Introduction to the Institutional Logics Perspective -- Precursors to the Institutional Logics Perspective -- Defining the Inter-institutional System -- The Emergence, Stability and Change of the Inter-institutional System -- Micro-Foundations of Institutional Logics -- The Dynamics of Organizational Practices and Identities -- The Emergence and Evolution of Field-Level Logics -- Implications for Future Research.
The most serious ethical challenge facing multinational corporations in the next century is their exportation of the mental model of Western-style capitalism. This model promises that industrialized free enterprise in a free trade global economy, where businesses and entrepreneurs can pursue their interests competitively without undue regulations or labor restrictions, will produce growth and well-being, i.e., economic good, in every country or community where this phenomenon is allowed to operate. This paper points to some limitations to this model and illustrates (...) how multinational corporations might meet this challenge. (shrink)
Most papers in this issue carefully analyze normative and empirical methodologies. I shall argue that (a) there is no purely empirical nor purely normative methodology; (b) some terms escape the division of the normative and descriptive. (c) Most importantly, dialogues such as this one point to a form of integration that allows us to reflect on what it is that each approach presupposes in its study of business ethics. Thus we have made progress in recognizing the importance of each methodology, (...) how each is dependent on the other, and how neither is singularly The Approach to business ethics. (shrink)
Taking the lead from Susan Wolf's and Linda Emanuel's work on systems thinking, and developing ideas from Moberg's, Seabright's and my work on mental models and moral imagination, in this paper I shall argue that what is often missing in management decision-making is a systems approach. Systems thinking requires conceiving of management dilemmas as arising from within a system with interdependent elements, subsystems, and networks of relationships and patterns of interaction. Taking a systems approach and coupling it with moral imagination, (...) now engaged on the organizational and systemic as well as individual levels of decision-making, I shall conclude, is a methodology that encourages managers and companies to think more imaginatively and to engage in integrating moral decision-making into ordinary business decisions. More importantly this sort of thinking is a means to circumvent what often appear to be intractable problems created by systemic constraints for which no individual appears to be responsible. (shrink)
After experiments with various economic systems, we appear to have conceded, to misquote Winston Churchill that "free enterprise is the worst economic system, except all the others that have been tried." Affirming that conclusion, I shall argue that in today's expanding global economy, we need to revisit our mind-sets about corporate governance and leadership to fit what will be new kinds of free enterprise. The aim is to develop a values-based model for corporate governance in this age of globalization that (...) will be appropriate in a variety of challenging cultural and economic settings. I shall present an analysis of mental models from a social constructivist perspective. I shall then develop the notion of moral imagination as one way to revisit traditional mind-sets about values-based corporate governance and outline what I mean by systems thinking. I shall conclude with examples for modeling corporate governance in multi-cultural settings and draw tentative conclusions about globalization. (shrink)
Both Adam Smith and Herbert spencer, albeit in quite different ways, have been enormously influential in what we today take to be philosophies of modern capitalism. Surprisingly it is Spencer, not Smith, who is the individualist, perhaps an egoist, and supports a "night watchman" theory of the state. Smith's concept of political economy is a notion that needs to be revisited, and Spencer's theory of democratic workplace management offers a refreshing twist on contemporary libertarianism.
During recent years, the principle and practice of employment-at-will have been under attack. While progress has been madein eroding the practice, the principle still governs the philosophical assumptions underlying employment practices in the United States,and, indeed, EAW has been promulgated as one of the ways to address economic ills in other countries. This paper will briefly reviewthe major critiques of EAW. Given the failure of these arguments to erode the underpinnings of EAW, we shall suggest new avenues forapproaching employment issues (...) to achieve the desirable goal of employee dignity and respect. (shrink)
Despite the fact that a number of economists and philosophers of late defend insider trading both as a viable and useful practice in a free market and as not immoral, I shall question the value of insider trading both from a moral and an economic point of view. I shall argue that insider trading both in its present illegal form and as a legalized market mechanism undermines the efficient and proper functioning of a free market, thereby bringing into question its (...) own raison d'etre. It does so and is economically inefficient for the very reason that it is immoral. Thus this practice cannot be justified either from an economic or a moral point of view. Insider trading is the reverse of speculation. It is reward without risk, wealth generated — and injury done to others — by an unfair advantage in information ... [T]he core principle is clear: no one should profit from exploitation of important information not available to the public. (shrink)
This article presents a response to Richard Rorty's paper "Is Philosophy Relevant to Business Ethics?" The author questions Rorty's views on the depreciation of the role of philosophy in applied ethics, and outlines four reasons why philosophy retains its relevance. The author addresses the role of moral reasoning in the development of the moral imagination. The author also concludes that humans have the means necessary to make moral progress and are capable of moral reasoning, and need only to develop a (...) strong moral imagination. (shrink)
Until recently, business issues in healthcare organizations were relatively insulated from clinical issues, for several reasons. The hospital at earlier stages of its development operated on a combination of charitable and equitable premises, allowing for providing care to be separated from financial support. Physicians, who were primarily responsible for clinical care, constituted an independent power nexus within the hospital and were governed by their own professional codes of ethics. In exchange for a great deal of control over their conditions of (...) practice, they took almost complete responsibility for patient care. Thus clinical and professional ethics could to some extent be compartmentalized from the business issues—a much easier feat when, as in much of the last few decades, virtually all care was reimbursed from some source or other. In addition, many HCOs were not categorized or treated as businesses, although of course they were presumed to be governed by the same expectation for good management as any other organization. (shrink)
The Challenger incident was a result of at least four kinds of difficulties: differing perceptions and priorities of the engineers and management at Thiokol and at NASA, a preoccupation with roles and role responsibilities on the part of engineers and managers, contrasting corporate cultures at Thiokol and its parent, Morton, and a failure both by engineers and by managers to exercise individual moral responsibility. I shall argue that in the Challenger case organizational structure, corporate culture, engineering and managerial habits, and (...) role responsibilites precipitated events contributing to the Challenger disaster. At the same time, a number of individuals at Morton Thiokol and NASA were responsible for the launch failure. Differing world views, conflicting priorities of the engineers and managers on this project, and the failure of either engineers or management to take personal moral responsibility for decision-making contributed significantly to the event. (shrink)
The first issue of Business Ethics Quarterly was launched in 1991. At that time there were few general principles that could serve as guidelines for global business. However, since 1991 a plethora of such principles have been developed to serve as guidelines and evaluative mechanisms for global corporate responsibilities. But operationalizing these principles in practice has been a challenge for most transnational corporations and even for smaller, more local enterprises. This is because, in some cases, the principles ask too much (...) of companies. In other cases, the principles are ambiguous. And in still other cases,the principles, written by and large from a Western, rights-based perspective, cannot be operationalized in some cultural or religious settings. In this paper I will outline a series of dilemmas multinational enterprises face in the global market place, even when they sincerely sign on to one or another set of principles. These problems are not insurmountable, but in the imperfect world of commerce, require that our expectations of corporate responsibilities be satisficing rather than absolutist. (shrink)
With the recent rash of mergers and friendly and unfriendly takeovers, two important issues have not received sufficient attention as questionable ethical practices. One has to do with the rights of employees affected in mergers and acquisitions and the second concerns the responsibilities of shareholders during these activities. Although employees are drastically affected by a merger or an acquisition because in almost every case a number of jobs are shifted or even eliminated, employees at all levels are usually the last (...) to find out about a merger transaction and have no part in the takeover decision. Second, if shareholders are the fiduciary beneficiaries of mergers and acquisitions, then it would appear that they have some responsibilities or obligations attached to these benefits, but little is said about such responsibilities. In this essay I shall analyze these two ethical issues, and at the end of the paper I shall suggest how they are related. (shrink)
1993: GE’s NBC News unit issues an on-air apology to General Motors for staging a misleading simulated crash test. NBC agrees to pay GM’s estimated $1 million legal and investigation expenses.February 1994: The Justice Department brought a criminal antitrust case against General Electric, accusing it of conspiring with an arm of the South African DeBeers diamond cartel to fix prices in the $600 million world market for industrial diamonds. General Electric denied wrongdoing...
With the demise of Marxism and socialism, the United States is becoming a model not merely for free enterprise, but also for employment practices worldwide. I believe that free enterprise is the least worst economic system, given the alternatives, a position I shall assume, but not defend, here. However, I shall argue, a successful free enterprise political economy does not entail mimicking US employment practices. I find even today in 1998, as I shall outline in more detail, these practices, when (...) consistently carried out, by and large erode trust in the workplace, they are, on balance unfair to workers and managers, and, if Jeffrey Pfeffer is correct, they do not maximize long-term corporate earnings or growth. Getting clear on US employment practices and their weaknesses may help to shape other models for employment that neither contravene free enterprise nor are degrading to workers. (shrink)
The article, Inside Trading Revisited, has taken the stance that insider trading is neither unethical nor economically inefficient. Attacking my arguments to the contrary developed in an earlier article, The Ethics of Inside Trading (Journal of Business Ethics, 1989) this article constructs careful arguments and even appeals to Adam Smith to justify its conclusions. In my response to this article I shall clarify my position as well as that of Smith to support my counter-contention that insider trading is both unethical (...) and inefficient. (shrink)
There are important synergies for the next generation of ethical leaders based on the alignment of modified or adjusted mental models. This entails a synergistic application of moral imagination through collaborative input and critique, rather than "me too" obedience. In this article, we will analyze the Milgram results using frameworks relating to mental models (Werhane et al., Profitable partnerships for poverty alleviation, 2009), as well as work by Moberg on "ethics blind spots'' (Organizational Studies 27(3): 413-428, 2006), and by Bazerman (...) and Chugh on "bounded awareness" (Harvard Business Review, 2006; Mind & Society 6: 1-18, 2007) Using these constructs to examine the Milgram experiment, we will argue that the ways in which the experiments are framed, the presence of an authority figure, the appeal to the authority of science, and the situation in which the naïve participant finds herself or himself, all create a bounded awareness, a narrow blind spot that encourages a climate for obedience, brackets out the opportunity to ask the moral question: "Am I hurting another fellow human being?" and may preclude the subject from utilizing moral imagination to opt out of the experiment. We will conclude that these forms of almost blind obedience to authority are correctable, but with difficulty. We will argue that linking the modification of mental models to an unbinding of awareness represents an important synergistic relationship and one that can build effectively on the lessons learned from our experience with moral imagination. (shrink)
The global expansion of free enterprise has been underway for some time, and the challenges for global companies are well‐known. Companies often operate in economically blighted communities and in corrupt environments without a rule of law. At the same time Western‐based global corporations are under increasing public pressure to take on responsibilities to these communities that are often beyond their expertise or economic purview. For example, at the 2008 Davos meetings Bill Gates proposed the idea of “creative capitalism, challenging business (...) to ‘meet the needs of the poor in ways that generate profits’...” In what follows I shall argue that while there have been many successful global ventures, the Gates’ challenge requires academics and managerial leaders to rethink their mind sets and expand their thinking about what we mean by globalization, poverty, and the multiple dimensions of free enterprise. (shrink)
Patricia Werhane synthesizes much of later Wittgensteinian thought, bringing together disparate arguments into a coherent text. Keeping in mind what Wittgenstein set out to accomplish in his later writings, the introduction of new material on the private language arguments, and the philosophical significance of these claims, Werhane develops the thesis that the notion of a rule is such a constitutive of language that a private language is impossible. Such a conclusion challenges many contemporary readings of the Philosphical Investigations by (...) bringing into question conventionalism, linguistic relativism, and idealism while defending the thesis that the notion of a private psychological experience makes sense. (shrink)
This article will defend a very simple thesis. In a diverse globalized “flat” world with expanding economic opportunities and risks, we will need to revisit and revise our mindsets about free enterprise, corporate governance, and leadership. That we can change our mindsets and world view is illustrated by studies of primate behavior, and the kind of leadership necessary in a global economy is, interestingly, exemplified by women.
This paper builds on London and Hart’s critique that Prahalad’s best-selling book prompted a unilateral effort to find a fortune at the bottom of the pyramid. Prahalad’s instrumental, firm-centered construction suggests, perhaps unintentionally, a buccaneering style of business enterprise devoted to capturing markets rather than enabling new socially entrepreneurial ventures for those otherwise trapped in conditions of extreme poverty. London and Hart reframe Prahalad’s insight into direct global business enterprise toward “creating a fortune with the base of the pyramid” rather (...) than at the BoP. This shift in language requires a recalibration of strategic focus, we argue, and will necessitate implementation of “moral imagination” to formulate new mental models that can frame the possibility of local entrepreneurs working collaboratively and discursively with development partners drawn from civil society, corporate, and government sectors. Successful partnerships will arise from interactive processes of emergent, co-creative learning within a shared problem domain or “community of practice”. We call attention to three related pluralist framings of situated learning within such communities of practice: decentered stakeholder networks; global action networks; and a focus on “faces and places” as a cognitive lens to humanize and locally situate diverse inhabitants within base of the pyramid partnership projects. (shrink)
_Management Ethics_ is a highly accessible and concise introduction to issues and key problems in the area of management ethics. Examines the obligations that managers have to their various stakeholders: employees, customers, shareholders, and the community Looks at topics at the cutting edge of business ethics, including the ethics of supply chain management, as well as dealing with the press and non governmental agencies Considers the concepts of sustainability and triple bottom line accounting Includes chapters on stimulating the manager's moral (...) imagination and promoting a unique theory of ethical leadership. (shrink)
At the onset of the twenty-first century, American Christian feminist theologian, Sally McFague, in her book Life Abundant, challenged North Americans to move from a consumer mentality to a planetary theology that glorifies God in and through all of creation. The privileged are urged to shift from affluence and over indulgence to restraint, in order that all people may benefit. McFague points out that there is no single solution to the crisis facing humanity and the cosmos. This article, reflecting on (...) the stories, hopes and struggles of marginalized women in India, offers one response to envision abundant life for all. It presents a theological view of flourishing from the vantage point of the excluded and oppressed. How do marginal voices challenge people at the centre and how can those at the margins be enabled to experience abundant life in relation to God, others and the entire ecosystem? (shrink)