Ethics and Economic Affairs

Ethics and Economic Affairs

Ethics and Economic Affairs

Ethics and Economic Affairs

Synopsis

There has been a remarkable growth of interest in the ethical dimension of economic affairs. Whilst the interest in business ethics has been long-standing, it has been given renewed emphasis by high profile scandals in the world of business and finance. At the same time many economists, dissatisfied with the discipline's emphasis on self-interest and individualism, and by the asocial nature of much economic theory, have sought to enlarge the scope of economics by looking at ethical questions.
In this volume a group of interdisciplinary scholars provide contributions which include evaluations of work in business ethics, empirical studies of such issues as social and ethical investing, the place of ethics in the new economics and perspectives from other disciplines.

Excerpt

Philip Stone’s chapter refers to South Africa before the May 1994 election.

The book is organized in four parts, namely ‘ Business Ethics and Management ’; ‘ Case, Questionnaire and Experimental Studies ’; ‘ a New Economics? ’ and finally ‘ Interdisciplinary Perspectives ’. Most of the papers first saw the light of day in earlier versions presented at the joint International Association of Researchers in Economic Psychology (IAREP) and the Society for the Advancement of Socio-economics (SASE) conference at the Stockholm School of Economics in June 1991.

part I: business ethics and management

The first part is of particular interest to students, researchers and teachers of business administration and management. the questions posed are also relevant to practising managers faced with ethical dilemmas and decisions. Philip Stone starts the ball rolling in ‘Exit or Voice? Lessons from Companies in South Africa’. Using Hirschman’s tripartite litany Stone enquires what multinational companies should have done in South Africa. Should they have ceased trading in South Africa: ‘exited?’ Should they have ‘voiced’ their disapproval? Or continued their ‘loyalty’ to the company and hoped things would improve? Lynne Rosansky deals with similar issues in her contribution ‘Moral and Ethical Dimensions of Managing a Multinational Business’. Should multinationals adapt themselves to the culture they are dealing with or impose their own? When is a bribe not a bribe? Gifts after all may be a cultural expectation. At the extremes it is a choice between moral relativism and moral imperialism. Richard Guerrette in his paper ‘Management by Ethics: a New Paradigm and Model for Corporate Ethics’ provides some specific advice for managers. How, Guerrette asks, can a ‘corporate conscience’ be brought about? Guerrette’s answer relies heavily on social and developmental psychology, especially the insights of Lawrence Kohlberg. the next paper by Claes Gustafsson entitled ‘Moralization as a Link between Idealism and Naturalism in the Ethical Discourse’ adds a more philosophical flavour to the continuing study of business ethics and moral development. One of the most interesting questions is, are business managers less

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