Individuals, Groups, and Business Ethics
By Chris Provis
Routledge – 2011 – 180 pages
Corporate social responsibility has become a heavily discussed topic in business ethics. Identifying some generally accepted moral principles as a basis for discussion, Individuals, Groups, and Business Ethics examines ethical dimensions of our relationships with families, friends and workmates, the extent to which we have obligations as members of teams and communities, and how far ethics may ground our commitments to organisations and countries. It offers an innovative analysis that differentiates amongst our genuine ethical obligations to individuals, counterfeit obligations to identity groups, and complex role-based obligations in organised groups. It suggests that often individuals need intuitive moral judgment developed by experience, reflection and dialogue to identify the individual obligations that emerge for them in complex group situations. These situations include some where people have to discern what their organisations’ corporate social responsibilities imply for them as individuals, and other situations where individuals have to deal with conflicts amongst their obligations or with efforts by other people to exploit them. This book gives an integrated, analytical account of how our obligations are grounded, provides a major theoretical case study of such ethical processes in action, and then considers some extended implications.
‘By exploring the dynamics of moral responsibility, influence, and decision making in groups, this book offers a realistic picture of how people make decisions under the influence of others in organizations.’ – Joanne Ciulla, University of Richmond, USA
Introduction 1. Ethical Principles and Ethical Decision Making 2. Ethics, Society and Individuals 3. Individuals, Expectations and Groups 4. Institutions, Norms and Ethics 5. A Hypothetical Case: Endeavour Organisation 6. Conflicts of Obligations 7. Obligations, Exploitation and identity 8. Decisions, Groups and Reasons
Chris Provis studied and taught philosophy, then worked for some years in industrial relations before joining the School of Management at the University of South Australia. Specialising in business ethics, he has published numerous research papers, as well as as Ethics and Organisational Politics (2004).