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 paper takes a look at insurance customer dishonesty as a special case of consumer ethics, understood as a way of situation handling, as a moral choice between right and wrong, such as between self-interest vs. common-interest, in other words, a “moral temptation”. After briefly raising the question if different schools, of moral philosophy would conceptualize such moral temptations differently, the paper presents ‘moral psychology’ as a frame of reference, with a focus on cognitive moral development, moral attitude and moral (...) neutralization. Conceptualization questions can’t be answered finally without thinking at the same time of empirical research design and instrument design decisions, e.g. choosing between experiment vs. questionnaire studies, designing suitable moral temptation situations as an experiment vs. questionnaires with scenario vignettes. The paper discusses then experiences from a 2004 pilot survey, with a main focus on a few insurance dishonesty scenarios with follow-up questions. The paper has an open end, i.e. outlines desirable future theoretical, empirical and practical work with insurance customer dishonesty. (shrink)
Marketing ethics is normally marketed as a sub-specialization of business ethics. In this paper, marketing ethics serves as an umbrella term for advertising, PR and sales ethics and as an example of professional ethics. To structure the paper, four approaches are distinguished, with a focus on typical professional conflicts, codes, roles or climates respectively. Since the moral climate approachis more inclusive than the other approaches, the last part of the paper deals mainly with moral climates, within the above-mentioned marketing sub-professions.
Insurance fraud and abuse—international concerns—are inherent in the proposition of insurance and prevalent in insurer–insured interactions. While the subject of considerable industry and regulatory attention, this little-researched area of consumer behavior and consumer ethics represents persistent social policy questions and problems at multiple levels. This article addresses the issue by first defining insurance fraud and its origins in contract, as well as consumer- and insurer-management. The authors conclude by re-envisioning the problem as one of co-creation by the consumer-insured and insurer (...) personnel, proposing a framework for its study and resolution. (shrink)
The paper suggests that consumers and their behaviors deserve more attention in our field. After a few website references and after a brief literature review of recent business ethics and consumer behavior literature conceptual frameworks are suggested. As an open end, the paper contains some empirical references, related to consumer honesty, tax loyalty and to motives for buying organic food, and suggests the development of a consumer morality measurement instrument.
Most consumer morality studies focus on consumer immorality, i.e. different types and degrees of consumer dishonesty or deviance. This paper follows this tradition, by looking at insurance customer dishonesty. For looking at insurance customer dishonesty in a wider perspective, the paper drafts a sociology of insurance customer morality, including outlines of micro-level, meso-level and macro-level moral sociologies of insurance fraud, as well as a discussion of moral heterogeneity and a critical understanding of deviance. As a next step a few empirical (...) rsearch questions are formulated and illustrated with data from a Norwegian-German pilot study. (shrink)
Departing from frequent use of moral conflict cases in business ethics teaching and research, the paper suggests an elaboration of a moral conflict approach within business ethics, both conceptually and philosophically. The conceptual elaboration borrows from social science conflict research terminology, while the philosophical elaboration presents casuistry as a kind of practical, inductive argumentation with a focus on paradigmatic examples.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen's death, during 2006 quite a number of cultural events were launched (cf. http://www.ibsen.net/). The article suggests celebrating Ibsen as a potentially useful resource for business ethics teaching. Departing from a short presentation of Ibsen's plays An enemy of the people and A doll's house the main focus of this paper is on two selected scenes from the latter piece -both as raw material for developing scenarios for moral maturity assessment (one (...) of them is strikingly similar to and different from Heinz' dilemma), and for teaching business students moral reflection and imagination. As an open end of the article a few wider questions are asked about the use of literature in addition to or instead of ethics when it comes to triggering moral reflection and imagination. (shrink)
This article uses sociological role theory to help understand ethical challenges faced by Norwegian real estate agents. The article begins with an introductory case, and then briefly examines the strengths and limitations of using legal definitions and rules for understanding real estate agency and real estate agent ethics. It goes on to argue that the ethical challenges of real estate agency can be described and understood as a system of conflicting roles with associated rights and duties, in particular sales agent, (...) intermediary and adviser sub-roles. The arguments are developed using exploratory findings from a survey of Norwegian real estate agents and from several focus groups. The article then suggests the use of various intranet tools as a kind of action research aimed at putting ethics on the real estate agents' agenda, working to develop a collective conscience and collective selfcriticism among the agents, and, in doing so, building bridges between academic research and the practical working world of the agents. (shrink)
Microinsurance is the provision of insurance services to the poor, usually in developing countries. One of the key criteria of poverty is vulnerability even to minor events. In such cases, even micro coverage can make a major difference, yet still be funded by an affordable contribution by the insured. Like any kind of insurance, microinsurance can cover different risks to life, health, farming, property among other things. Our paper sketches how one could address and develop microinsurance business ethics. First, we (...) introduce microinsurance to the business ethics community and business ethics to the microinsurance community. Our draft of microinsurance ethics is then developed from two angles: as a holistic understanding of ideals and possible ethical conflicts in key stakeholder relationships and by distinguishing eight challenges when targeting the poor and when marketing microinsurance. As an open ending, the article suggests a three-stage action research design focusing on how microinsurance could (and should) internalize ethics, respecting rather than neglecting national- and local-cultural conditions. (shrink)
Vocational ethics and vocational moral socialization are important for the business ethical climate in a given country and in a given industry, but have not received attention in the literature. Our article suggests vocational ethics as a legitimate sub-specialty for business ethics research and development. The article addresses the exposure of vocational students to a combination of vocational school-based and workplace-based socialization, and outlines an agenda for teaching-oriented research and research-based teaching. More specifically, we first draft a conceptual frame of (...) reference and then report results and experiences from a scenario-based pilot study at one of the biggest vocational schools in the country. As a third step such a preliminary situation analysis inspires a number of suggestions for how one could start with developing this field, practically, empirically and theoretically. (shrink)
Business ethics as an academic field is, not least, about moral criticism and self‐criticism, of business and of business education. However, the business ethics discourse appears to shift between a critique of immorality and a crude moralism. The article explores the concept of moralism with reference to the relevant literature and illustrates its various manifestations with reference to empirical studies. This is followed up by theses for further discussion and research.
This article describes and discusses team teaching and particularly guest lectures as a way of integrating ethics into the business curriculum. After a brief discussion of business school responsibilities and the teaching of ethics, the article looks at efforts to integrate the teaching of ethics across the curriculum. Then, findings from a small pilot study among business ethics and business school colleagues are summarized and discussed, with a focus on guest lecturing and team teaching, both with regard to experience and (...) to faculty’s willingness to try. A final section of the article formulates recommendations for how our theory could be translated into practice. (shrink)
Business activity can be analyzed through a ‘risk awareness’ perspective and a ‘responsibility awareness’ perspective. However, risk and responsibility are actually interdependent. Risk-taking triggers responsibility issues and taking responsibility means risking being asked critical questions. This article suggests some first steps for combining these two perspectives conceptually. After several introductory illustrations showing how risk and responsibility issues are intertwined, the article looks separately each at risk and at responsibility. Then the argument that such perspectives could be usefully combined is elaborated (...) further from a theoretical angle and from a practical angle, by looking at various ethical issues and by presenting paradigmatic examples of balancing or sharing risk and responsibility related to leadership, to ERM and to insurance. (shrink)
After a selective review of relevant literature about teaching business ethics, this paper builds on a summary of Fred Bird’s thoughts about the voicing of moral concerns provided in his book about moral muteness. Socratic dialogue methodology is then presented and the use of this methodology is examined, for business ethics teaching in general, and for addressing our paper topic in particular. Three short form Socratic dialogues about the paper topic are summarized for illustration, together with preparation and debriefing suggestions (...) for a Socratic dialogue unit as part of a business ethics course. In conclusion, Socratic dialogue design is related to the experiential learning approach, and characterized by a few basic traits, which imply both risks and opportunities for business ethics teaching. (shrink)
The paper starts with a brief introduction, about teaching business ethics, by using theatre plays and literature in general, and about the selection of this play by Lessing in particular. Next follows a summary presentation of the play, its most critical scenes, roles and ingredients. As an open ending to this presentation, a number of questions are formulated which can be used for triggering and structuring student discussion and student papers. Then the paper offers short answers to each of these (...) questions. (shrink)
This paper investigates the potential contribution of sociological perspectives for business ethics teaching. After a brief and selective literature review, the paper suggests starting with sociological thinking and three aspects of it: sociological concepts, sociological imagination, and postponed judgment. After presenting two short case teaching stories and three sociological concepts or frameworks, the potential inspiration value of a sociological checklist for analysing or diagnosing business ethics cases is tried out. As an open ending, some short final suggestions are made for (...) further use of sociological perspectives in both business ethics teaching and research. (shrink)
There is much more written about how and why business schools could and should talk about business ethics than about how they could “walk the talk.” When ethics is discussed, it is usually in relation to the position of business ethics within the curriculum, rather than about what does and does not constitute ethical behaviour on the part of a business school and its members. This paper seeks to explore how ethics can develop beyond the curriculum, and some methods by (...) which business schools might promote effective ethical self-development. Four basic ethical concepts are used as potential starting points for business school faculty to engage with business ethics beyond the curriculum: moral conflict, role morality, moral codes, and moral climate. Through a discussion of these, eight theses are developed for further discussion and are suggested as a framework for future comparative research about business school ethics. (shrink)
The constant growth of online learning and of online tools for teaching over the past two decades comes with opportunities and risks, with an oversupply of contents, but also with easily accessible enrichment of learning and teaching. Departing from an own learning by doing pilot project, the paper reviews studies of online tools and web-based learning environments in business ethics, using Bloom’s taxonomy as a primary reference. As an open ending, we formulate suggestions for future work and action research, with (...) a focus on implementation, fruitful topics, and methodological issues. (shrink)