Corporate Governance and Ethics: An Aristotelian Perspective

Edward Elgar Publishing
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This book can be highly recommended to corporate directors, executives, managers and interested academics. At the same time, however, I think it should also be on the reading list of every politician involved in rethinking the regulations of the economic
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About the author

Alejo José G. Sison, Professor, University of Navarre, Spain
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Additional Information

Publisher
Edward Elgar Publishing
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Published on
Jan 1, 2010
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Pages
235
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ISBN
9781848442948
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Business Ethics
Business & Economics / Corporate Governance
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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In a world where the implications and consequences of corporate actions and decisions are potentially far-reaching and lasting, ethical standards − their observance and their breach − must be part of the language of business conduct, whether in the context of corporate transgressions, regulatory effectiveness, terms of engagement between business and their stakeholders, or the metrics used by investors in assessing performance and risk and understanding long-term value.

This critically important book proposes a new paradigm for understanding, developing and maintaining standards of corporate governance. Its point of departure is not a position along the diverse paths of traditional corporate governance and regulatory theory, law and practice, nor specific questions of how to institute, implement and observe policies and practices that function as proxies for good governance. Instead, it starts with the idea of framing governance generally, and corporate governance specifically, as a matter of conduct that is guided by a set of fundamental ideals and principles.

Evolutions in Corporate Governance attempts to answer the wider question of how to re-imagine a framework within which ‘good’ corporate governance − that takes account of and is responsible for the social, environmental, ethical as well as legal and economic dimensions of business conduct − is addressed alongside issues of profitability and competition, in the face of forces of globalization and business influence that are testing the limits of what can be accomplished by traditional law and regulation. Dempsey contends that meaningful change in behaviour will only come when there is a corporate governance framework that explicitly encompasses both law and ethics.

Business ethics is a staple in the news today. One of the most difficult ethical questions facing managers is, To whom are they responsible? Organizations can affect and are affected by many different constituencies-these groups are often called stakeholders. But who are these stakeholders? What sort of managerial attention should they receive? Is there a legal duty to attend to stakeholders or is such a duty legally prohibited due to the shareholder wealth maximization imperative? In short, for whose benefit ought a firm be managed? Despite the ever growing importance of these questions, there is no comprehensive, theoretical treatment of the stakeholder framework currently in print. In Stakeholder Theory and Organizational Ethics, Robert Phillips provides an extended defense of stakeholder theory as the preeminent theory of organizational ethics today. Addressing the difficult question of what the moral underpinning of stakeholder theory should be, Phillips elaborates a "principle of stakeholder fairness" based on the ideas of the late John Rawls-the most prominent moral and political philosopher of the twentieth century. Phillips shows how this principle clarifies several long-standing questions in stakeholder theory, including: Who are an organization's legitimate stakeholders? What is the basis for this legitimacy? What, if any, are the limits of stakeholder theory? What is the relationship between stakeholder theory and other moral, political, and business ethical theories? Applying research from many related disciplines, Stakeholder Theory and Organizational Ethics is an overdue response to several long-standing and fundamental points of contention within business ethics and management theory.
The failure of many governments to provide basic rights for their citizens has given rise to the expectation that globally operating corporations should step in and fill governance gaps, for example in the area of human rights. Today, many large multinational corporations claim to conduct business in a socially responsible manner, yet no tools exist to assess whether and to what degree they have indeed systematically revised their business practices to take on these new responsibilities. Managing Corporate Legitimacy addresses these research gaps by clarifying the role of the corporation as a private actor in global governance at conceptual and empirical levels; by contributing to our theoretical understanding of CC as a new phenomenon in globalization; and by furthering the development of appropriate approaches to CC in practice through its toolkit.

The tool structures the implementation process in five learning stages (defensive, compliance, managerial, strategic and civil). The final civil stage describes political corporate behaviour. The author includes an empirical assessment of five Swiss multinationals in this book which reveals that most companies – even those with relatively long-standing and mature policies on social and environmental issues – have only just started to learn how to become corporate citizens. The book therefore concludes with a discussion of an issue-specific extension of the assessment tool and presents methods for setting priorities in the approach to corporate citizenship that may also facilitate corporate engagement with stakeholders.

The tools developed in this book provide practical and detailed guidance for implementing and embedding CC and managing corporate legitimacy. It will be essential reading for practitioners looking for ways to legitimize their engagement with societal issues and for academics considering how we can better measure the engagement of business with CC.

Solidly grounded on Aristotelian anthropology, moral capital develops a set of principles, practices and metrics useful to business leaders and managers, while eliminating the ambiguity of social capital and allowing for the integration of business ethics initiatives into a robust corporate culture.Sison studies a wide range of recent management cases from the viewpoint of moral capital: the sorry state of US airport screeners before 9-11, the Ford Explorer rollovers and Firestone tire failures, the battle for the 'HP way' between Carly Fiorina and the heirs of the founding families, the dynamics of Microsoft's serial monopolistic behavior, the pitfalls of Enron's senior executives, the sincerity of Howard Lutnick's commitment to Cantor Fitzgerald families, how Andersen's loss of reputation proved mortal and a fresh look at Jack Welch's purported achievements during his tenure at GE.He explains the relationship between different structural and operational levels in the human being (actions, habits, character and lifestyle) and in the firm (products, protocols, corporate culture and corporate history). These levels are later associated with different institutions of moral capital (basic currency, interests, investment bonds, estates or legacies). Strategies for measuring, developing and managing moral capital on both a personal and an organizational plane are also discussed.This engaging and provocative study is a must-read for professors, students, and practitioners of business ethics, general management, human resource management and economic theory.
The dramatic inside story of the downfall of Michael Eisner—Disney Chairman and CEO—and the scandals that drove America’s best-known entertainment company to civil war.

“When You Wish Upon a Star,” “Whistle While You Work,” “The Happiest Place on Earth”—these are lyrics indelibly linked to Disney, one of the most admired and best-known companies in the world. So when Roy Disney, chairman of Walt Disney Animation and nephew of founder Walt Disney, abruptly resigned in November 2003 and declared war on chairman and chief executive Michael Eisner, he sent shock waves through the entertainment industry, corporate boardrooms, theme parks, and living rooms around the world—everywhere Disney does business and its products are cherished.

Drawing on unprecedented access to both Eisner and Roy Disney, current and former Disney executives and board members, as well as thousands of pages of never-before-seen letters, memos, transcripts, and other documents, James B. Stewart gets to the bottom of mysteries that have enveloped Disney for years: What really caused the rupture with studio chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, a man who once regarded Eisner as a father but who became his fiercest rival? How could Eisner have so misjudged Michael Ovitz, a man who was not only “the most powerful man in Hollywood” but also his friend, whom he appointed as Disney president and immediately wanted to fire? What caused the break between Eisner and Pixar chairman Steve Jobs, and why did Pixar abruptly abandon its partnership with Disney? Why did Eisner so mistrust Roy Disney that he assigned Disney company executives to spy on him? How did Eisner control the Disney board for so long, and what really happened in the fateful board meeting in September 2004, when Eisner played his last cards?

DisneyWar is an enthralling tale of one of America’s most powerful media and entertainment companies, the people who control it, and those trying to overthrow them. It tells a story that—in its sudden twists, vivid, larger-than-life characters, and thrilling climax—might itself have been the subject of a Disney classic—except that it’s all true.
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