The paper begins by exploring whether a “tendency to avarice” exists in most capitalist business organisations. It concludes that it does and that this is problematic. The problem centres on the potential threat to the integrity of human character and the disablement of community.What, then, can be done about it? Building on previous work in which MacIntyre’s notions of practice and institution were explored , the paper offers a philosophically based argument in favour of the rediscovery of craftsmanship by those (...) who work in business organisations, and the exercise of craftsmanship in community.The practical implications for individuals of this way of conceptualising business, and the virtues which must then come to the fore, are discussed. (shrink)
This paper is a further development of two previous pieces of work in which modern virtue ethics, and in particular MacIntyre’s related notions of “practice” and “institution,” have been explored in the context of business. It first introduces and defines the concept of corporate character and seeks to establish why it is important. It then reviews MacIntyre’s virtues-practice-institution schema and the implications of this at the level of the institution in question—the corporation—and argues that the concept of corporate character follows (...) from, but is a novel development of, MacIntyre’s schema. The paper contrasts corporate character and virtues with the more familiar concepts of corporate culture and values. The constitutive and substantive elementsof corporate character, including the essential corporate virtues, are then drawn out and illustrated with reference to the cases explored in Koehn . Finally, the paper acknowledges and counters a specific criticism of this approach. (shrink)
The comparison of corporate social performance with corporate financial performance has been a popular field of study over the past 25 years. The results, while broadly conclusive of a positive relationship, are not entirely consistent. In addition, most of the previous studies have concentrated on large-scale cross-industry studies and often with a single variable for corporate social performance, in order to produce statistically significant results. This weakens the richness of understanding that might be obtained from a single industry study with (...) multiple social variables, which would also allow investigation of inter-relationships between individual and sub-sets of social performance measures and between individual and sub-sets of social performance and financial performance measures. There have also been criticisms that the results lack a rigorous theoretical basis, and the paper demonstrates clearly how stakeholder theory must form the basis for this area of research. Following a review of the literature this paper presents the initial findings from a study of the U.K. Supermarket industry which suggest that contemporaneous social and financial performance are negatively related, while prior-period financial performance is positively related with subsequent social performance. Positive relationships between both age and size of the company with social performance are also found. (shrink)
Abstract: After exploring MacIntyre’s (1985) practice—institution distinction, the article demonstrates its applicability to business-as-practice and to corporations as institutions. It then considers the implications of MacIntyre’s schema to ethical schizophrenia, to the claim that the market is a source of the virtues and to the opposite claim that capitalism corrodes character. A fully worked out modern virtue ethics, based on MacIntyre’s work, is then established and the claim is made and substantiated that such an understanding of MacIntrye’s work revitalises it (...) and makes it directly applicable to business and to corporations. (shrink)
Although Fair Trade has been in existence for more than 40 years, discussion in the business and business ethics literature of this unique trading and campaigning movement between Southern producers and Northern buyers and consumers has been limited. This paper seeks to redress this deficit by providing a description of the characteristics of Fair Trade, including definitional issues, market size and segmentation and the key organizations. It discusses Fair Trade from Southern producer and Northern trader and consumer perspectives and highlights (...) the key issues that currently face the Fair Trade movement. It then identifies an initial research agenda to be followed up in subsequent papers. (shrink)
This paper extends previous discussions of corporate character and corporate virtues. By drawing particularly on the work of Alasdair MacIntyre, it offers a perspective on context-dependent categories of the virtues. It then provides a philosophically grounded framework which enables a discussion of which virtues are required for business organizations to qualify as virtuous. It offers a preliminary taxonomy of such corporate virtues and provides a revised definition of corporate character.
The paper begins by exploring whether a “tendency to avarice” exists in most capitalist business organisations. It concludes that it does and that this is problematic. The problem centres on the potential threat to the integrity of human character and the disablement of community.What, then, can be done about it? Building on previous work (Moore, 2002) in which MacIntyre’s notions of practice and institution were explored (MacIntyre, 1985), the paper offers a philosophically based argument in favour of the rediscovery of (...) craftsmanship by those who work in business organisations, and the exercise of craftsmanship in community.The practical implications for individuals of this way of conceptualising business, and the virtues which must then come to the fore, are discussed. (shrink)
This paper briefly reviews the theories that seek to explain the phenomenon of corporate charitable donations and then provides a review of the empirical issues that have arisen in previous studies in this area. The findings of an analysis of charitable donations data from the entire U.K. FTSE index for the years 1985–2000 are then reported. These findings include the observation of a time-related increase in charitable donations, which is compared with an earlier study to give a 24 year history (...) of charitable donations in the U.K. The findings note little responsiveness of the monetary value of charitable donations to the economic performance of firms. An international comparison over time against U.S. trends is also reported and shows how U.S. corporations have traditionally been more generous than U.K. firms, but that the trend in the U.S. is downwards. Membership of a U.K.-based "tithing" club (the PerCent Club) is shown to be associated with higher profit performance against non-members. Members' charitable contributions against profit are shown to be higher than the FTSE mean although short of the 0.5% target figure in "cash" terms. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of these findings in relation to the theoretical positions advanced for corporate philanthropy. (shrink)
In this paper the problematic nature of the morality of management, in particular related to business organisations operating under Anglo-American capitalism, is explored. MacIntyre’s critique of managers in After Virtue (1985) serves as the starting point but this critique is itself subjected to analysis leading to a more balanced and contemporary view of the morality of management than MacIntyre provides. Paradoxically perhaps, MacIntyre’s own virtues-goods-practice-institution schema is shown to provide a way of re-imagining business organisations and management and thereby holds (...) out the possibility of resolving the issue of the morality of management within such organisations. Implications for management practice are drawn out. (shrink)
This paper is a further development of two previous pieces of work (Moore 2002, 2005) in which modern virtue ethics, and in particular MacIntyre’s (1985) related notions of “practice” and “institution,” have been explored in the context of business. It first introduces and defines the concept of corporate character and seeks to establish why it is important. It then reviews MacIntyre’s virtues-practice-institution schema and the implications of this at the level of the institution in question—the corporation—and argues that the concept (...) of corporate character follows from, but is a novel development of, MacIntyre’s schema. The paper contrasts corporate character and virtues with the more familiar concepts of corporate culture and values. The constitutive and substantive elementsof corporate character, including the essential corporate virtues, are then drawn out and illustrated with reference to the cases explored in Koehn (1998). Finally, the paper acknowledges and counters a specific criticism of this approach. (shrink)
The current economic and preceding financial crises seem to provide evidence in favour of the self-destruction thesis of capitalism. Responses to the crisis have been polarised. Some suggest that regulatory changes are all that is needed. Others suggest the need to change the economic system by developing a new global economic ethic. The first is too limited, the second too utopian. This article suggests that a MacIntyrean virtue ethics approach provides both a more convincing diagnosis of the problem and leads (...) to a more workable prescription. First, we need to understand the internal contradictions of the tradition that has developed of how to ‘do’ business. Then we need the virtues to be exercised inside practices and institutions. But virtue itself needs to be institutionalised; we need an appropriate governance of virtue in organizations. Even though governance is usually taken to ‘crowd out’ virtue, this article proposes an approach to governance that ‘crowds in’ virtue. (shrink)
The debate concerning corporate moral agency is normally conducted through philosophical arguments in articles which argue from only one point of view. This paper summarises both the arguments for and against corporate moral agency and concludes from this that the arguments in favour have more weight. The paper also addresses the way in which the law in the U.K. and the U.S.A. currently views this issue and shows how it is supportive of the concept of corporate moral agency. The paper (...) concludes by considering the implications of the debate for business ethics in general, and stakeholder theory and virtue ethics in particular. (shrink)
This paper seeks to establish whether the categories of MacIntyrean virtue ethics as applied to business organizations are meaningful in a non-western business context. It does so by building on research reported in Moore : 363–387, 2012) in which the application of virtue ethics to business organizations was investigated empirically in the UK, based on a conceptual framework drawn from MacIntyre’s work. Comparing these results with an equivalent study in Sri Lanka, the paper finds that the categories are meaningful but (...) that there are both similarities to and considerable differences in the content of these categories from the UK study. The paper draws on aspects of institutional theory to explore and explain these findings. Overall, there is supportive evidence that the categories of MacIntyrean virtue ethics are generalizable, and so can be used to characterize problems of organizational virtue and vice around the world, while providing evidence that there may be polities which are more conducive to the ‘practice-like conduct of production’ : 77–91, 2008). (shrink)
This article examines the impact of the prevailing state ownership in the Chinese stock market on corporate governance and the financial regulatory system, respectively, as the internal and external monitoring mechanisms to deter corporate fraud and protect investors. In line with the literature that state ownership exaggerates the agency problem, we find that the retained state ownership in privatised firms increases the incidence of regulatory enforcements against fraud. For the state-owned enterprises (SOEs), however, larger state ownership is associated with a (...) lower incidence of enforcement actions. This is attributed to the mutual political affiliation of the fraudulent SOEs and the regulatory commission. A new regulation "Solutions for Listed Firm Checks" promulgated in March 2001 has mitigated this effect by empowering the regulatory commission to increase the severity of regulatory conditions. Our evidence confirms the improvement in the regulatory environment and investor protection in the Chinese stock market brought about by the regulatory reform and development. (shrink)
This paper contrasts the normative foundations of the stakeholder and shareholder theories of the firm. It demonstrates how the shareholder theory of the firm appears to have at least as much normative support as stakeholder theory and suggests that a way forward may be for a variant of pure shareholder theory to emerge.
A horseshoe is regarded as a lucky, perhaps even romantic, symbol of our industrial heritage. Why is it, then, that much of English literature, from Mandeville's ‘Grumbling Hive’ on, portrays business in a murky light? The paper begins with an analysis of this phenomenon and concludes that it is the institutionalisation and legitimisation of avarice and its consequential effects that gives rise to such a portrayal. A horseshoe has also been used as a convenient means of conceptualising an answer to (...) the questions this conclusion raises: ‘Who should control the corporation and for what ends?’ and discussing recent developments in corporate social responsibility. Drawing on research evidence the paper demonstrates how corporations are simultaneously under pressure from society and responding to its concerns. The paper concludes that these current developments can at best ameliorate the situation, and that what is necessary is to rediscover the notion of corporate virtue, instead of putting virtue at the service of vice. (shrink)
This book provides an integrated and philosophically-grounded framework which enables a coherent approach to organizations and organizational ethics from the perspective of practitioners in the workplace, from the perspective of managers in organizations, as well as from the perspective of organizations themselves.
This volume provides an updated examination of the role that moral and political philosophy can play in addressing problems in business ethics. The essays contained within its pages represent the work of new scholars and address a wide array of foundational issues such as distributive justice within firms, human rights, ethical challenges of international business, the role of virtue in business management, entrepreneurship and the relationship of markets and market actors with democratic institutions.
This paper develops a set of 16 criteria, divided into four groupings, for responsible business practice (RBP) in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) drawn from the existing SME/RBP literature. The current lack of a general set of criteria against which such activity can be judged is noted and this deficit is redressed. In order to make an initial assessment in support of the criteria so derived, an exploratory feasibility study of RBP in U.K. Fair Trade organisations was conducted. The findings (...) from this study show that most but not all of the RBP criteria seem to be applicable to U.K. Fair Trade organisations but it is recommended that the complete set of criteria continues to be used in further research until such time as there is a general consensus as to which criteria are appropriate. Implications for RBP in small businesses in general, and for Fair Trade organisations in particular, are drawn out and suggestions for further research are identified. (shrink)
The paper begins by providing a classification of the regulatory environment within which Business Schools, particularly those in the U.K., operate. The classification identifies mandatory vs. voluntary and prescriptive vs. permissive requirements in relation to the Business and Management curriculum. Three QAA Subject Benchmark Statements relating to Business and Management, the AMBA MBA guidelines, and the EQUIS and AACSB standards are then compared and contrasted with each other. The cognitive and affective learning outcomes associated with business ethics contained in each (...) of these statements are then detailed. The conclusion is that from an international perspective compliance with relevant standards, while requiring due consideration, should be relatively straightforward. From a U.K. perspective, however, the QAA Subject Benchmark Statements provide the most rigorous standards and to meet these will require considerable development on the part of many Business Schools in the U.K. For those academics engaged in this area, however, this represents an opportunity not to be missed. (shrink)
This paper reviews a publication entitled ‘Ethics Matters. Managing Ethical Issues in Higher Education’, which was distributed to all UK universities and equivalent in October 2005. The publication proposed that HEIs should put in place an institution‐wide ethical policy framework, well beyond the customary focus on research ethics, together with the mechanisms necessary to ensure its implementation. Having summarised the processes that led to the publication and the publication itself, the paper then considers whether following the now commonplace corporate practice (...) of implementing a code of ethics is appropriate for such institutions. Drawing on both the empirical evidence in relation to codes in the business ethics literature and a consideration of the nature of the university as an institution, the paper offers an alternative suggestion for how ethical issues in higher education might be managed. (shrink)