Micro Business Ethics

Micro Business Ethics

One of the subjects dealt with in my blogging is free market fundamentalism, a subject intertwined with Neo-Liberalism. What does this have to do with business ethics? These philosophies have real impacts on policy across the glove. They are often used to determine economic decisions for entire nations and corporations. If we as business ethics teachers stay away from the big questions because it is less controversial and easier to deal with the small, what kind of people are we?

Micro Business Ethics
Micro Business Ethics

It seems to me obvious that these philosophies are embedded in business interests across the globe. They are spread and encouraged by well financed think tanks, lobbyists and political contributions. This belief system practices wage discipline, privatization, the destruction of public services and the replacement of democratic institutions by business “experts.” Considering these facts, business philosophy should and must be an area of concern for business ethics. When a school board is superseded to allow an appointed body to defund public schools and create a parallel charter school system, democracy has been thwarted. When once well paid workers are reduced to food stamps and penury, we should discuss whether the power of business is being used for good or evil.

Much of the writing of traditional business ethics concerns the individual confronted with intellectual dilemma. I call this Micro Business Ethics. I’ve read textbooks where the focus was heavily aimed at this part of the field. For instance, each chapter opened up with an ethical question for an employee in business or corporation. More commonly, textbooks have sections dealing with individual ethics, organizational ethics and business philosophy, although I have one almost totally devoted to larger business philosophy and questions of ethics both national and international.

And all of these textbooks are labeled “Business Ethics.”

Why don’t we borrow from the field of economics? According to Wikipedia microeconomics “studies the behavior of individuals and small impacting organizations in making decisions.” That sounds like a good definition of Micro Business Ethics. How about adding a macro for the larger problems?

I would define macro-economics as dealing with organizations larger than “close” corporations or sole proprietorships such as national and multi-national corporations up to international organization like the International Monetary Fund and including nation states like Greece. But instead of dividing the field of business ethics into two parts, I can’t help be feel that doctrine and philosophy need their own area of concentration which I would call simple business philosophy.

That’s how I think the field should be divided.

James Pilant

Moral Worth and Inclinations in Kantian Ethics (via manwithoutqualities)

Few understand the importance of Kant in business ethics. I appreciate any enlightenment offered.

By the way, this is a beautiful web site. There is also a strong implication of heavy intellectual lifting going on, so be ready for a challenge.

James Pilant

Moral Worth and Inclinations in Kantian Ethics Check out my chum and occasional collaborator Chris Onof’s paper Moral Worth and Inclinations in Kantian Ethics just published at Kant Studies Online. There are few philosophers around today that write with such exacting precision, such intimacy with their topic and with such philosophical breadth that Chris Onof does. … Read More

via manwithoutqualities

The Islamic Workplace

The religion of Islam has a strong and well developed system of business ethics.

From An Islamic Approach to Business Ethics

Ethics in Islam

Islam places the highest emphasis on ethical values in all aspects of human life. In Islam, ethics governs all aspects of life. Ethical norms and moral codes discernable from the verses of the Holy Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet (sws) are numerous, far reaching and comprehensive. Islamic teachings strongly stress the observance of ethical and moral code in human behaviour. Moral principles and codes of ethics are repeatedly stressed throughout the Holy Qur’an. Besides, there are numerous teachings of the Prophet (sws) which cover the area of moral and ethical values and principles. Says the Holy Qur’an:

You are the best nation that has been raised up for mankind; You enjoin right conduct, forbid evil and believe in Allah. (3:110)

The Prophet (sws) also says:

I have been sent for the purpose of perfecting good morals. (Ibn Hambal[1], No: 8595)

This goes without saying that there is a general consensus among human beings about certain fundamental ethical values. However, the Islamic ethical system substantially differs from the so-called secular ethical systems as well as from the moral code advocated by other religions and societies. In the Islamic scheme of things, adherence to moral code and ethical behaviour is a part of I%man (faith) itself. According to the Islamic teachings, Muslims have to jealously guard their behaviour, deeds, words, thoughts, feelings and intentions. Islam asks its believers to observe certain norms and moral codes in their family affairs; in dealings with relatives, with neighbours and friends; in their business transactions; in their social affairs, nay in all spheres of private and public life.

The You Tube site, TheIslamicWorkplace (all one word), has a number of brief lectures on the subject. You should watch if only for the parables used in the teaching.