Edited by Oliver Laasch, Roy Suddaby, R. E. Freeman and Dima Jamali
Chapter 35: Giving voice to values: responsible management as facilitation of ethical voice
This chapter uses the Giving Voice to Values methodology as a lens to specify what responsible management means as it relates to managing for organizational ethics. We start by specifying three assumptions at the heart of GVV about the role of stakeholders in organizational governance. GVV emphasizes, first, that people are more than risk factors; they are moral agents who can contribute to organizational governance. Second, GVV is based on the premise that most people struggle less with reasoning about right and wrong and more with translating ethical insights into transformative action. Third, GVV is based on the premise that organizational governance improves as a shared, reciprocal practice, where stakeholders at all levels can exert ethical influence in any direction. Next, we discuss three implications of these assumptions for the practice of managing for ethics. First, we define the central problem of managing for ethics as harnessing stakeholders’ moral agency. Second, we argue that managers structure governance as a shared and co-creative process that invites broad stakeholder participation. Third, we propose that managers’ distinct role in this process is that of a platform manager; rather than producing and enforcing shared values, they cultivate the infrastructure (deliberative forums, norms, skills) stakeholders need to contribute to the production and maintenance of shared values. The chapter concludes with suggestions for developing the theory of responsible management, for empirically testing the link between stakeholder voice and organizations’ ethical performance, and driving innovation in the field of ethics management through evidence-based management practices.
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