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Annual Editions: Business Ethics, 26/e
1. Designing Honesty into Your Organization, Christian Mastilak et al., Strategic Finance, 2011.
How does a manager design honesty into her/his organization? Is it possible to design in honesty and make the concept of honesty part of an organization’s culture? This article argues in the affirmative and offers six key steps toward designing honesty into an organization.
2. The CSR Litmus Test, Chris MacDonald, Canadian Business, 2011.
The author challenges readers to clearly define what they mean by Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and questions the value of the term CSR.
3. Five Steps to Better Ethical Decision Making, Arthur Dobrin, Psychology Today, 2012.
The author provides five steps for improving ethical decision making: gather the facts, make a prediction (a guess) about the future, identify your feelings, ask whether you could live with yourself if you made that particular choice, be able to explain your reasons to other people and be willing to engage with others in a moral conversation about your choice.
4. Good Morning! Your Moral Fiber Is Eroding by the Minute, Drake Bennett, Bloomberg Businessweek, 2013.
As individuals make decisions throughout the day, they deplete a finite store of willpower. Such depletion lowers their ability to make ethical decisions. Organizations should be mindful regarding the potential for less ethical behavior as the day progresses.
5. What's at the Core of Corporate Wrongdoing?, Eleanor Bloxham, CNN Money, 2011.
Why are some managers motivated to cover up losses and other instances of corporate wrongdoing while other managers never would contemplate such cover-up activity? Bloxham suggests that responsibility for corporate culture begins at the top—at the board of directors’ level. She also suggests similar responsibility for individuals at other levels in an organization.
6. Morals and the Machine, The Economist, The Economist, 2012.
This article mentions the emergence of the field of machine ethics. The increasing use around the world of robots and drones, and soon driverless cars, leads to interesting questions about ethics in the utilization of computer-controlled machinery. The article identifies three laws of robotics developed by Isaac Asimov in 1942. To these three laws, the article suggests an additional “three laws for the laws of robotics.”
7. ‘Pay-to-delay’ Pharmaceutical Deals Smack of Illegal Collusion, Editorial Board, The Washington Post, 2013.
What's in the best interest of consumers? The author discusses the collusive nature of pharmaceutical companies paying other firms to delay the entry of generic drugs into the market.
8. Unfair Business Practices, Vadim Liberman, The Conference Board Review, 2012.
What happens when some employees receive perks, those employees most likely being in senior-level positions, and lower-ranking employees do not receive perks? Are there questions of ethics and fairness in such situations? Should everyone be entitled to perks? What is the concept of fairness through inequality? These and other questions are addressed in this interesting article.
9. D.C. Principal Slammed for Reporting Cheating, Jay Mathews, The Washington Post, 2013.
Mathews describes the inadequate response of D.C. public school officials to allegations of cheating by a new principal at an award-winning school, this despite prior evidence of test tampering.
10. Gap's Inconsistent Corporate Ethics, Greg Randolph, U.S. News & World Report, 2013.
Is the promotion of inclusion simply a marketing trick? Gap responds to graffiti on one of its ads featuring a Sikh model, while not responding to poor worker conditions in Bangladesh.
11. When You're Most Vulnerable to Fraud, Rob Johnson, The Wall Street Journal, 2010.
Rob Johnson describes a sad situation for small businesses—when times are great—watch out, since this is the time when entrepreneurs are most vulnerable to fraud. This article features a special section wherein experts offer tips to protect a company from fraud.
12. Doctors Face New Scrutiny Over Gifts, Peter Loftus, The Wall Street Journal, 2013.
Under the new Sunshine Act, pharmaceutical/medical-device companies and doctors will have to disclose most of their transactions with each other. While increased transparency could result in better assessments of peer-based medical research claims, it could stifle legitimate industry-physician interaction.
13. Wal-Mart Inquiry Reflects Alarm on Corruption, Stephanie Clifford and David Barstow, The New York Times, 2012.
Wal-Mart increases the scope of internal investigations into potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Additionally, the company is changing reporting relationships and expanding internal compliance and investigation departments.
14. American Apparel and the Ethics of a Sexually Charged Workplace, Gael O'Brien, Business Ethics, 2011.
A company, American Apparel, whose alleged philosophy of sexual freedom in the workplace faces pending litigation for sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment. These litigation problems allegedly spring from the CEO’s philosophy concerning consensual sexual freedom in the workplace. He stated, “I think it’s a first Amendment right to pursue one’s affection for another human being.”
15. What the Wal-Mart Ruling Means for Big Business, Roger Parloff, Fortune, 2011.
In a class-action sex discrimination lawsuit, the Supreme Court ruled 5–4 in Wal-Mart’s favor. At issue was a claim of unconscious discrimination by the company in giving managers wide discretion in making pay and promotion decisions when allegedly many managers were of the male gender.
16. When Your Boss Makes You Pay for Being Fat, Leslie Kwoh, The Wall Street Journal, 2013.
What are the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees when it comes to healthcare costs? Many employers are shifting from carrot to stick in an attempt to secure greater employee participation in, and improve the effectiveness of, company-sponsored wellness programs.
17. Fighting the High Cost of "Getting Even" at Work, Anne Fisher, Fortune, 2011.
The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission reports that retaliation complaints now surpass racial discrimination complaints as the number one employee lawsuit. Such employee retaliation lawsuits reportedly are difficult for companies to prevail in. The author suggests five tactics a company might employ when facing an employee retaliation lawsuit.
18. People Have to Come Before Profits, Even in a Crisis, Alistair Nicholas, MercatorNet, 2011.
The author argues that the most important lesson from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster is that training in ethical decision making must be part of crisis preparedness training so as to ensure that “people must come before profits—always and unconditionally.”
19. New Rules Would Cut Silica Dust Exposure, Steven Greenhouse, The New York Times, 2013.
Tighter limits or increased compliance—which is needed for improved employee safety? A recent OSHA ruling on silica exposure raises questions about the effectiveness and consequences of regulations.
20. Opting to Blow the Whistle or Choosing to Walk Away, Alina Tugend, The New York Times, 2013.
Ethical violations do not have to violate the law, but reporting them could result in adverse consequences for the informant. Tugend offers some advice to those contemplating whistleblowing.
21. Two Years After Dodd-Frank, Has Wall Street Changed?, Meg Handley, U.S. News & World Report, 2012.
Wall Street still remains an ethically suspect industry despite recent efforts at reform. Greater transparency might be needed.
22. The Unexpected Cost of Staying Silent, Amy Fredin, Strategic Finance, 2012.
In an empirically based article, the author explores the regret felt by individuals in situations of not blowing a whistle when a whistle should have been blown. The reasons for not blowing the whistle are documented by empirical research. Fear of retaliation is the most common reason reported for not blowing the whistle. The level of regret experienced is related to the type of reported wrongdoing that was not reported.
23. The Parable of the Sadhu, Bowen H. McCoy, Harvard Business Review, 1997.
The parable presented in this reading has significance for managers as they encounter ethical dilemmas that involve merging the individual ethic (personal values) and the corporate ethic (organizational values) to make the best decisions within the corporate culture. Bowen McCoy stresses the importance of management agreeing on a process for dealing with dilemmas and conflicts of interest.
24. Stealing a Pen at Work Could Turn You On to Much Bigger Crimes, Emily Cohn, Huffington Post, 2014.
Researchers demonstrate that minor ethical transgressions could lead to more serious violations in the future.
25. Wall Street vs. Its Employees' Privacy, Jean Eaglesham and Michael Rothfeld, The Wall Street Journal, 2013.
Do new laws aimed at protecting employee privacy rights put investors at risk? Regulators and industry groups join forces to create exemptions for certain financial firms regarding prohibitions of monitoring employee social-media accounts.
26. Digital-Privacy Rules Taking Shape, Julia Angwin, The Wall Street Journal, 2012.
This article reports on the action by the Federal Trade Commission calling for better privacy practices as well as comprehensive privacy legislation. Among things being suggested are the implementation of a “Do Not Track” button in Web browsers and better control of off-line data brokers who buy and sell personal information. The FTC is hopeful that industry will adopt voluntary guidelines for digital privacy.
27. Sharing, With a Safety Net, Somini Sengupta, The New York Times, 2013.
California legislators push for a bill that enables minors to delete their online indiscretions. Critics of the state law raise concerns about unintended risks to minors, and the potential for multiple company policies to address different state requirements.
28. A Risky Way to Get Deadbeat Clients to Pay: Shame Them Online, Karen E. Klein, Bloomberg Businessweek, 2014.
Is public shaming via social media an appropriate way of securing payment for services? Experts seem skeptical.
29. Challenges of Governing Globally, Marc J. Epstein, Strategic Finance, 2012.
The author analyzes the salient characteristics of three different global corporate governance systems. An analysis of different governing systems arguably will enable managers to manage more effectively in various host countries around the world. Differing governing systems likely have differing implications for the placement of ethics programs in host country operations.
30. Conceptualizing a Framework for Global Business Ethics, William J. Kehoe, Relationships and Responsibility: Business Ethics and Social Impact Management, 2003.
What are important considerations in developing a global code of ethics? An eight-stage framework for global business ethics is developed. The framework begins with the stage of understanding the orientation of a firm and concludes with recommendations for promulgating and using a framework of global business ethics.
31. Taking Your Code to China, Kirk O. Hanson and Stephan Rothlin, Journal of International Business Ethics, 2010.
The authors explain why it is so difficult for managers of U.S.-based firms to take codes of ethics from a home country to host countries. Examples of successes are presented. Special reasons are suggested why operating in China is difficult and shaping a code of ethics to China is discussed. An interesting section in the article concerns the importance of doing whistleblowing the Chinese way.
32. Wal-Mart Hushed Up a Vast Mexican Bribery Case, David Barstow, Alejandra Xanic, and James C. McKinley, Jr., The New York Times, 2012.
A case-study like article examining allegations of bribery by Wal-Mart while operating in Mexico. The article discusses how the bribery allegations emerged, the initial response from Wal-Mart, presents details of Wal-Mart’s internal investigations, examines how certain executives deflected blame, and other such topics
33. Doing More Good, Jodi Chavez, Strategic Finance, 2011.
Several ways for a company to be a better corporate citizen are identified and discussed. The so-called business case for being charitable is examined. Seven ways for achieving competitive advantage through good corporate citizenship are posited. Six ways to put corporate responsibility into action are identified and discussed.
34. Necessary but Not Sufficient: An Exploration of Where CR Begins—and Ends, Peter A. Soyka, CR Magazine (Corporate Responsibility), 2012.
The importance of recognizing and acting upon sustainability issues are posited as factors driving long-term business success. The article differentiates corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate responsibility (CR). Sustainability is defined in the article and the attributes of a sustainable organization are identified and discussed.
35. Cause for Concern, Christine Birkner, Marketing News, 2012.
The conservation of water as the leading environmental issue in the 21st century is argued. Examples of various firms’ efforts at water conservation are presented. While some firms are improving their water conservation efforts, why are so many consumers and business firms seemingly ignoring the issue of water conservation? What are the ethical underpinnings of ignoring a serious environmental issue?
36. Commentary: Markets Will Best Guard Environment, John Stossel, The Daily Record, 2014.
The author presents an argument that property rights, the market system, and honest courts produce better environmental outcomes than larger-scale governmental oversight.
37. Honest Innovation, Calvin L. Hodock, Marketing Management, 2009.
Ethics issues in new product development could be stalling innovation growth.
38. Serving Unfair Customers, Leonard L. Berry and Kathleen Seiders, Business Horizons, 2008.
Companies commonly adapt the “The customer is always right” maxim as a basic premise for delivering quality service. A close examination of customer behavior, however, reveals that customers can be not only wrong but also blatantly unjust.
39. Marketing to Children: Accepting Responsibility, Gael O'Brien, Business Ethics, 2011.
Using McDonald's as an example, the author discusses contrary opinions regarding marketing to children. Critics claim that businesses exert undue influence on children, often with seriously negative consequences. Supporters state that parents have the right and responsibility to determine the lifestyles of their children.
40. First, Make Money. Also, Do Good, Steve Lohr, The New York Times, 2011.
The concept that companies can do well by doing good underpins this article.
41. Doing Good to Do Well, Anne Tergesen, The Wall Street Journal, 2012.
Various examples of companies doing good in order to do well are presented in the article. Companies, among others, include Dow Corning Corporation, PepsiCo, FedEx, Intel Corporation, Pfizer Inc., and IBM, a company that sent some 1,499 employees abroad since 2006 as part of its Corporate Service Corps.
42. Creating an Ethical Culture, David Gebler, JD, Strategic Finance, 2006.
David Gebler examines how values-based ethics programs can help employee judge right from wrong. Seven levels of an ethical organization are presented and analyzed.
43. Barclays Tells Staff to Uphold New Values or Leave, Margot Patrick, The Wall Street Journal, 2013.
Barclays PLC's Chief Executive Officer, Antony Jenkins, provided the company's staff with a choice—uphold the company's new values or leave. Jenkins seeks to rebuild the company's reputation and corporate culture in the wake of scandal.
44. Hiring Character, Dana Telford and Adrian Gostick, Integrity Works, 2005.
In an excerpt from Dana Telford and Adrian Gostick’s book, Integrity Works, they present a look at business leader Warren Buffett’s practice of hiring people based on their integrity. A list of twenty questions is presented that might be asked of job candidates to learn more about their character.
45. Strategic Organizational Diversity: A Model?, Frederick Tesch and Frederick Maidment, The International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities, and Nations, 2009.
Contemporary organizations pursue diversity for many reasons—for example, economic, ethical, regulatory, legal, and social. Ideally, an organization’s human diversity matches its strategic goals. Little attention has been given, however, to a theoretical basis for diversity as an organizational goal. Modigliani’s theory of diversity in investments might provide a model for managing an organization’s human diversity and reducing its business risks.
46. Fiduciary Principles: Corporate Responsibilities to Stakeholders, Susan C. Atherton, Mark S. Blodgett, and Charles A. Atherton, Journal of Religion and Business Ethics, 2011.
The article examines the origins of the fiduciary concept in shaping the ethical and moral duties of managers. Several studies are cited including the responsibility of corporate boards having “a fiduciary duty to make ethics-based decisions.
47. A Time for Ethical Self-Assessment, Rick Wartzman, Bloomberg Businessweek, 2008.
What kind of person do you see when you look in the mirror. That is, when you do an ethical self-assessment what kind of person do you see? Peter Drucker called that question “the mirror test” or the “ethics of prudence.”