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Raising the level of moral thinking among managers will not help. Kohlberg's conventionality and systemic ethical flaws in business


Gonin, Michael; Palazzo, Guido (2012). Raising the level of moral thinking among managers will not help. Kohlberg's conventionality and systemic ethical flaws in business. In: Fifth International Society of Business, Economics, and Ethics (ISBEE) World Congress, Warsaw, 11 July 2012 - 14 July 2012, 402-413.

Abstract

Business ethicists often assume that unethical behavior arises when individuals deviate from the norms and responsibilities that are institutionalized to frame economic activities. People's greed motivates them to violate the rules of the game. In Kohlberg’s terms, it is assumed that such actors make decisions in a preconventional way and act opportunistically.
In this article, we propose an alternative interpretation of deviant behavior, arguing that such behavior does not result from a lack of conventional moral guidance but rather from the fact that characteristics attributed to preconventional morality by Kohlberg – the purely incentive and punishment driven opportunistic morality – have become the conventionalized morality. The prevailing norms that economic actors have internalized as their yardstick are those of the preconventional Homo economicus. Not the deviation from, but the compliance with the rules of the game explains many forms of harmful and illegal decisions made in corporations.

Abstract

Business ethicists often assume that unethical behavior arises when individuals deviate from the norms and responsibilities that are institutionalized to frame economic activities. People's greed motivates them to violate the rules of the game. In Kohlberg’s terms, it is assumed that such actors make decisions in a preconventional way and act opportunistically.
In this article, we propose an alternative interpretation of deviant behavior, arguing that such behavior does not result from a lack of conventional moral guidance but rather from the fact that characteristics attributed to preconventional morality by Kohlberg – the purely incentive and punishment driven opportunistic morality – have become the conventionalized morality. The prevailing norms that economic actors have internalized as their yardstick are those of the preconventional Homo economicus. Not the deviation from, but the compliance with the rules of the game explains many forms of harmful and illegal decisions made in corporations.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper), refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:08 University Research Priority Programs > Ethics
Dewey Decimal Classification:170 Ethics
Uncontrolled Keywords:MeaningKohlberg Morality leadership values institution theory
Language:English
Event End Date:14 July 2012
Deposited On:04 Feb 2013 08:21
Last Modified:06 Apr 2017 06:15
Publisher:International Society Of Business, Economics, And Ethics (ISBEE)
ISBN:978-8389437-50-1
Additional Information:Tradition and new horizons : towards the virtue of responsibility : proceedings of the Fifth International Society of Business, Economics, and Ethics (ISBEE) World Congress 2012
Related URLs:http://www.isbee2012.kozminski.edu.pl/

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