I chose to explore Edwin Hartman’s article “Donaldson on Rights and Corporate Obligations” for this week’s cited reference search blog post. Just to recap, the article discusses Donaldson’s belief that certain fundamental human rights generate correlative duties for the corporation, including 1) the duty to avoid depriving people of their rights, 2) the duty to help protect people from such deprivation, and 3) the duty to aid those who are deprived. Hartman introduces a fourth category of duty to the list, which he refers to as the duty to avoid helping to deprive. He argues that the corporation is not obligated to contribute to protecting anyone from deprivation, but it needs to make sure that no action it takes helps the depriver succeed in depriving.
Since the article was published in 1991, I thought that it would be interesting to see what other publications have cited it since then. Using Google Scholar, I found that Hartman’s original article had only been cited by 3 other publications.
The one I chose to examine more closely is “La responsabilidad moral de la empresa. Una revisión de la teoría de Stakeholder desde la ética discursiva”/”The moral responsibility of the business. A review of the Stakeholder theory from discursive ethics”. It is a doctoral thesis presented by Elsa González Esteban and directed by Dr. Domingo Garcia-Marza of the Universitat Jaume I de Castellón. It was published in 2011, so it is rather recent information. In total, it has 576 pages and it is written in Spanish. Continue reading
Milton Freidman’s article regarding the corporation’s social responsibility has been the most intriguing article I’ve read in this class all semester. I agree with it on many levels, but also keep finding good arguments against it, as we have discussed in class. I decided to dig a little deeper on Google Scholar, seeing which articles, specifically about sports, had cited Friedman. 367 articles had popped up as articles about or including sports that had also cited Freidman, but many past the first page only mentioned sports in passing and was not going to be useful. The second article that was listed was unavailable to view, so I clicked on a link that gave me related articles. After browsing for a few minutes, I came upon an article from the Journal of Business Ethics published by Hela Sheth and Kathy Babiak, called “Beyond the Game: Perceptions and Practices of Corporate Social Responsibility in the Professional Sport Industry.” This was perfect, and it even cited both Friedman and Freeman. Continue reading
Hear ye, Hear ye, o writers and bloggers! We (Derek, Jordi, Chris) proclaimeth!
Upton Sinclair Prize for Muck-Raking:
Now, more than ever consumers, investors and employees are placing increasing importance on corporate social responsibility and firms can take advantage of this by appealing directly to them. Demonstrating concern for the environment, human rights, community development and the welfare of employees has become an essential marketing strategy for companies in the global economy.
General Electric is one example of a company that is acting responsibly and living its values. It is pursuing environmental sustainability by working to protect and improve people’s current and future living environment.
For over 6 years now, GE has been branding its green, environmental, and sustainability efforts as Ecomagination. When it was first launched, the Ecomagination campaign asserted that GE, one of the world’s largest corporations, was going green and embracing environmentally-friendly policies. According to CEO Jeffrey Immelt, the new Ecomagination initiative represented “GE’s commitment to address challenges such as the need for cleaner, more efficient sources of energy, reduced emissions and abundant sources of clean water”. Continue reading
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s article entitled Business Ethics was interesting to read. Although it was published in April of 2008, many of the issues addressed are still relevant at the present time. First, the entry discusses business ethics on a broad level, defining the concept as “the applied ethics discipline that addresses the moral features of commercial activity.” But, what exactly is business ethics in practice? The article goes on to explore the answer(s) to this question, touching upon the role of the corporation, the employment relation, international issues, and criticisms of the focus and methodology of business ethics.
I would agree with the idea presented in the article that business ethics is rooted in corporate social responsibility. According to Forbes, corporate social responsibility refers to “demonstrating concern for the environment, human rights, community development and the welfare of their employees both in the U.S. and abroad.” In order for a business to be perceived as socially responsible, it must behave in an ethical manner. As a result, the business may become even more profitable by appealing to increasingly socially and environmentally conscious consumers.
I also liked the idea that business ethics encompasses a business’s relationship to the well-being of society. This point ties into our class discussion from last week regarding stakeholder theory. As you might recall from Freeman’s Business Ethics at the Millennium, stakeholder theory argues that a business should be managed in a way that achieves a balance among the interests of all stakeholders, or those who can have some effect on the firm or may be affected by the firm’s actions. A business needs to be accountable to others and society as a whole by attending to the interests of stakeholders when creating policies and making decisions.
I found the section of the article that described international business ethics particularly interesting as it brought up the emergence of globalization. I had never really considered the fact that ethical norms may not always be consistent across cultures. The article explores the question of which ethical norms should guide one’s business conduct in other countries and cultures, with a particular focus on business in less developed countries. The basic guidelines call for the avoiding harm, doing good, respecting human rights, respecting the local culture, cooperating with just governments and institutions, and accepting ethical responsibility for one’s actions.
In addition, international ethical business conduct is directly tied to the debate over sweatshop labor, or the hiring of workers in less developed countries, usually at minimal wages and under poor work conditions, to manufacture products for the developed world. It is troublesome to me that many multinational firms outsource labor and exploit poor working and wage conditions in less developed countries. They engage in this practice to increase their profits. This is unethical. These firms need to consider the stakeholders involved and pay reasonable living wages and ensure better working conditions for those involved.