v2n3: Koehn on Dierksmeier’s Kantian Virtue Ethics

“Kantian Virtue Ethics in the Context of Business: How Practically Useful Can It Be?” by Daryl Koehn

A COMMENT ON Claus Dierksmeier (2013), “Kant On Virtue,” J Bus Ethics 113: 597–609.
Abstract: Claus Dierksmeier admirably combats the misperception that Kant is a deontologist with no regard for virtue. Dierksmeier contends Kant offers a theory of virtue that can contribute in significant ways to advancing the analysis of, e.g., stakeholder theory and internal compliance programs. His plea that business ethicists should view Kant as a resource for thinking more widely and deeply about virtue seems eminently sensible. However, there are grounds for questioning whether a Kantian approach will be of much help in thinking through the ethics of real world business practices.

To download the full PDF, click here: Koehn on Dierksmeier.

v2n2: Sinnicks on Beabout

“Mastery of One’s Domain Is Not the Essence of Management” by Matthew Sinnicks

A COMMENT ON Gregory Beabout (2012), “Management as a Domain-Relative Practice that Requires and Develops Practical Wisdom,” Bus Ethics Q 22(2): 405–432

Abstract: I attempt to cast doubt on Beabout’s attempt to build on MacIntyre’s ethical theory by accounting for management as a ‘domain-relative’ practice for three reasons: i) we can partially engage in practices, so if management can be accounted a practice there is no need to invoke domain-relativity; ii) management does not seem to be domain-relative in the same way that other examples of domain-relative practices might be; and iii) practical wisdom, which Beabout sees as key to management as a domain-relative practice, is adequately covered by MacIntyre’s account of politics.

To download the full PDF, click here: Sinnicks on Beabout.

v2n1: Cohen Responds to Ohreen on Empathy in Business Ethics Education

“Empathy in Business Ethics Education Redux,” by Marc A. Cohen

A RESPONSE TO David Ohreen (2013), “The Limits of Empathy in Business Ethics Education”Bus Ethics J Rev 1(18): 113–119.

Abstract: My original paper (Cohen 2012) argued that business ethics education should focus on cultivating empathetic concern. This response clarifies terminology used in that paper and responds to criticisms presented by David Ohreen (2013).

To download the full PDF, click here: Cohen Responds to Ohreen.

v1n18: Ohreen on Cohen

“The Limits of Empathy in Business Ethics Education” by David Ohreen

A COMMENT ON Marc A. Cohen (2012), “Empathy in Business Ethics Education,” J Bus Ethics Educ 9(1): 359–376, http://dx.doi.org/10.5840/jbee2012918

Abstract: This paper challenges Cohen’s application of empathy to business ethics education. I argue Cohen fails to adequately address the problems of empathetic penetrability and accuracy in regards to reading other’s minds. Given these problems, I conclude empathy may be less important as an antecedent to moral action than Cohen suggests.

To download the full PDF, click here: Ohreen on Cohen.

BEJR Now in Philosopher’s Index

Good news! We just got confirmation that the Business Ethics Journal Review is now going to be indexed in the Philosopher’s Index, alongside top journals like Business Ethics Quarterly and Journal of Business Ethics. We will be added to their list of ‘regularly indexed’ journals and our listing there will be continuously updated as new Commentaries and Responses are published.

Philosophers will know that the Philosopher’s Index is the canonical listing of publications in philosophy. Over the last five decades or so, the Philosopher’s Index has amassed over “525,000 journal article and book citations covering over 1500 journals from 139 countries in 37 languages.”

Of course, BEJR is not just for philosophers — we welcome submissions from management scholars, economics, legal scholars, and political scientists, just for starters. But this listing marks an important milestone in the growing recognition of BEJR as a credible venue for scholarly publication in the world of business ethics.

v1n17: Beschorner on Porter & Kramer on Creating Shared Value

“Creating Shared Value: The One-Trick Pony Approach” by Thomas Beschorner

A COMMENT ON Michael Porter and Mark Kramer (2011), “Creating Shared Value,” Harv Bus Rev 89(1/2): 62–77.

Abstract: Although Michael Porter’s and Marc Kramer’s article “Creating Shared Value” is a welcome attempt to mainstream business ethics among management practitioners, it is neither so radical nor such a departure from standard management thinking as the authors make it seem. Porter’s and Kramer’s criticism and rejection of corporate social responsibility depends upon a straw man conception of CSR and their ultimate reliance on economic arguments is too normatively thin to do the important work of reconnecting businesses with society. For these reasons, prospects for a genuine reinvention of capitalism lie elsewhere.

To download the full PDF, click here: Beschorner on Porter and Kramer.

v1v16: Van der Ven on Thauer on CSR

“Bringing Values Back into CSR” by Hamish van der Ven

A COMMENT ON Christian R. Thauer (2013), “Goodness Comes from Within: Intra-Organizational Dynamics of Corporate Social Responsibility” Bus & Soc OnlineFirst (April): 1–34.

Abstract: Why do companies pursue CSR? I concur with Christian Thauer that intra-organizational dynamics are important, but find his focus on managerial dilemmas unconvincing. I counter by suggesting that a renewed focus on managerial values can help explain CSR when external conditions are held constant.

To download the full PDF for free, click here: Van der Ven on Thauer.

BEQ’s Best Article, 2012: Wettstein on Human Rights & CSR

The Editors of BEJR would like to congratulate Florian Wettstein on having won Business Ethics Quarterly’s “Best Article” award for 2012. (The award was handed out this weekend at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Business Ethics.)

Here is Jeffery Smith’s commentary on Florian’s paper, as published in BEJR: “Corporate Human Rights Obligations: Moral or Political?”

Abstract: This discussion reviews Florian Wettstein’s conclusion that multinational corporations should assume greater “positive” obligations to protect against and remedy violations of human rights. It thereafter suggests an alternative to his defense that remains open to his conclusion, but sketches a moral, rather than political, grounding of those obligations. [Full PDF here.]

And finally, here is Florian’s response to Jeffery, also published in BEJR: “Morality Meet Politics, Politics Meet Morality: Exploring the Political in Political Responsibility”

Abstract: This brief response to Smith focuses on his distinction between moral and political responsibility in general and how it relates to human rights in particular. I argue that the notion of political responsibility as it is used in the debate on political CSR often does not exclude morality but is based on it. [Full PDF here.]

v1n15: Buckley on Marcoux

“On the Essential Nature of Business” by Michael Buckley

A COMMENT ON Alexei M. Marcoux (2009), “Retrieving Business Ethics from Political Philosophy,” J Priv Ent 24(2): 21–33

Abstract: Alexei Marcoux has argued that business ethics should focus less on organizational form and more on business practice. He suggests that a definition of ‘business’ as “a(n intentionally) self-sustaining, transaction-seeking and transaction-executing practice” can help facilitate this shift by attuning researchers to the essential activity of business. I argue that this definition has troubling implications for a practice-based approach to business ethics, and that anyone advocating such an approach would be better served by treating ‘business’ as a cluster concept.

To download the full PDF, click here: Buckley on Marcoux.

v1n14: Hussain Responds to Singer on Profit Maximization

“Tools and Marriages,” by Waheed Hussain

A RESPONSE TO Abraham Singer (2013), “What is the Best Way to Argue Against the Profit-Maximization Principle?”Bus Ethics J Rev 1(12): 76-81.

Abstract: Singer thinks that my argument does not give adequate consideration to the role that markets play in Jensen’s work. The problem with this objection is that Singer considers only the perspective of those who transact with corporations, not the perspective of those who participate in them. I think that there is actually less distance between my view and Singer’s view than it may seem. In a sense, I share Singer’s “political view” of the corporation, but I conceive of the corporation as a legal institution, rather than an extension of the state or a concession provided by the state.

To download the full PDF, click here: Hussain Responds to Singer.