organizational practices, and the outcomes where profitability is an automatic but secondary outcome under the supremacy of ethics is detailed in the multilevel model presented in this article. The main call of this article is to posit ethics and morality over and above short-term profits so that organizations fulfill their trustee role for society through enacting socio-humanistic theories within organizations. A brief analysis of the proposed ethical theory of firm is undertaken in light of the “schooling” notion in the contemporary organization theory literature
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-014-2049-3
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