Edited by Antonio Tencati and Francesco Perrini
Chapter 1 by Georges Enderle explicates some major perspectives of this book. It places, first, the question of ethical innovation in business and the economy in the contemporary context of globalization, sustainability, and financialization. It then discusses and clarifies the concepts of business ethics, innovation, and creativity. Thereafter, as innovation plays a central role in business and the economy, their purpose is defined as the creation of wealth in a comprehensive sense. The chapter concludes with an overview of the book and a short introduction to the subsequent chapters.
George G. Brenkert
Chapter 2 by George G. Brenkert seeks to start a discussion about moral innovation, its role in business and how such innovations might be evaluated. It considers three main issues. First, what do we mean by innovation and does moral innovation make sense? Do innovations simply introduce something new into our lives, or must they be more dramatic than that? And must something be successful to be an innovation? Second, should we recognize different kinds of moral innovations that business brings about? Third, by what standards should such moral innovations be evaluated? Who has the right or responsibility to introduce moral innovation in a society and by what principles should they be considered?
Thomas Beschorner and Martin Kolmar
When facing complex ethical problems, assigning responsibility is a difficult undertaking with far-reaching consequences. Chapter 3 by Thomas Beschorner and Martin Kolmar addresses this foundational issue by arguing for a multilevel approach that rejects this either/or thinking of moral actions versus institutions. It proposes using an extended transaction cost approach (inspired by economics) in order to determine a fair sharing of moral responsibilities among individual and organizational actors and social institutions. As moral agency and institutions are interdependent – which is obvious from a dynamic perspective – they not only shape but also are shaped by each other. This multilevel approach implies that governance is important at each level and requires coordination to address complex ethical problems.
Christoph Luetge and Matthias Uhl
Chapter 4 by Christoph Luetge and Matthias Uhl focuses on an innovative methodology, that is, on an experimental approach to ethics. The contributions of experimental disciplines are particularly important if business ethics is to be understood as an interdisciplinary field that includes not only a normative-ethical but also a descriptive-explicative dimension. After a brief summary of experimental philosophy and experimental ethics with its philosophical precursors, the chapter explores future opportunities and key research questions facing experimental ethics. Drawing on recent ethical experiments, it discusses practical implications and possible types of criticisms.
Chapter 5 by Nien-hê Hsieh examines managerial responsibility and develops an alternative to shareholder primacy. It criticizes the view that defines the responsibilities of managers merely in terms of constraints or negative moral duties (e.g., the duty not to harm). Rather, managers have the duty to do their jobs well, that is, to help realize important market-specific social values that are consistent with a minimal set of normative commitments. These values ground managerial responsibility to pursue specific ends and define the purpose of business. To illustrate this novel account of managerial responsibility, three examples examine opportunities for health, strengthening institutions, and lobbying and political activity.
Joanne B. Ciulla
Chapter 6 by Joanne B. Ciulla compares the actions of ethically innovative leaders with drops of water in a pond. They often radiate out like ripples into larger spheres, from the personal, to the organizational, and finally to the systemic level. Recalling key notions in leadership studies such as vision, moral imagination, and both ethics and effectiveness, the chapter applies them to a timely challenge for business leaders, namely to pay their employees’ living wages (with a focus on the fast food and other industries). Ethically innovative leaders can fix this problem if they are willing to make waves by thinking of business as a means of improving the well-being of all stakeholders, including employees.
Chapter 7 by Daryl Koehn discusses the evolving nature of the Maker Movement and analyzes its ethical underpinnings. Because the Maker Movement is relatively new, it is difficult to state with any certainty what will ultimately prove to be ethically good or ethically worrisome about it. However, precisely because the movement is in its early stages, now is a good time to take stock so that those in the movement can be encouraged to become ever more mindful about the ethical issues that may arise as the Maker Movement gathers momentum.
Chapter 8 by Eleanor O’Higgins addresses the question of whether co-operatives present a real alternative business model to traditional capitalist enterprises. After characterizing co-operatives with their benefits and challenges, it compares two case examples from the United Kingdom, the John Lewis Partnership (JLP) and the Co-operative Group. The comparative analysis points to four crucial elements of good governance in co-operatives: member voice, representation, expertise and management. Both successes and failures in these four elements are intertwined. In the case of JLP, this resulted in a virtuous cycle. By contrast, the Co-op Group failed by adopting neither the model of the cooperative nor of the publicly listed corporations. The chapter concludes by stating that a diverse array of co-operatives and other organizational forms will continue to exist side by side as ways to add value to economic activity.