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.
The recent corporate scandals in the United States have caused a renewed interest and focus on teaching business ethics. Business schools and their faculties are reexamining the teaching of business ethics and are reassessing their responsibilities to produce honest and truthful managers who live lives of integrity and ethical accountability. The authors recognize that no agreement exists among business schools and their faculties regarding what should be the content and pedagogy of a course in business ethics. However, the authors hold (...) that regardless of one’s biases regarding the content and pedagogy, the effective teaching of business ethics requires that the instructor in designing and delivering a business ethics course needs to focus particular attention on four principal questions: (1) what are the objectives or targeted learning outcomes of the course? (2) what kind of learning environment should be created? (3) what learning processes need to be employed to achieve the goals? and (4) what are the roles of the participants in the learning experience? The answers to these questions provide the foundations for any business ethics course. The answers are major determinants of the impact of a business ethics course on the thinking of students and the views on the ethical and professional accountabilities and responsibilities of managers in the workplace. (shrink)
The paper describes and discusses unethical behavior in organizations, as a result of (interacting) disputable leadership and ethical climate. This paper presents and analyzes the well-known bond trading scandal at Salomon Brother to demonstrate the development of an unethical organizational culture under the leadership of John Gutfreund. The paper argues that leaders shape and reinforce an ethical or unethical organizational climate by what they pay attention to, how they react to crises, how they behave, how they allocate rewards, and how (...) they hire and fire individuals. (shrink)
Although recent research suggests that women are underrepresented in philosophy after initial philosophy courses, there have been relatively few empirical investigations into the factors that lead to this early drop-off in women’s representation. In this paper, we present the results of empirical investigations at a large American public university that explore various factors contributing to women’s underrepresentation in philosophy at the undergraduate level. We administered climate surveys to hundreds of students completing their Introduction to Philosophy course and examined differences in (...) women’s and men’s feelings of belonging, comfort, and confidence in the philosophy classroom. We present findings suggesting various factors that contribute to women’s lower willingness to continue in philosophy compared to men’s, including perceptions about intuition-based methods in philosophy, the usefulness of the philosophy major, philosophy as a male discipline, and philosophical abilities as innate talents. We conclude by providing some suggestions for improving undergraduate philosophy courses in ways that would increase women’s willingness to continue in philosophy and may improve the courses for all students. (shrink)
This paper is designed to do three things while discussing the challenge of ethical behavior in organization. First, it discusses some reasons why unethical behavior occurs in organization. Secondly, the paper highlights the importance of organizational culture in establishing an ethical climate within an organization. Finally, the paper presents some suggestions for creating and maintaining an ethically-oriented culture.
Increasingly the business environment is tending toward a global economy. The current study compares the results of the Attitudes Towards Business Ethics Questionnaire (ATBEQ) reported in the literature for samples from the United States of America, Israel, Western Australia, and South Africa to a new sample (n = 125) from Turkey. The results indicate that while there are some shared views towards business ethics across countries, significant differences do exist between Turkey and each of the other countries in the study. (...) Similarities and differences are discussed in terms of the countries' ratings on the Corruption Perceptions Index (as reported by the Internet Center for Corruption Research) and Hofstede's Theory of International Cultures. Recommendations for managers interacting with employees from differing countries are provided. (shrink)
The institutionalization of ethics is an important task for today's organizations if they are to effectively counteract the increasingly frequent occurrences of blatantly unethical and often illegal behavior within large and often highly respected organizations. This article discusses the importance of institutionalizing organizational ethics and emphasizes the importance of several variables (psychological contract, organizational commitment, and an ethically-oriented culture) to the institutionalization of ethics within any organization.... institutionalizing ethics may sound ponderous, but its meaning is straightforward. It means getting ethics (...) formally and explicitly into daily business life. It means getting ethics into company policy formation at the board and top management levels and through a formal code, getting ethics into all daily decision making and work practices down the line, at all levels of employment. It means grafting a new branch on the corporate decision tree — a branch that reads right/wrong (Purcell and Weber, 1979, p. 6). (shrink)
Business ethics is once again a hot topic as examples of improper business practices that violate commonly accepted ethical norms are brought to our attention. With the increasing number of scandals business schools find themselves on the defensive in explaining what they are doing to help respond to the call to teach ‘‘more’’ business ethics. This paper focuses on two issues germane to business ethics teaching efforts: the ‘‘targeted output’’ goals of teaching business ethics and when in the curriculum business (...) ethics should be taught. (shrink)
Research on whistleblowing has not yet provided a finite set of variables which have been shown to influence an employee's decision to report wrongdoing. Prior research on business ethics suggests that ethical business decisions are influenced by both organizational as well as intrapersonal variables. As such, this paper attempts to predict the decision to whistleblow using organizational and intrapersonal variables. External whistleblowing was found to be significantly related to supervisor support, informal policies, gender, and ideal values. External whistleblowing was not (...) found to be significantly predicted by formal policies, organizational tenure, age, education, satisfaction, or commitment. (shrink)
This study attempts to help explain the ethical decision making of individual employees by determining how the perceived organizational environment is related to that decision. A self- administered questionnaire design was used for gathering data in this study with a sample size of 245 full-time employees. Perceived supervisor expectation, formal policies, and informal policies were used to assess the expressed ethical decision of the respondents. The findings indicate that the perceived organizational environment is significantly related to the ethical decision of (...) the respondent. (shrink)
Plant predictive processing suggests that plants anticipatorily perceive their environment. This hypothesis runs up against a challenge which takes the form of two constraints on per- ception advanced by Tyler Burge: the veridicality constraint and the constancy constraint. This paper argues that the veridicality constraint can be satisfied by assuming a general account of predictive processing. To show how the constancy constraint may be fulfilled, an ecologically informed account of invariant pick-up is developed and given a place within plant predictive (...) processing. It is concluded that, against our anthro- pocentric folk-psychological notions of perception, there is reason to believe that plants engage in minimal perception. (shrink)
This study examines the influence of ethical fit on employee attitudes and intentions to turnover. The results of this investigation provides support for the conjecture that ethical work climate is an important variable in the study of person-organization fit. Ethical fit was found to be significantly related to turnover intentions, continuance commitment, and affective commitment, but not to job satisfaction. Results are discussed in regard to some of the affective and cognitive distinctions among satisfaction, commitment, and behavioral intentions.
Efforts to counter software piracy are an increasing focus of software publishers. This study attempts to develop a profile of those who illegally copy software by looking at undergraduate and graduate students and the extent to which they pirate software. The data indicate factors that can be used to profile the software pirater. In particular, males were found to pirate software more frequently than females and older students more than younger students, based on self-reporting.
The purpose of this study was to determine if there is a relationship between the ethical climate of the organization and the development of person-organization fit. The relationship between an individual's stage of moral development and his/her perceived ethical work environment was examined using a sample of 86 working students. Results indicate that a match between individual preferences and present position proved most satisfying. Subjects expressing a match between their preferences for an ethical work climate and their present ethical work (...) climate indicated that they were less likely to leave their positions. (shrink)
Gallagher poses a phenomenologically-inspired challenge to a classical metaphysics of nature which is associated with contemporary natural sciences. This metaphysics can be reconstructed in terms of two distinct commitments: reductionism and individualism. This comment on Gallagher’s  article attempts to show how a revision of the classical metaphysics can be made intelligible in light of those two commitments. It requires a strong interpretation of the ecological framework for understanding cognition. Such a revision would give agency a central place in the (...) revised metaphysics of nature. (shrink)
Business schools have a responsibility to incorporate applied business ethics courses as part of their undergraduate and MBA curriculum. The purpose of this article is to take a background and historical look at reasons for the new emphasis on ethical coursework in business schools. The article suggests a prescription for undergraduate and graduate education in applied business ethics and explores in detail the need to increase applied business ethics courses in business schools to enhance the ethical development of students.
Turning around and changing an organization's culture does not happen by chance. The purpose of this paper is to offer insights into what is needed for an organization to successfully transform itself from a culture and experience that does not support individual ethical behavior. The recent bond trading scandal at Salomon Brothers will be used to demonstrate that a successful ethical turnaround does not just happen spontaneously. In particular, we argue that new leadership, altering policies, structure, behavior, and beliefs are (...) paramount to successfully change to an organizational culture that supports ethical behavior. Schein's five primary mechanisms available to leaders for embedding and reinforcing culture will be used to systematically analyze efforts to change Salomon Brothers' culture. (shrink)
This article explores the issue of rebuilding an organization’s reputation following an ethical scandal. We divide our discussion into four parts. First, we discuss the concept of reputation. We note its relevance to today’s organizations, offer several contemporary definitions along with highlighting its benefits and downsides. In the second section, we offer the work of anthropologist, Victor Turner, on social drama along with other views on organizational efforts to rebuild their reputation to include reputation management routines. In the third section, (...) Turner’s redressive actions are integrated with Edgar Schein’s leadership mechanisms for building or changing culture to provide further understanding of organizational efforts to rebuild reputation following ethical scandals. Finally, in the fourth section of the article, we extend the integration of the Turner and Schein work with single- and double-loop redressive actions for rebuilding reputation. (shrink)
Those who endorse the free energy principle as a theory of cognition are committed to three propositions that are jointly incompatible but which will cohere if one of them is denied. The first of these is that the free energy principle gives us a self-sufficient explanation of what all cognitive systems consist in: a specific computational architecture. The second is that all adaptive behavior is driven by the free energy principle and the process of model-based inference it entails. The third (...) is that cognition is not ubiquitous. These three incompatible propositions together comprise a problem of scope for the free energy principle as a theory of cognition. The prospects for rejecting each of these propositions are considered. To drop either the first or the second would limit the explanatory success of the principle. However, there are plausible ways to bite the bullet on denial of the third proposition. In particular, I argue that it is possible f... (shrink)
Building an effective classroom learningenvironment requires that business ethicsteachers pay particular attention to creating aclassroom environment that values the ideasothers have to offer. This article discussesthe importance of conversational learning tobusiness ethics teaching for effectivelearning. The paper also considers thebusiness ethics teacher's role in using aconversational learning approach to teachingbusiness ethics and some learning processesused to create a classroom climate conducive tothis approach for those interested in creatingnew kinds of conversation in their businessethics teaching efforts.
This paper is a contribution to the discussion of how religious perspectives can improve business ethics. Two such perspectives are in natural law of antiquity and recent Catholic social doctrine and teaching. This paper develops a conceptual framework from natural law and CSD/T that business leaders can adopt to build an ethos of humanistic management. This “Human Dignity-Centered” framework fills the gap between time-tested Christian norms and contemporary firm-leaders’ concrete needs. “Human dignity” is used as a rhetorical device to convey (...) the idea that firms are composed of dynamic social networks, with an ultimate purpose of serving human needs. Ultimately, the principles and virtues the framework employs have a logic that should inspire excellence, as ethical practices and concern for human welfare lay a foundation for long-term business prosperity. In a one-frame visual representation, this paper portrays: firm leadership challenges; a transforming ethical prism of principles and virtues; and results and feedback mechanisms. The accompanying narrative describes each element and how each affects humanistic management. Finally, illustrative company examples and questions are provided to illustrate how the framework can be used to benefit human flourishing. The framework provides an adjunct to current formulations of improving managerial excellence. (shrink)
Action-based theories of cognition place primary emphasis upon the role that agent-environment coupling plays in the emergence of psychological states. Prima facie, mental imagery seems to present a problem for some of these theories because it is understood to be stimulus-absent and thus thought to be decoupled from the environment. However, mental imagery is much more multifaceted than this “naïve” view suggests. Focusing on a particular kind of imagery, comparative mental imagery generation, this paper demonstrates that although such imagery is (...) stimulus-absent, it is also stimulus-sensitive. Exhibiting stimulus-sensitivity is sufficient for a process to qualify as coupled to the environment. The notion of variant coupling is explicated as the coupling of a cognizer’s perceptual system to variant environmental information. By demarcating the categories of stimulus-absent and stimulus-sensitive cognition, and variant and invariant coupling, this paper expands the conceptual apparatus of action-based theories, suggesting not only a way to address the problem that comparative mental imagery generation presents, but perhaps a way to account for other forms of imagery too. (shrink)
In typical development, word learning goes from slow and laborious to fast and seemingly effortless. Typically developing 2-year-olds seem to intuit the whole range of things in a category from hearing a single instance named—they have word-learning biases. This is not the case for children with relatively small vocabularies. We present a computational model that accounts for the emergence of word-learning biases in children at both ends of the vocabulary spectrum based solely on vocabulary structure. The results of Experiment 1 (...) show that late-talkers' and early-talkers' noun vocabularies have different structures and that neural networks trained on the vocabularies of individual late talkers acquire different word-learning biases than those trained on early-talker vocabularies. These models make novel predictions about the word-learning biases in these two populations. Experiment 2 tests these predictions on late- and early-talking toddlers in a novel noun generalization task. (shrink)
This study considers the ethical decision making of individual employees and the influence their perception of organizational expectations has on employee feelings about the decision making process. A self-administered questionnaire design was used for gathering data in this study, with a sample size of 245 full-time employees. The match between the ethical alternative chosen by the respondent and that alternative perceived to be encouraged by his/her organization was found to be significantly related to both feelings of discomfort and feelings of (...) intrapersonal role conflict. Implications for these findings are discussed. (shrink)
In this paper I give a novel argument for this view that the AGENT concept has an externalist semantics. The argument argues the conclusion from two premises: first, that our first relationships to agents is through a subpersonal mechanism which requires for its function an agential proto-concept which refers directly; and second, that there is a continuity of reference between this proto-concept and the mature concept AGENT. I argue the first on the basis of results in the developmental psychology of (...) social cognition. I argue the second on the basis of a process of elimination, by considering three possibilities for the relationship between the two concepts. On the basis of these two premises the conclusion is drawn that AGENT is a concept that refers directly. That has the following consequences for the philosophy of action: first, that “action” is not an appropriate term for reductive analysis, as the causal theory of action assumes; and second, that we should be looking to the appropriate empirical disciplines for an elucidation of the concept. (shrink)
This paper is designed to do four things. First, the paper discusses the importance of groupthink in contributing to unethical behavior. Second, the paper discribes how groupthink contributed to unethical behavior in three organizations (Beech-Nut, E. F. Hutton, and Salomon Brothers). Third, symptoms of groupthink (such as arrogance, overcommitment, and excessive loyalty to the group) will be presented along with two methods for programming conflict (devil's advocate and dialectic) into an organization and group's decisions. Finally, the paper introduces some prescriptions (...) for reducing the probability of groupthink. (shrink)
As employees continue to lie, cheat, and steal from their employers, researchers have tried to help managers understand and possibly predict such deviant behavior. This study considers the specific employee misconduct of ethical rule breaking. Hirschi (1969) suggested that deviant behavior can be better understood by social bonding theory. The social bonding model includes four elements; attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief. It is proposed that Hirschi's social bonding theory can be used to understand ethical rule breaking by employees. Using a (...) sample of 200 employees, the results indicate that the social bonding elements of attachment and involvement can be used to better understand the reported likelihood of ethical rule breaking of employees. Recommendations for better applying the social bonding model to ethical rule breaking are suggested. (shrink)
The case and commentaries below were developed as part of a project, Graduate Research Ethics Education, undertaken by the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF Grant No. SBR 9421897 and NSF Grant No. 9817880). The project aims at training graduate students in research ethics and building a community of scientists and engineers who are interested in and capable of teaching research ethics. As part of the project, each graduate student participant develops a (...) case for use in teaching and writes a commentary to go with the case, and then a staff member is asked to write additional commentary on the case. The case below was written in the second year of the project and was published in Research Ethics: Cases and Commentaries edited by B. Schrag, Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, Bloomington, Indiana, Vol. II (1998). Publication of these cases and commentaries will be a recurring feature of Science and Engineering Ethics. (shrink)
In a time when ethical scandals are commonplace in the media, one begins to wonder just what organizations are doing wrong. This article analyzes the Fall 2006 boardroom spying scandal at Hewlett–Packard to determine whether the workplace deviance observed can be linked to a retaliatory response to organizational power. A summary of the events leading up to, during, and the fall-out of the scandal is reported.
To make behavioral choices that are in line with our goals and our moral beliefs, we need to gather and consider information about our current situation. Most information present in our environment is not relevant to the choices we need or would want to make and thus could interfere with our ability to behave in ways that reflect our underlying values. Certain sources of information could even lead us to make choices we later regret, and thus it would be beneficial (...) to be able to ignore that information. Our ability to exert successful self-governance depends on our ability to attend to sources of information that we deem important to our decision-making processes. We generally assume that, at any moment, we have the ability to choose what we pay attention to. However, recent research indicates that what we pay attention to is influenced by our prior experiences, including reward history and past successes and failures, even when we are not aware of this history. Even momentary distractions can cause us to miss or discount information that should have a greater influence on our decisions given our values. Such biases in attention thus raise questions about the degree to which the choices that we make may be poorly informed and not truly reflect our ability to otherwise exert self-governance. (shrink)
As businesses become more global, the opportunities for employees to work with individuals from different cultures increase. Research in cross-cultural interactions has increased in response to such changes. This research study considers employee attitudes and perceived organizational support for the use of deception within the work environment. In this study, two types of deception have been considered; deception for personal gain and deception for the organization's benefit. The reported likelihood for committing these two types of deception for United States and (...) Israeli employees was gathered. The results indicate that United States employees are more likely to deceive others for personal gain than the Israeli employees. In addition, the results indicate that United States employees were more likely to perceive organizational support for the use of deception for personal gain than were the Israeli employees. No differences between the two samples were found for personal or organizational support for deception for the organization's benefit. Differences are explained using Hofstede's (1991) theory of international cultures. (shrink)
My own philosophical interests led me to investigate the letter which Smith submitted to The Times, along with eighteen other signatures from renowned philosophers, each objecting to the honorary degree which Cambridge was about to award Jacques Derrida. While Smith's letter has been esteemed for sober defense of philosophy, it has also been viewed as rather notorious by Derrida and postmodern sympathizers. After having contacted Smith at the State University of New York at Buffalo, we agreed to meet and discuss (...) the matter in more detail. What follows are my inquiries, and his account, of his letter to The Times letters page, 9 May, 1992. (shrink)