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4_February 3.doc

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Brock University
Thomas Mulligan

Wednesday, Feb 3 Differing Views of Moral Responsibility in Business Organizations TWO CULTURES/STREAMS OF THOUGHT IN BUSINESS ETHICS Difference between ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ and ‘Corporate Social Responsiveness’ CORPORATE SOCIAL CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY RESPONSIVENESS WHAT Business should take Business should react to satisfy initiative and act to do what is society's expectations. (respond to morally right. society)  change, alter society (variation: or pro-act by forecasting future expectations  react before something is about to happen) HOW Focus on ethical theory and Focus on business behavior, philosophical issues. managerial implementation. Often uses empirical surveys to Often uses reason, debate to help decide what society really help decide what is really expects in each situation right or wrong in each situation WHO Philosophers, theologians Business school professors, social HUMANITIES scientists THEORETICAL APPROACH SOCIAL SCIENCE PRACTICAL APPROACH  Business Ethics is truly interdisciplinary ESSAY #1 - Peter A. French, "Corporate Moral Agency" (Honest Work, 250) Main issues: Responsibility and Corporate Internal Decision (CID) Structure - 1] French argues ‘for a theory that accepts corporations as members of the moral community, of equal standing with the traditionally acknowledged residents [...] corporations should be treated as full-fledged moral persons...’ (p.250)  THESIS - Who we regard as a moral agent has far-reaching practical implications; who is to blame for wrong decisions or other errors, who is to be charged, locked up? - Example: French blames Gulf Oil Corporation for being responsible for the Energy Crisis - 2] Definitions: According to French, there are two senses of responsibility: a) Who or what caused something? b) Who is accountable for the results? Involves responsibility and liability: ’moral responsibility’: reciprocally and without prior agreements 3] b) always implicates a): in order to be held accountable someone/something - 4] Applying the definition to business: ‘corporation...moral agent’ – that is the case when, what the corporation does, is intended by the corporation ’I shall argue that a corporation’s CID structure...’: corporation has an internal decision structure by which it forms intentions, not individuals (like board of directors make decisions)  corporation has reasons which cannot be reduced to individuals’ reasons - 5] Explanation of CID: Has two elements: o organizational/responsibility flow chart explaining the power structure o corporate policy = decision recognition rules o Corporation makes decisions by activating and operating that CID structure  by incorporating and sythesizing the intentions of the individuals into one a corporate intention with a corporate character/personality is built  argument by authority – referring to Galbraith: through
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