Business ethics and values : individual, corporate and by C M Fisher; Alan Lovell

By C M Fisher; Alan Lovell

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I will make all those files that show corruption public. ’ The farcical elements are that the pot is calling the kettle black; that a government department has had files proving alleged corruption for ten years but has not taken any action; and that a politician has claimed the moral high ground by the unethical practice of revealing confidential official papers in an attempt to gain a political advantage over a rival. QXD 5/10/05 3:08 pm Page 8 8 Business ethics matters: what is it and why does it matter?

The perspective argued by writers such as Casson is that competition via market-based economies is the preferred economic system, but that reliance upon unadulterated economic rationality as the sole explanation of individual behaviour is both naïve and unhelpful. For the discipline of economics to retain relevance Casson argued that it must recognise behaviours that are explained by drives other than, or in addition to, economic rationality. These professional prejudices must be overcome if economics is to handle cultural factors successfully.

Employees represent an important interest/stakeholder group within the organisation, although economic considerations are not ignored. Type A. Managers come into direct contact with specific sectional interest groups, which should affect decision making. Type B. Individual managers are required to have internalised a societal ethic into their decision making. Pluralist (A and B) Empirical evidence indicates that the suppression of moral agency might be more than minor and isolated aberrations in an otherwise satisfactory state of organisational affairs.

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