In this paper, we examine critically the notion of “Triple Bottom Line” accounting. We begin by asking just what it is that supporters of the Triple Bottom Line idea advocate, and attempt to distil specific, assessable claims from the vague, diverse, and sometimescontradictory uses of the Triple Bottom Line rhetoric. We then use these claims as a basis upon which to argue (a) that what issound about the idea of a Triple Bottom Line is not novel, and (b) that what (...) is novel about the idea is not sound. We argue on bothconceptual and practical grounds that the Triple Bottom Line is an unhelpful addition to current discussions of corporate social responsibility. Finally, we argue that the Triple Bottom Line paradigm cannot be rescued simply by attenuating its claims: the rhetoric isbadly misleading, and may in fact provide a smokescreen behind which firms can avoid truly effective social and environmental reporting and performance. (shrink)
This article seeks an improved understanding of nurse autonomy by looking at nursing through the lens of what recent feminist scholars have called ‘relational’ autonomy. A relational understanding of autonomy means a shift away from older views focused on individuals achieving independence, towards a view that seeks meaningful self-direction within a context of interdependency. The main claim made here is that nurse autonomy is, indeed, relational. The article begins with an explanation of the notion of relational autonomy. It then explains (...) both the collective and the individual application of the term ‘professional autonomy’. Finally, it argues that both senses of professional autonomy are best understood as relational, and suggests some implications of this conclusion. (shrink)
Is it ethical to market complementary and alternative medicines? Complementary and alternative medicines are medical products and services outside the mainstream of medical practice. But they are not just medicines offered and provided for the prevention and treatment of illness. They are also products and services – things offered for sale in the marketplace. Most discussion of the ethics of CAM has focused on bioethical issues – issues having to do with therapeutic value, and the relationship between patients and those (...) purveyors of CAM. This article aims instead to consider CAM from the perspective of commercial ethics. That is, we consider the ethics not of prescribing or administering CAM but the ethics of selling CAM. (shrink)
Wayne Norman and Chris MacDonald launch a strong attack against Triple Bottom Line or 3BL accounting in their article “Gettingto the Bottom of ‘Triple Bottom Line’” (2004). This response suggests that, while limitations to 3BL accounting do exist, the critique of Norman and MacDonald is deeply flawed.
This study focuses on examining the thematic landscape of the history of scholarly publication in business ethics. We analyze the titles, abstracts, full texts, and citation information of all research papers published in the field’s leading journal, the Journal of Business Ethics, from its inaugural issue in February 1982 until December 2016—a dataset that comprises 6308 articles and 42 million words. Our key method is a computational algorithm known as probabilistic topic modeling, which we use to examine objectively the field’s (...) latent thematic landscape based on the vast volume of scholarly texts. This “big-data” approach allows us not only to provide time-specific snapshots of various research topics, but also to track the dynamic evolution of each topic over time. We further examine the pattern of individual papers’ topic diversity and the influence of individual papers’ topic diversity on their impact over time. We conclude this study with our recommendation for future studies in business ethics research. (shrink)
We respond to Moses Pava’s defense of the “Triple Bottom Line” (3BL) concept against our earlier criticisms. We argue that, pacePava, the multiplicity of measures (and units of measure) that go into evaluating ethical performance cannot reasonably be compared to the handful of standard methods for evaluating financial performance. We also question Pava’s claim that usage of the term “3BL” is somehow intended to be ironical or subversive.
This paper looks at conflicts of interest in the not-for-profit sector. It examines the nature of conflicts of interest and why they are of ethical concern, and then focuses on the way not-for-profit organisations are especially prone to and vulnerable to conflict-of-interest scandals. Conflicts of interest corrode trust; and stakeholder trust (particularly from donors) is the lifeblood of most charities. We focus on some specific challenges faced by charitable organisations providing funding for scientific (usually medical) research, and examine a case (...) study involving such an organisation. One of the principal problems for charities of this kind is that they often distribute their funds within a relatively small research community (defined by the boundaries of a small region, like an American state or Spanish Autonomous region, or a small country), and it often proves difficult to find high-level researchers within the jurisdiction to adjudicate impartially the research grants. We suggest and recommend options appropriate for our case study and for many other organisations in similar situations. (shrink)
This paper considers whether individual companies have an ethical obligation to label their Genetically Modified (GM) foods. GM foods and ingredients pervade grocery store shelves, despite the fact that a majority of North Americans have worries about eating those products. The market as whole has largely failed to respond to consumer preference in this regard, as have North American governments. A number of consumer groups, NGO’s, and activist organizations have urged corporations to label their GM products. This paper asks whether, (...) in such a situation, individual corporations can be ethically required to take such unilateral action. We argue that they cannot. Given the lack of solid evidence for any risk to human health, and the serious market disadvantage almost surely associated with costly unilateral action, no individual company has an ethical obligation to label its GM foods. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore briefly the "secular priesthood" metaphor often applied to bioethicists. I next ask: if, despite our discomfort with the metaphor, we were to embrace the best aspects of the priesthood(s) ? which I identify as the missionaries' willingness to work among sinners and lepers, at their own peril ? would we be able to live up to that standard of bravery? I then draw a parallel with the fears of contagion currently be voiced (by Carl Elliott (...) and others), with regard to bioethicists working in or near corporate settings. I argue that such fears may themselves have a number of deleterious effects, and I suggest several possible positive steps in response to that fear. (shrink)
The notion of “relational” autonomy—as described by feminist scholars such as Susan Sherwin and Anne Donchin—has been the subject of a significant body of literature over the last few years and has recently generated some interest within the field of bioethics. Although the focus of this interest has been the autonomy of ordinary moral agents, the analysis of relational autonomy can usefully be extended to apply to the autonomy of professionals, not only as individual moral agents, but in their roles (...) as professionals as well. In this paper, I argue that professional autonomy, rightly understood, is relational in nature. This understanding of professional autonomy stands to improve our understanding of professional ethics, as well as providing a particular, concrete example of what we mean when we call autonomy “relational” and “socially embedded. (shrink)
Genetic testing in the workplace is a technology both full of promise and fraught with ethical peril. Though not yet common, it is likely to become increasingly so. We survey the key arguments in favour of such testing, along with the most significant ethical worries. We further propose a set of pragmatic criteria, which, if met, would make it permissible for employers to offer (but not to require) workplace genetic testing.
Social Contract theorists and animal advocates seem to have agreed to go their separate ways. Contractarians have avoided attempting to address an issue that seems destined to prove embarrassing for the theory given the current political climate. It is largely thought that contractarianism affirms the meager moral standing commonly attributed to most animals. In the face of this consensus, animal advocates who feel the need to philosophically ground the moral status of animals have turned to other potential sources. This is (...) not a hard choice for animal advocates to make: utilitarianism is a respectable moral theory that affords animals moral consideration with relative ease. Nevertheless, we argue that this separation is a mistake. Contractarians can offer an account of the moral status of animals that is at least as compelling as that offered by utilitarianism. Grounding the moral worth of animals in contract theory also produces an importantly different account, one that can ground animal rights, as opposed to mere considerability, which some animal advocates will find more appealing than the utilitarian alternative. (shrink)
Discussions of conflict of interest (COI) in the university have tended to focus on financial interests in the context of medical research; much less attention has been given to COI in general or to the policies that seek to manage COI. Are university COI policies accessible and understandable? To whom are these policies addressed (faculty, staff, students)? Is COI clearly defined in these policies and are procedures laid out for avoiding or remedying such situations? To begin tackling these important ethical (...) and governance questions, our study examines the COI policies at the Group of Thirteen (G13) leading Canadian research universities. Using automated readability analysis tools and an ethical content analysis, we begin the task of comparing the strengths and weaknesses of these documents, paying particular attention to their clarity, readability, and utility in explaining and managing COI. (shrink)
Nanotechnology research is beginning to see widespread coverage in the media and popular science literatures, but discussions of hopes and fears about nanotechnology have already become polarised into utopian and dystopian visions. More moderate discussions focus on the near-term applications of nanotechnologies, and on potential benefits and harms. However, in exploring the social and ethical implications of nanotechnology, important lessons should be learned from experiences in other fields. In particular, studies of the ethical, legal, and social issues of genetics research (...) have successfully mapped out many of the issues that arise when new technologies are deployed. It is our contention that, for the most part, the ethical and social issues arising in nanomedicine are not altogether new, and thus do not require novel ethical principles or frameworks, nor a massive investment in ‘NELSI’ research. Instead, what is needed is support for the development of a culture of ethics amongst scientists and clinicians, basic scientific and medical knowledge for bioethicists, and a social competency for citizens to participate actively in debates about the implications of new technologies in general. (shrink)
ObjectiveHead and neck cancer treatments are known to significantly affect functionality and appearance, leading to an increased risk for body image disturbances. Yet, few longitudinal studies exist to examine body image in these patients. Based on a conceptual model, the current study aimed to determine, in patients newly diagnosed with HNC: the prevalence, level, and course of body image concerns; correlates of upon cancer diagnosis body image concerns; predictors of immediate post-treatment body image concerns; and association between body image concerns (...) and levels of anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, support, and alcohol and drug misuse.MethodsTwo hundred and twenty-three, newly diagnosed with a primary HNC were assessed using structured clinical interviews and psychometric measures at three, and 6 months after diagnosis. Primary outcome was 3-month, as it was most salient to body image disturbance. Multiple linear regression analyses were conducted on the potential body image predictors, based on the model.ResultsSixty-eight percent of patients with HNC presented some level of body image concerns. Body image concerns at baseline and post-treatment were significantly related and significantly increased from pre- to post-treatment. Immediately post-treatment, 89% presented some level of body image concerns. Correlates of body image concerns in patients with HNC at baseline included: physical symptom burden, difficulties with communication and eating, coping with the cancer diagnosis using denial, suicidal ideation, and having had a past anxiety diagnosis. When controlling for sociodemographic and medical variables, body image concerns in patients with HNC in the immediate post-treatment were predicted by: baseline body image, physical symptom burden, and neuroticism.ConclusionThis longitudinal study helps identify patients more susceptible to experience body image disturbance following head and neck cancer. Clinicians ought to pay special attention to body image concerns upon cancer diagnosis, physical symptom burden, and neuroticism, and may want to target these factors in future preventive interventions. (shrink)
In March 2003, President Bush declared the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the anticipated commencement of intensive American-led military operations in Iraq. With this declaration, the media began intense coverage of military operations from the field. For the first time, viewers were able to see images of actual events. This was due to three developments: the advancement of technology allowing immediate transmission of text and images, the actual presence of journalists identified as "embedded journalists" at military sites, and the fierce (...) competition among networks for viewers. One result of this constant coverage was significant pressure on decision makers within the television and cable news networks to decide within a matter of seconds which images to air. In particular, producers and broadcasters of competing networks experienced this pressure. Though the radio and broadcasting industry has a published code of standards, it is "general and advisory rather than specific and restrictive." Therefore, it did not address the unique time sensitive decision-making required within this new environment. Issues such as the security of soldiers, confidentiality of troop maneuvers, and the safety of the embedded journalists were critically important. Equally serious were the concerns about the impact of the immediate airing of information and violent images to the public. This research used Patrick Primeaux's ' mind-heart-sou¾ model of decision-making as its theoretical framework. The study investigated the gender and industry experience of selected professionals in a cable news network, MSNBC, to explore how ethical codes of behavior are integrated when people make decisions. Decision-making in both their professional and personal lives was examined. It is from this perspective that their professional decisions to air/not to air material from Operation Iraqi Freedom were studied. The findings on decisions about airing/not airing material from Operation Iraqi Freedom yielded both expected and unexpected results. There was no clear gender difference regarding ethical decision-making, but there was a difference when analyzed by industry experience. When the study focused on questions regarding the respondents' personal lives, the original hypothesis that there was a gender difference was validated. (shrink)
Genetically engineered organisms have been at the center of ethical debates among the public and regulators over their potential risks and benefits to the environment and society. Unlike the currently commercial GE crops that express resistance or tolerance to pesticides or herbicides, a new GE crop produces two bioactive nutrients and docosahexaenoic acid ) that heretofore have largely been produced only in aquatic environments. This represents a novel category of risk to ecosystem functioning. The present paper describes why growing oilseed (...) crops engineered to produce EPA and DHA means introducing into a terrestrial ecosystem a pair of highly bioactive nutrients that are novel to terrestrial ecosystems and why that may have ecological and physiological consequences. More importantly perhaps, this paper argues that discussion of this novel risk represents an opportunity to examine the way the debate over genetically modified crops is being conducted. (shrink)
It may seem that there is no need to review such a well-known book. This is the second edition of Peter Singer's text, Practical Ethics. The first edition has been widely used and influential; indeed for many it defines the field of applied ethics. The field is lucky; rarely is such popular work so carefully argued, so factually well informed and so well written. In addition, it is unusual for the author of a basic text to be so daring. Peter (...) Singer deserves credit for placing the interests of animals and famine victims on the agenda of applied ethics, and for making that agenda so prominent in public fora. But it behooves us to scrutinize carefully the power of definitive works as well. What sets the agenda is, for that very reason, more difficult to assess critically. (shrink)