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1. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 4
R. Edward Freeman, Patricia H. Werhane, Introduction
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section i: the ruffin lectures
2. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 4
Jessica C. Flack, Frans B. M. de Waal, Monkey Business and Business Ethics: Evolution Origins of Human Morality
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To what degree has biology influenced and shaped the development of moral systems? One way to determine the extent to which human moral systems might be the product of natural selection is to explore behaviour in other species that is analogous and perhaps homologous to our own. Many non-human primates, for example, have similar methods to humans for resolving, managing, and preventing conflicts of interests within their groups. Such methods, which include reciprocity and food sharing, reconciliation, consolation, conflict intervention, and mediation, are the very building blocks of moral systems in that they are based on and facilitate cohesion among individuals and reflect a concerted effort by community members to find shared solutions to social conflict. Furthermore, these methods of resource distribution and conflict resolution often require or make use of capacities for empathy, sympathy, and sometimes even community concern. Non-human primates in societies in which such mechanisms are present may not be exactly moral beings, but they do show signs of a sense of social regularity that—just like the norms and rules underlying human moral conduct—promotes a mutually satisfactory modus vivendi.
3. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 4
Joshua D. Margolis, Responsibility, Inconsistency, and the Paradoxes of Morality in Human Nature De Waal's Window into Business Ethics
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Efforts to trace the evolutionary antecedents of human morality introduce challenges and opportunities for business ethics. The biological precedents of responsibility suggest that human tendencies to respond morally are deeply rooted. This does not mean, however, that those tendencies are always consistent with ends human beings seek to pursue. This paper investigates the conflicts that may arise between human beings’ moral predispositions and the purposes human beings pursue.
4. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 4
Robert C. Solomon, Sympathy as a “Natural”
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In this essay, I want to reconsider sympathy as a “natural” emotion or sentiment. Adam Smith famously defended it as such (as did his friend David Hume) but both used the term ambiguously and in a different sense than we use it today. Nevertheless, it seems to me that Smith got it quite right, that the basis of morality and justice is to be found in the realm of affect rather than in theory and principles alone, and that sympathy is a “natural” or should we say a “basic” emotion. But that means that morality may not be an exclusively human characteristic, as many philosophers (including Smith and Hume) have assumed. But some contemporary thinking in psychology and philosophy makes that extension plausible.
5. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 4
Paul R. Lawrence, The Biological Base of Morality?
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The study of human morality has historically been carried out primarily by philosophers and theologians. Now this broad topic is also being studied systematically by evolutionary biologists and various behavioral and social sciences. Based upon a review of this work, this paper will propose a unified explanation of human morality as an innate feature of human minds. The theory argues that morality is an innate skill that developed as a means to fulfill the human drive to bond with others in mutual caring. This explanation has also been reported as part of a broader theory on the role of human nature in the shaping of human choices (Driven, Lawrence and Nohria).
6. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 4
Timothy L. Fort, A Deal, a Dolphin, and a Rock: Biological Contributions to Business Ethics
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In this response to Paul Lawrence’s Ruffin Lecture, I assess the benefits of integrating biology into business ethics including the way in which biology counteracts conventional economic descriptions of human nature. Section II looks at the dangers of the project and offers the notion of Multilevel Selection Theory as a way to address the notion of how one balances various biological drives. Section III concludes by suggesting that in order to optimally integrate biology, one should attend to contractual notions (the deal) as well as a Sisyphean quest to engage in the task of integration. In doing so, we should also remember to draw upon the dolphin in each of us, that part that takes pleasure in doing moral acts.
7. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 4
Leda Cosmides, John Tooby, Knowing Thyself: The Evolutionary Psychology of Moral Reasoning and Moral Sentiments
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“Ought” cannot be derived from “is,” so why should facts about human nature be of interest to business ethicists? In this article, we discuss why the nature of human nature is relevant to anyone wishing to create a more just and humane workplace and society. We begin by presenting evolutionary psychology as a research framework, and then present three examples of research that illuminate various evolved cognitive programs. The first involves the cognitive foundations of trade, including a neurocognitive mechanism specialized for a form of moral reasoning: cheater detection. The second involves the moral sentiments triggered by participating in collective actions, which are relevant to organizational behavior. The third involves the evolved programs whereby our minds socially construct groups, and how these can be harnessed to reduce racism and foster true diversity in the workplace. In each case, we discuss how what has been learned about these evolved programs might inform the study and practice of business ethics.
8. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 4
David M. Messick, Human Nature and Business Ethics
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While there seems to be little controversy about whether there is a biological or evolutionary basis for human morality, in business and other endeavors, there is considerable controversy about the nature of this basis and the proper populations in which to study this foundation. Moreover, I suggest, the most fundamental element of this basis may be the tendency of humans and other species to experience the world in evaluative terms.
9. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 4
Saras D. Sarasvathy, Founding Moral Reasoning on Evolutionary Psychology: A Critique and an Alternative
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In this paper I develop a critique of the strong adaptationist view inherent in the work of Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, as presentedat the Ruffin Lectures series in 2002. My critique proceeds in two stages. In the first stage, I advance arguments as to why I find the particular adaptation story that the authors advance for their experimental results unpersuasive even when I fully accept the value of their experimental results. In the second stage, I grant them their adaptation story and critique the implications of such stories forbusiness ethics and for future research. In sum, I argue against recasting key problems in the social sciences to fit the use of toolsdeveloped in the so-called “hard” sciences. Instead, I urge that we deal with these problems on their own terms, i.e. through their basisin and dependence on deliberate social action.
10. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 4
William C. Frederick, The Evolutionary Firm and Its Moral (Dis)Contents
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The business firm, called here the Evolutionary Firm, is shown to be a phenomenon of nature. The firm’s motives, organization, productivity, strategy, and moral significance are a direct outgrowth of natural evolution. Its managers, directors, and employees are natural agents enacting and responding to biological, physical, and ecological impulses inherited over evolutionary time from ancient human ancestors. The Evolutionary Firm’s moral posture is a function of its economizing success, competitive drive, quest for market dominance, social contracting skills, and the neural algorithms found in the minds of its executives and directing managers. Behavioral, organizational, and societal contradictions arise from the normal expression of these nature-based executive impulses, so that the business corporation cannot simultaneously satisfy society’s moral expectations and perform its nature-dictated economic functions.