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41. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 3
Richard P. Nielsen Business Citizenship and United States “Investor Capitalism”: A Critical Analysis
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There are several different types of capitalist political-economies and business organizations. Consequently, the implications for business citizenship behaviors are also quite different. In the older “large family owned business” and “managerial capitalism” forms there are important structural opportunities for a social contract and balancing of the needs of various stakeholder groups. In the “investor capitalist” form which emerged in the 1980s and has come to dominate the U.S. political-economic system, there is a dominant priority toward optimization of the shareholder wealth criterion which makes it very difficult for such business organizations to engage in authentic citizenship behaviors.
42. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 3
S. Venkataraman Stakeholder Value Equilibration and the Entrepreneurial Process
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This lecture explores the possibility of a useful dialogue between the fields of entrepreneurship and business ethics for mutual benefit. Although these two fields have much to offer each other, they have developed largely independently of each other. The lecture argues that entrepreneurship has a role to play in stakeholder theory and, relatedly, that stakeholder theory enriches our understanding of the entrepreneurial process. The lecture introduces the idea that a firm is an equilibrating mechanism, and then asks two questions, namely, “What are the properties of a fair and efficient equilibrating mechanism?” and “What alternative mechanisms would render the firm an effective reconciler of competing claims?” The lecture interprets the stakeholder literature to offer three alternative mechanisms to ensure a fair and efficient equilibrating system. The first mechanism is embodied in a person (the moral manager), the second is embodied in a process (the bargaining process), and the third is embodied in an external (to the firm) institution (the visible hand of law and government). To these three, the lecture adds a fourth mechanism from an entrepreneurship perspective, and explores the implications of this perspective to the stakeholder literature.
43. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 3
Robbin Derry Seeking A Balance: A Critical Perspective On Entrepreneurship and the Good Society
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Growth in entrepreneurial activity has been associated with the establishment of new markets, the development of new products, and increases in national and international income disparity. Before embracing all market activity as good and beneficial, we should carefully consider the environmental and social impacts that have followed the adoption of social values, which confer status with increased ownership and consumption. These impacts include severely entrenched poverty, increased consumption of disposable products leading to increased solid waste, increased consumption of nonrenewable resources, and high rates of personal bankruptcy. To counteract these trends, a balance of ecologizing and economizing drives is required within entrepreneurial activity.
44. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 3
Saras D. Sarasvathy Entrepreneurship As Economics With Imagination
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To date, economics has failed to develop a useful theory of entrepreneurship because of its inability to break out of the static equilibrium framework and the modeling of success/failure as a 0-1 variable. Entrepreneurship research also has not achieved this task due to its preoccupation with the quest for “the successful entrepreneur” and/or the successful firm. This essay calls for a new vocabulary for entrepreneurship, consisting of (1) a plural notion of the entrepreneurial process as a stream of successes and failures, wherein failure management becomes the key science of entrepreneurship; (2) an effectual notion of bringing together particular entrepreneurs and particular environments through creative action; and (3) a contingent notion of aspirations that places imagination at the center stage of economics. Together, the new vocabulary allows us to ask new questions and develop new approaches that allow entrepreneurship to tackle the central task of imagination in economics, i.e., to create from the society we have to live in, the society we want to live in.
45. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 3
Sandra Waddock Comments On “Stakeholder Value Equilibration and the Entrepreneurial Process,” by S. Venkataraman
46. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 3
Dean A. Shepherd, Moren Lévesque Stakeholder Value Equilibration, Disequilibration, and the Entrepreneurial Process
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While discovery of error provides personal gain for the entrepreneur, does this process automatically allocate value equitably among all stakeholders? We argue that the entrepreneurial process can be used to generate or maintain an entrepreneur’s personal wealth through the exploitation of a stakeholder group. Thus entrepreneurship can be both an equilibrating and a disequilibrating process and that both the visible hand of government and the decisions of an entrepreneur can speed or slow our movement toward value equilibrium. Speed toward value equilibrium is likely to be important to a victimized stakeholder group and deserves further scholarly attention.
47. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 3
Steven C. Michael Time To Discovery: The Role of Time In the Entrepreneurial Discovery Process
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Venkataraman’s essay in this volume argues that the “fourth” force of control of the modern corporation, the entrepreneurial discovery process, can limit the ability of firms to exploit stakeholders. In this essay I explicitly examine the role of time in the entrepreneurial discovery process. First, the role of time in the individual stakeholder’s decisions is examined. Second, at an organizational level, I examine some historical evidence in order to empirically consider how swiftly the discovery process may work. Implications for both theory and empirical testing are discussed.
48. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 3
George G. Brenkert Entrepreneurship, Ethics, and the Good Society
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This paper considers some of the crucial conceptual and ethical aspects of entrepreneurship. First, I discuss some of the well-known difficulties of identifying what is “entrepreneurship.” I then propose a notion of entrepreneurship that may usefully serve as the focus of studies of the ethics of entrepreneurship.Second, though ethical questions regarding entrepreneurship occur at the micro, meso and macro levels, this paper focuses on the macro-ethical aspects of entrepreneurship. Three main clusters of ethical problems regarding entrepreneurship arise at this level. They have to do with the decentralization, extension and intensification of the economy with which entrepreneurship has been linked. Each of these characteristics is connected with important ethical and value implications for the good society.The aim of this paper is to consider entrepreneurship from a broad perspective, while focusing on (potential) difficulties entrepreneurship raises, rather than the beneficial sides of entrepreneurship. As such, the paper does not seek to provide a complete ethical theory of entrepreneurship, so much as to provide a framework within which further examinations of various ethical and value issues of entrepreneurship might be carried out.
49. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 3
Jeffrey S. Harrison A Stakeholder Perspective of Entrepreneurial Activity: Beyond Normative Theory
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Venkataraman (2000) described entrepreneurship as a method for resolving stakeholder value anomalies. His description provides strong normative support for encouraging entrepreneurship in society on the basis of reducing inequities and promoting social harmony. However, a stakeholder perspective of entrepreneurship also has the potential to provide a flexible and comprehensive description of the entrepreneurial process through its various stages. In addition, a stakeholder perspective, combined with resource-based theory, can help researchers in identifying factors that lead to entrepreneurial success or failure. Specifically, stakeholder configurations created by entrepreneurs, because they are complex social systems, will be hard for competitors to imitate. If particular configurations are useful and enhance performance, they can lead to sustainable competitive advantages for the organizations these entrepreneurs create.
50. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 3
S. Ramakrishna Velamuri Entrepreneurship, Altruism, and the Good Society
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What is the difference between entrepreneurship and altruism? This paper argues that the two differ only in degree, not in kind. Entrepreneurship, in its most generic form, is an expression of freedom in the economic realm and is therefore as deserving of zealous protection as is free speech. Furthermore, entrepreneurial success is as much the result of contingency as it is of design, and entrepreneurial failures vastly outnumber successes; these two issues point to the fairness of the entrepreneurial process.
51. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 3
Daniel R. Gilbert, Jr. Ethics, Management, and the Existentialist Entrepreneur
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Entrepreneurship and management are commonly treated as members of the same family of concepts. In the wake of a recent reinterpretation of entrepreneurship as an existential phenomenon, there is no longer reason to take for granted the kinship between entrepreneurship and management. Indeed, it is possible to interpret entrepreneurship and management as antitheses on one compelling ethical criterion: voluntary exercise of the word “no” about one’s own projects. The implications of this ethical split between entrepreneurship and management reach from management education to entrepreneurship research to the distinctiveness of the field of business ethics.
52. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 3
Donna J. Wood, Jeanne M. Logsdon Business Citizenship: From Individuals To Organizations
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The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is being supplanted by a new term—corporate citizenship (CC). For many reasons, it’s not a bad idea to replace the CSR term. But the core content of CSR is also gradually being replaced in a significant portion of the literature by a narrower, voluntaristic concept of corporate community service. This is not a viable replacement for the broad ethics-based and problem-solving norms of social reciprocity that are represented by CSR. A more legitimate successor-term is needed so that corporate community relations and philanthropy take their rightful place among the larger set of rights, duties, stakeholder relationships, and opportunities accruing to business organizations.Therefore, we develop a working theory of business citizenship (BC), a more palatable term, and a concept designed to capture the core moral and social content of CSR. In this article we extract and synthesize several key ideas about individual citizenship that have evolved over several thousand years. We then transpose these ideas from the level of individual members of a polity to the level of organizations within society. In a companion article, we extend the business citizenship concept from its single-polity boundaries to the institutional and global levels of analysis. This approach allows a view of business citizenship that accommodates strong moral guidance, structural and institutional realities, and the flexibility necessary to respond to the structures and dynamics of particular company-stakeholder relationships.
53. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 3
Ronald K. Mitchell Entrepreneurship and Stakeholder Theory: Comment On Ruffin Lecture #2—Delivered by Professor S. Venkataraman
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In his Ruffin Lecture on stakeholder value and the entrepreneurial process, Professor S. Venkataraman asserted that two processes: value creation, and value sharing, are common ground for both the field of business ethics and the field of entrepreneurship (Venkataraman, 1999). In this article I further explore the connections between entrepreneurship and stakeholder theory raised in the Lecture, as they relate to both the production and the distribution of wealth in society. Through the application of transaction cognition theory, which suggests that a type of stakeholder-centered expert transacting script can integrate entrepreneurship and stakeholder theory through concepts from its sub-specialty, expert information processing theory, I employ a cognitive theory lens to suggest a set of integrating ideas and implications that attempt to complement and expand on Professor Venkataraman’s thesis. Implications for research and education conclude the article.
54. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 4
Notes On Contributors
55. 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.
56. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 4
Ronald K. Mitchell Evolutionary Biology Research, Entrepreneurship, and the Morality of Security-Seeking Behavior in an Imperfect Economy
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This article investigates whether there is an underlying morality in the ways that human beings seek to obtain economic security within our imperfect economy, which can be illuminated through evolutionary biology research. Two research questions are the focus of the analysis: (1) What is the transaction cognitive machinery that is specialized for the entrepreneurial task of exchange-based security-seeking? and, (2) What are the moral implications of the acquisition and use of such transaction cognitions?Evolutionary biology research suggests within concepts that are more Darwin- v. Huxley-based, an underlying morality supportive of algorithm-governed economizing arising from the behaviors that are most worthy of long-term reproduction. Evolutionarily stable algorithm-enhanced security-seeking is argued to be a new view of entrepreneurship, but one that, somewhat ironically, is grounded in a primordially-based entrepreneurial morality that is at the core of economic security.
57. 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.
58. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 4
Tara J. Radin To Propagate and to Prosper: A Naturalistic Foundation for Stakeholder Theory
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This article examines the contribution of nature and the sciences toward a deeper understanding of business. Integrating these disciplines with stakeholder theory opens up new avenues for thinking about business that will potentially offer greater success in addressing the disconnect between moral discretion and the behavior of businesspeople. The specific focus is on integration of modern Darwinism (evolutionary psychology) and business theory. According to modern Darwinism, there are insufficient resources for all genes to reproduce. Natural selection occurs as genes compete to reproduce and those best suited for survival are able to reproduce. During the struggle, human beings are motivated by impulses intended to further reproduction, which lead them into many fruitful endeavors—such as participation in corporations. As genes strive to be passed on to the next generation, a consequence is their contribution to productivity and prosperity. By developing insight into the evolutionary process, we can create mechanisms that help us to manage human behavior in order to promote moral behavior. Connecting people with their natural selves provides for a more robust understanding of business.
59. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 4
Edwin M. Hartman De Rerum Natura
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Aristotelian naturalism is a good vantage point from which to consider the moral implications of evolution. Sociobiologists err in arguing that evolution is the basis for morality: not all or only moral features and institutions are selected for. Nor does the longevity of an institution argue for its moral status. On the other hand, facts about human capacities can have implications concerning human obligations, as Aristotle suggests. Aristotle’s eudaimonistic approach to ethics suggests that the notion of interests is far subtler than many have realized, and leaves open the possibility that cooperativeness may be adaptive, virtuous, and a good thing for the agent. Lawrence and Nohria argue along remarkably similar lines, and they provide evidence against those who would question the existence of character. But promising as the Aristotelian approach is, it seems to give an inadequate account of our moral responsibility to those who are not members of our community.
60. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics: Volume > 4
Robert A. Phillips Brief Remarks on the Evolutionary Method
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There are explicit claims to Darwinian thinking in numerous fields of study. A common temptation associated with this method across disciplines is to call some attributes “natural” and others “cultural” in origin. But this distinction can be dangerous—particularly when applied to ethics. When employing the Darwinian method, ideas should be evaluated in the same way whether the characteristics are described as natural or as cultural. We should ascertain the moral usefulness of a trait irrespective of its genetic basis or lack thereof. The nature/culture distinction is irrelevant to ethics. If Darwinian thinking connotes or implies an important difference, it is a dangerous idea to moral theory. I don’t believe the method denotes such a distinction, and in fact helps ethicists ask and answer many interesting questions that would not have arisen without it. But great care should be taken.