A comprehensive overview of the contribution of Catholic social thought to business ethics
Can a religion founded on loving one’s neighbor give moral approval to profit-seeking business firms in a global economy? What should characterize the relationship between faith and economic life? What can businesses, employees, and executives do to contribute to the common good and to make their practices and society more ethical?
Business Ethics and Catholic Social Thought provides a new and wide-ranging account of these two ostensibly divergent fields. Focusing on the agency of the business person and the interests of firms, this volume outlines fundamental issues confronting moral leaders and corporations committed to responsible business practices.
The book leads with interviews of three Catholic CEOs and the intellectual history of business ethics in Christianity before examining fundamental moral concerns regarding business: its purpose, autonomy, practical wisdom, and the technocratic paradigm. Contributing authors also consider management science, the motivations of business leaders, the role of luck in personal success, the traditional moral justifications for business, and more. These contributions bring new depth to the application of Catholic social thought to business ethics during a time when economic crisis demands a reevaluation of business and its contribution to society.
At the turn of the twentieth century, Cadbury Bros. Ltd. was a successful, Quaker-owned chocolate manufacturer in Birmingham, England, celebrated for its model village, modern factory, and concern for employees. In 1901 the firm learned that its cocoa beans, purchased from Portuguese plantations on the island of São Tomé off West Africa, were produced by slave labor.
Chocolate on Trial: Slavery, Politics, and the Ethics of Business is a lively and highly readable account of the events surrounding the libel trial in which Cadbury Bros. sued the London Standard over the newspaper’s accusation that the firm was hypocritical in its use of slave-grown cocoa. Lowell J. Satre probes issues as compelling now as they were a century ago: globalization, corporate social responsibility, journalistic sensationalism, and devious diplomacy.
Satre illuminates the stubborn persistence of the institution of slavery and shows how Cadbury, a company with a well-regarded brand name from the nineteenth century, faced ethical dilemmas and challenges to its record for social responsibility. Chocolate on Trial brings to life the age-old conflict between economic interests and regard for the dignity of human life.
A report from the Woodstock Theological Center that distills conversations among the business, government, and academic communities to offer an evaluation and recommendations for creating and maintaining an ethical climate in a business corporation.
Corporate social responsibility has entered the mainstream, but what does it take to run a successful purpose-driven business? A Harvard Business School professor examines leaders who put values alongside profits to showcase the challenges and upside of deeply responsible business.For decades, CEOs have been told that their only responsibility is to the bottom line. But consensus is that companies—and their leaders—must engage with their social and environmental contexts. The man behind one of Harvard Business School's most popular courses, Geoffrey Jones distinguishes deep responsibility, which can deliver radical social and ecological responses, from corporate social responsibility, which is often little more than window dressing.Deeply Responsible Business offers an invaluable historical perspective, going back to the Quaker capitalism of George Cadbury and the worker solidarity of Edward Filene. Through a series of in-depth profiles of business leaders and their companies, it carries us from India to Japan and from the turmoil of the nineteenth century to the latest developments in impact investing and the B-corps. Jones profiles business leaders from around the world who combined profits with social purpose to confront inequality, inner-city blight, and ecological degradation, while navigating restrictive laws and authoritarian regimes.He found that these leaders were motivated by bedrock values and sometimes—but not always—driven by faith. They chose to operate in socially productive fields, interacted with humility with stakeholders, and felt a duty to support their communities. While far from perfect—some combined visionary practices with vital flaws—each one showed that profit and purpose could be reconciled. Many of their businesses were highly successful—though financial success was not their only metric of achievement.As companies seek to coopt ethically sensitized consumers, Jones gives us a new perspective to tackle tough questions. Inspired by these passionate and pragmatic business leaders, he envisions a future in which companies and entrepreneurs can play a key role in healing our communities and protecting the natural world.
The poignant rise and fall of an idealistic immigrant who, as CEO of a major conglomerate, tried to change the way America did business before he himself was swallowed up by corporate corruption.At 8 a.m. on February 3, 1975, Eli Black leapt to his death from the 44th floor of Manhattan’s Pan Am building. The immigrant-turned-CEO of United Brands—formerly United Fruit, now Chiquita—Black seemed an embodiment of the American dream. United Brands was transformed under his leadership—from the “octopus,” a nickname that captured the corrupt power the company had held over Latin American governments, to “the most socially conscious company in the hemisphere,” according to a well-placed commentator. How did it all go wrong?Eli and the Octopus traces the rise and fall of an enigmatic business leader and his influence on the nascent project of corporate social responsibility. Born Menashe Elihu Blachowitz in Lublin, Poland, Black arrived in New York at the age of three and became a rabbi before entering the business world. Driven by the moral tenets of his faith, he charted a new course in industries known for poor treatment of workers, partnering with labor leaders like Cesar Chavez to improve conditions. But risky investments, economic recession, and a costly wave of natural disasters led Black away from the path of reform and toward corrupt backroom dealing.Now, two decades after Google’s embrace of “Don’t be evil” as its unofficial motto, debates about “ethical capitalism” are more heated than ever. Matt Garcia presents an unvarnished portrait of Black’s complicated legacy. Exploring the limits of corporate social responsibility on American life, Eli and the Octopus offers pointed lessons for those who hope to do good while doing business.
Although much has already been written about the rise and fall of Enron, four important questions remain unanswered: What management behavior and practices led Enron down the path from truly innovative to fraudulent management? How could Enron’s board of directors have failed to detect the business, ethical, and legal risks embedded in the company’s aggressive financial strategies and accounting practices? Why did Enron’s external watchdogs—security analysts, credit-rating agencies, and regulatory agencies—fail to bark? What actions can prevent Enron-type breakdowns in the future? Innovation Corrupted addresses each of these questions.In contrast to the time-line narratives of previous books on Enron that offer interesting but largely unsystematic insight into individual actions and organizational processes, Innovation Corrupted pursues a more methodical analysis of the causes and lessons of Enron’s collapse. Based upon newly available sources, Salter identifies the social pathologies and administrative failures that fostered the company’s ethical drift and inhibited the board of directors from exercising effective governance and control. Salter also goes beyond the work of previous books by proposing practical recommendations for preventing future Enron-type disasters. These prescriptions relate to board oversight, financial incentives for executives, and, most importantly, the maintenance of ethical discipline when operating in the murky borderlands of the law. It was in this shadowed space that Enron’s senior executives lost their way.
Neva Goodwin is Co-director of the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University.
How abolitionist businesses marshaled intense moral outrage over slavery to shape a new ethics of international commerce.“East India Sugar Not Made By Slaves.” With these words on a sugar bowl, consumers of the early nineteenth century declared their power to change the global economy. Bronwen Everill examines how abolitionists from Europe to the United States to West Africa used new ideas of supply and demand, consumer credit, and branding to shape an argument for ethical capitalism.Everill focuses on the everyday economy of the Atlantic world. Antislavery affected business operations, as companies in West Africa, including the British firm Macaulay & Babington and the American partnership of Brown & Ives, developed new tactics in order to make “legitimate” commerce pay. Everill explores how the dilemmas of conducting ethical commerce reshaped the larger moral discourse surrounding production and consumption, influencing how slavery and freedom came to be defined in the market economy. But ethical commerce was not without its ironies; the search for supplies of goods “not made by slaves”—including East India sugar—expanded the reach of colonial empires in the relentless pursuit of cheap but “free” labor.Not Made by Slaves illuminates the early years of global consumer society, while placing the politics of antislavery firmly in the history of capitalism. It is also a stark reminder that the struggle to ensure fair trade and labor conditions continues.
The exposure of undercover policeman Mark Kennedy in the eco-activist movement revealed how the state monitors and undermines political activism. This book shows the other grave threat to our political freedoms - undercover activities by corporations.
Secret Manoeuvres in the Dark documents how corporations are halting legitimate action and investigation by activists. Using exclusive access to previously confidential sources, Eveline Lubbers shows how companies such as Nestlé, Shell and McDonalds use covert methods to evade accountability. She argues that corporate intelligence gathering has shifted from being reactive to pro-active, with important implications for democracy itself.
Secret Manoeuvres in the Dark will be vital reading for activists, investigative and citizen journalists, and all who care about freedom and democracy in the 21st century.
The Sustainable Company shows how to create value for shareholders while balancing responsibilities to society and the environment. Its step-by-step approach and tool-kit for managers make this book the solutions manual for the twenty-first-century manager.
In Technological Turf Wars, Jessica Johnston analyzes the tensions and political dilemmas that coexist in the interrelationship among science, technology and society. Illustrating how computer security is as concerned with social relationships as it is with technology, Johnston provides an illuminating ethnography that considers corporate culture and the workplace environment of the antivirus industry.
Using a qualitative, interdisciplinary approach, which combines organizational and security studies with critical and social analysis of science and technology, Johnston questions the motivations, contradictions and negotiations of antivirus professionals. She examines the tensions between the service ethics and profit motives—does the industry release viruses to generate demand for antivirus software?—and considers the dynamics within companies by looking at facets such as gender bias and power politics. Technological Turf Wars is an informed, enlightened and entertaining view of how the production of computer security technology is fraught with social issues.
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