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1. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 33 > Issue: 1
Kathleen Wilburn, Ralph Wilburn, Demonstrating a Commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility Not Simply Shared Value
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Porter and Kramer (2006, 2011) are very clear that shared value is not corporate social responsibility. Not only do they criticize the four principles on which CSR rests: moral obligation, sustainability, license to operate, and reputation, as ineffective and vague, they maintain that the only reason for companies to engage in sustainability projects is to decrease costs and thus increase profits, not because they have a corporate responsibility to help protect the environment the people who dwell in it. Because social problems cause extra costs for companies and thus decrease profits, they say that companies should have strategies that might appear to be socially responsible, but are not because the intent is to improve profits. This paper will describe the current definitions and focus of CSR, explain shared value, and then propose ways that commitment to CSR can be made public by leaders and their businesses, such as using social license to operate, third-party assessors, and new business structures.
2. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 33 > Issue: 1
Ned Dobos, Advert-Evaluation and Product-Appraisal: A Two Way Street?
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To what extent does the ethicality of an advertisement depend on the good or service being advertised? This question has engaged business ethicists for decades. Some say that an ad for something good is always good, while an ad for something bad is always bad. Others insist that advert-evaluation and product-appraisal are entirely independent of one another—the ethics of selling has nothing to do with what is being sold. In this paper I add another dimension to the debate. I do this not by offering an alternative answer to the question, but by inverting the questions itself. I ask: To what extent does our moral assessment of advertising influence our moral evaluation of particular products? I hope to show that one’s general attitude towards advertising invariably colours one’s appraisal of particular goods and services. If advertising is seen as a morally objectionable enterprise, products which may seem innocuous start to look not only useless, but baneful and corrupting. If advertising is seen as a morally, psychologically and socially valuable activity, the same innocuous products start to look fulfilling, enriching, and overall life-enhancing.
3. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 33 > Issue: 1
Kemi Ogunyemi, How Extortion Works (Evidence From Nigeria): The Extortion Cycle
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Extortion is one of the ways that the formal economy leaks. Like bribery, extortion is not adequately documented because perpetrators are unlikely to record it. Like bribery, it raises the cost of business. It is similar to facilitating payments in that neither seeks something to which the payer is not entitled and so they may seem less harmful than outright bribery (Argandoña 2005). Both are however harmful and lead to worse forms of corruption, (Argandoña 2005). This paper explains how extorters operate and proposes a framework of what characterizes every incident.The paper examines 159 victim narratives of experiences of extortion of fifty-five postgraduate students. In a challenging economy (Tsalikis and Nwachukwu 1991) where businesses struggle for profitability, a discussion of money leakages is relevant. Understanding how extortion works will make it easier to recommend anti-extortion mechanisms. The extortion cycle proposed depicts the incidence and spread of corruption through self-perpetuation. Adopting the style of Nielsen (2003) the paper concludes by suggesting a bidirectional approach to fighting extortion—one aiming at creating a more enabling environment for ethical behaviour and another at forestalling individual unethical behaviour.
4. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 33 > Issue: 1
Simone de Colle, Ann Marie Bennett, State-induced, Strategic, or Toxic?: An Ethical Analysis of Tax Avoidance Practices
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Tax avoidance practices by Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, Starbucks and others are increasingly under scrutiny both from a legal and an ethical perspective. In 2013, the OECD launched an ‘Action Plan’ to encourage the G20 countries to address Base Erosion and Profit Shifting through an internationally co-ordinated approach, arguing that tax avoidance represents a risk for tax revenues and tax fairness, potentially “undermining taxpayers voluntary compliance.” The analysis of tax avoidance in the existing business ethics literature suffers from a black-and-white approach, contending either that tax avoidance is unethical (e.g. Prebble & Prebble 2010) or that, being legal, tax avoidance is also ethical (e.g. Houghton 1979). However, we believe that within tax avoidance practices there are important distinctions to be made. In this paper, we analyze the ethics of tax avoidance by identifying three different forms of avoidance practices: state-induced, strategic, and toxic avoidance. We develop a more nuanced approach reviewing both the ethical arguments in defense and the ethical issues associated with each form of tax avoidance. Finally, we propose an ethical framework that could assist executives and policy-makers in their decision-making concerning tax avoidance.
5. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 33 > Issue: 1
Anne C. Ozar, The Plausibility of Client Trust of Professionals
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Trust is a crucial component of the relationship between a professional and those whom the professional serves because those served often lack the past experience and specialized training necessary to adequately assess the reliability of the professional’s judgments on their behalf. This article is an attempt to enhance our understanding of the conditions under which client trust of a professional is plausible. Trust, I will explain, is an emotional attitude with a unique evaluative dimension that can lead the one who trusts to anticipate that the one trusted will not betray her even when she cannot adequately assess evidence of the trusted’s reliability. It is, however, precisely because evaluating someone’s trustworthiness differs in important respects from assessing their reliability that substantive trust of a professional is implausible in cases where those served by a particular profession, for example, medicine or journalism, conceive of it as merely a commercial enterprise.
6. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 33 > Issue: 1
Steve Tammelleo, Louis G. Lombardi, Consumer Social Responsibility?
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We develop a vision of consumer responsibility in purchasing decisions in light of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ boycotts. These boycotts succeeded in convincing large fast food companies and national supermarket chains to pay tomato growers a penny more per pound, to improve working conditions and wages for pickers. The C.I.W. efforts to generate consumer support eschewed claims associated with rule-based obligations in favor of appeals more typically associated with virtue and caring ethics. The strategies encouraged consumers to understand the plight of tomato pickers and to extend concern in an effort to improve the world. These strategies are associated more with encouragement to contribute to the social good rather than claims that in refusing to help, consumers would fail to fulfill an obligation. Insights from virtue ethics and caring ethics are offered as a model for a broader account of consumer social responsibility.
7. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 33 > Issue: 1
Notes on Contributors
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articles
8. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 32 > Issue: 3/4
Randi L. Sims, Antecedents and Consequences of Collective Fraud: A Study of the United States Residential Real Estate Market Boom and Bust
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This paper examines the collective fraudulent behaviors taking place during the residential real estate bubble in the United States from 2002 to 2006 and the influence of others’ choices on decision making leading to a herd mentality. The antecedents of collective fraud are discussed in terms of the sociological theory behind human herding and the fraudulent behaviors during the real estate bubble are examined. Using archival witness testimony as a primary basis for analysis, this paper argues that without widespread collective fraud, the bubble may not have developed and the herd mentality may have dissipated without the consequences of financial disaster. The aim of an analysis of this nature is to offer a plausible explanation of some of the preconditions to the event under study.
9. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 32 > Issue: 3/4
David Rönnegard, N. Craig Smith, Shareholders vs. Stakeholders: How Liberal and Libertarian Political Philosophy Frames the Basic Debate in Business Ethics
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The “basic debate” in business ethics between shareholder theory and stakeholder theory has underlined the field since its inception, with wide ranging normative, descriptive, and instrumental arguments offered on both sides. We maintain that insofar as this is primarily a normative debate, clarity can be brought by elucidating how it is framed by the political philosophies of liberalism and libertarianism.With liberalism represented by John Rawls’s theory of justice and libertarianism represented by the ideas of Milton Friedman and Robert Nozick, and (separately) Edward Freeman, the paper shows that both liberalism and libertarianism can be interpreted to justify shareholder and stakeholder theory respectively. The debate between shareholder theory and stakeholder theory is framed by liberal and libertarian justifications that hinge primarily on whether and to what extent one should have exogenous or endogenous safeguards on corporate behavior. Accordingly, political philosophy turns out to be highly relevant to both business ethics and corporate governance, not because the corporation resembles the state, but because of the potential safeguards placed on the corporation by the state.
10. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 32 > Issue: 3/4
Maretno A. Harjoto, Hoje Jo, Do Thinkers Lead Doers?: The Causal Relation between CSR and Reputation of Analysts and Brokerage Houses
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This study examines whether reputable analysts and brokerage houses as thinker-driven middlemen led corporations (doers) to engage in CSR by investigating the causal relation between CSR and analysts and brokerage houses’ reputations. While theory of information asymmetry predicts that corporations with higher level of CSR tend to attract more reputable analysts and brokerage houses such that they can disseminate valuable information to outside investors, the social pressure theory expects corporations, which receive coverage from more reputable analysts and brokerage houses, tend to have higher CSR. Our findings suggest that CSR activities per se do not attract experienced analysts and reputable brokerage houses. Instead, we find that corporations which are covered by more experienced analysts and reputable brokerage houses tend to increase their CSR activities, indirectly supporting the social pressure hypothesis based on thinker-led-doer model. In addition, we find that corporations tend to have higher CSR strengths, lower CSR concerns, and increased CSR components of diversity and product when they are covered by more reputable analysts and brokerage houses. We interpret these findings are supportive of the social pressure hypothesis, rather than the information asymmetry hypothesis.