International institutions such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) have been examined from various industrial relations viewpoints. This article seeks to discuss the ILO from the standpoint of moral philosophy. Traditionally, philosophy has not been concerned with industrial relations (IR) and IR writers have not engaged with ethics either. Nonetheless, all IR agents and institutions, international or otherwise, are moral agents. Being part of the United Nations (UN), the ILO follows the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). In philosophical terms, (...) the ILO carries connotations of the German moral philosopher Kant's (1724-1084) concept of universalism. Ethical universalism is also the core of American psychologist and philosopher Laurence Kohlberg's developmental model that allows an assessment of moral values and ethical behaviours. To ascertain the ILO's morality, an empirical study (n=121) was conducted at a regional University. The study indicated that most respondents (68%) saw the ILO as a reflection of the morality of " defending everyone's right to justice and welfare, universally applied while applying well-thought principles and being ready to share and debate these openly and non-defensively with others". In line with the ILO's self-understanding, survey respondents also viewed it as a thoroughly moral agent committed to the advancement of humanity as a whole. Respondents also thought that the ILO goes beyond the confinements of the standard industrial relations framework, actively engaging with the universality of all people. The overall conclusion is that the way the ILO is perceived to act along the scale of Kohlberg's text matches the ILO's actual existence and work. For the first time, the ILO's moral status has been tested using Kohlberg's scale of morality. This provides a significant contribution to our understanding of the morality of a very important universal institution that has virtually all countries as members. (shrink)
Is it really all about greed, money, and shareholder value? Seven Management Moralities examines management's moral behaviour from seven different perspectives. These are derived from Kohlberg's development of human morality.