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1. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 33 > Issue: 4
Erik G. Hansen, Dimitar Zvezdov, Dorli Harms, Gilbert Lenssen Editorial: Advancing Corporate Sustainability, CSR, and Business Ethics
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Environmental, social and ethical issues have become increasingly important for businesses due to changed customer expectations, more regulation and stakeholder pressure, amongst others. This led to the development of concepts such as sustainability management, corporate social responsibility (CSR), stakeholder management and business ethics. Though mostly developed in isolation, scholars have increasingly worked on their integration. This editorial sheds light on (missing) overlaps between these concepts. We find that sustainability management and CSR have become more integrated and are increasingly grounded in an “embedded view“ in which business and society is part of (and constrained by) the natural environment. In contrast, business ethics has not been integrated to the same extent, expect for the subfield of environmental ethics. After this general overview, we introduce the individual contributions to the special issue which are advancing the conceptual and empirical foundation of sustainability management, CSR, and business ethics.
2. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 33 > Issue: 4
Pepe Strathoff The VBA Model and Public Value: Filling the Value Gap
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The basic idea of the conceptual paper is to discuss the notion of value creation in the business and society field and to present the public value concept as a way of extending the understanding of business’s value creation for society. First, the paper draws on the value balance accountability (VBA) model by Schwartz and Carroll, in which value creation is identified as a central element in the business and society field. Second, based on this, we critically evaluate the VBA model’s value notion, which appears to be relatively vague and narrow. Third, in order to tackle these gaps, we present Meynhardt’s public value approach, which provides an extended notion of value creation. We further propose a combined public value-balance-accountability-framework. Public value fills the framework’s value dimension with actual content and provides a microfoundation. It helps to overcome the separation fallacy. The combined framework contributes to both theory and practice in the business and society field.
3. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 33 > Issue: 4
Igor Blumberg, Nick Lin-Hi Business Case-Driven Management of CSR: Does Managers' "Cherry Picking" Behavior Foster Irresponsible Business Practices?
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The business case for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a powerful driver for mainstreaming socially responsible behavior in corporate practice. This is because managers’ proclivity to assume responsibility is positively correlated with their expectations that CSR pays off. However, there is the danger that managers might be tempted to focus primarily on those CSR activities that allow to link the associated costs and benefits ex ante reliably which, in turn, is a precondition for a perceived business case. Unfortunately, the perceived business case for CSR activities that prevent irresponsible behavior (“avoiding bad”) is rather weak. In contrast, CSR in terms of the voluntary engagement for society (“doing good”) is quite promising for the perceived business case. In consequence, a business case–driven approach to CSR might foster “cherry picking” behavior, in the sense that managers might tend to reduce CSR to “doing good” and put less efforts on CSR in terms of “avoiding bad” which, in turn, increases the risk of irresponsible business practices.
4. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 33 > Issue: 4
Marina Vashchenko Organizational CSR Portfolio: Exploration and Evaluation
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The conceptualization of CSR has been steadily establishing and evolving, and even after decades of research there is still no consensus regarding CSR definition and scope. In a world of multiple definitions and approaches, every company needs to find its own way and “translate” vague idea of CSR into company-specific and context-related CSR program. Three large Danish companies with the substantial experience in CSR were chosen in order to investigate their set of CSR activities and initiatives—“organizational CSR portfolio.” Their CSR related reports were qualitatively evaluated according to the categories which were suggested for each pillar of CSR concept—environmental, social and economic. The paper performs longitudinal study of organizational CSR portfolios which contributes to a better understanding of priorities in CSR field for different types of organizations and reveals changes in corporate CSR policies of leading companies over the last five years.
5. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 33 > Issue: 4
Olga Dziubaniuk Trust in Online Marketing: Trustful Business Relationship Building by Search Engine Marketers
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Search engine marketing (SEM) industry provides modern on-line marketing services. This industry initially obtained a doubtful reputation in the sphere of e-commerce due to utilization of ethically questionable methods in the promotion or marketing their customers` web sites. This study considers the relationship building process and the trustfulness between the marketers and their business customers. Research aims are to explore how these virtual companies operate in unsteady-trust environment as the Internet market. The interviewed marketing-companies representatives have provided their perspectives on successful relationship maintenance including the impact of trust on the business performance. The results of the qualitative research illustrated that trust is a vital necessity for the stable business development. Investigation highlights that the trustful relationships depends on inter-personal communication and following the ethical principles of business management. Although digital business allows performing the activities on-line, interpersonal interaction remains the key element in the trustful relationship building.
6. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 33 > Issue: 4
Notes on Contributors
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7. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 33 > Issue: 4
Volume 33 (2014) Index
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8. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2/3
John Dobson, Eleanor Helms Heroic Business ‘Ethics’
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This paper applies Alain Badiou’s ethic-of-truths to the context of business ethics. Business ethics is redefined as self-regarding, aspirational, and internal to a given firm. Firms are defined as sites. The event is a radical innovation experienced by a given firm. Ethics emerges as the challenge of fidelity to the truths engendered by the event.
9. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2/3
Katherina Glac, Dawn R. Elm, Kirsten Martin Areas of Privacy in Facebook: Expectations and Value
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Privacy issues surrounding the use of social media sites have been apparent over the past ten years. Use of such sites, particularly Facebook, has been increasing and recently business organizations have begun using Facebook as a means of connecting with potential customers or clients. This paper presents an empirical study of perceived privacy violations to examine factors that influence the expectations of privacy on Facebook. Results of the study suggest that the more important Facebook is to users, the more likely they are to perceive privacy violations and the more likely those violations are to be considered serious. Furthermore, how information is used is more important than the way this information is accessed.
10. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2/3
Steve Williams Do Corporations Go to Heaven When they Die?: Remarks from the Vincentian Business Ethics Conference, Corporate Plenary Session November 2013
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This paper consists of the text of a key-note address to the Vincentian Business Ethics Conference in Chicago in 2013. The content is substantially as delivered; some few ad hoc comments have been removed to preserve consistency of meaning in a printed text. The speech is presented by a senior executive of a number of FTSE listed firms. It offers his insights into the 2007 / 8 financial crisis and some retrospective interpretations of both ‘what’ happened and ‘how’ this changed things. These insights, and some clear criticisms, are complemented with his suggestions for a way to reconstruct business in society less unsustainably.
11. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2/3
David Bevan Debates and Reasoning in Business and Professional Ethics: An Appreciation of Steve Williams
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I am grateful to the Editors of for the opportunity to respond to the address given by Steve Williams at the Vincentian Conference of 2013, and published in the preceding pages. Mr. Williams takes the 2008 crisis of Western capitalism as his focus and offers at least two distinct narratives: in the first of these he outlines his experience of an extensive and complex professional, commercial world in . In a more extensive, second theme he offers some constructive suggestions as a means to recovering from this cataclysm and moving away those characteristics which he identifies as somehow causal. I will interpretively retrace Mr. Williams’s insights of the recent financial crisis. I will also comment on the challenges he outlines towards a resolution of this crisis. I draw on selected business and professional ethics positions, along with my personal experience of management practice and the pedagogy of business ethics in Western Management Schools. I delimit this appreciation of market capitalism as the systemic dominant social paradigm, the status quo.
special topic forum: business in extreme operating environments
12. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2/3
Christopher Michaelson, Virginia Gerde How to Live Without Certainty, Without Being Paralyzed by Hesitation: An Introduction to the Special Topic Forum on Extreme Operating Environments
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According to Bertrand Russell, philosophy should “teach how to live without certainty, and yet without being paralyzed by hesitation.” Recent natural and human-made disasters have confronted business leaders to act decisively without certainty in circumstances with profound implications for ethical well-being. This article introduces a Special Topic Forum on Extreme Operating Environments, defined as times of great uncertainty and/or crisis which challenge human capabilities, organizational operations, and social institutions.
13. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2/3
Manisha Singal, Richard E. Wokutch, Yaniv Poria, Michelle C. Hong Ethical Decision-making in Extreme Operating Environments: Kew Garden Principles and Strategic CSR in Three Service Industry Cases
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The business landscape today is characterized by looming global challenges like natural disasters, war, and industrial accidents throughout the world. However, there is limited research on describing how businesses operate and cope in extreme environments and whether principles of ethical decision-making can be used as guidelines in such situations. To address this gap we describe and analyze organizational and business responses to three different extreme environments, namely the fall 2012 Gaza conflict, Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and the so-called triple disasters (earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown) in Japan on March 11, 2011. We discuss moral issues surrounding helping one another with specific reference to criteria called the Kew Garden Principles (KGPs) and strategic corporate social responsibility (Strategic CSR). We conclude the paper with managerial and leadership implications for ethical decision-making in extreme situations.
14. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2/3
Suzanne Kathleen McCoskey The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company and Liberia’s Civil War: Evaluating Firestone’s Intent to Operate During Chaos
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In this paper the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company’s decision to continue rubber production during Liberia’s chaotic civil war is critically discussed. Evaluating whether this decision, in intent or execution, violated ethical norms for MNEs operating internationally is complicated by the fact that such norms seem not to exist. If as Windsor (2004) suggests such norms are only likely to be established through an evolutionary path then it should be asked whether Firestone’s experiences, and discussion thereof, have informed the development of norms in any meaningful way. It is argued here that conflicting conclusions about the meaning and morality of Firestone’s decisions have meant that the case study has contributed little in the way of meaningful norms for future decisions made by MNEs in conflict zones. Further it is argued that the underlying chaos of broad, violent conflict may make consensus around specific norms—and progress along the path to the development of norms—more laborious and fraught with difficulty than other policy arenas such as labor and environmental standards.
15. Business and Professional Ethics Journal: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2/3
Notes on Contributors
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16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. 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.