Whose Business Values?

Whose Business Values?: Some Asian and Cross-Cultural Perspectives

Sally Stewart
Gabriel Donleavy
Copyright Date: 1995
Pages: 296
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2jc4zj
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  • Book Info
    Whose Business Values?
    Book Description:

    This book is about the ethical issues arising in the course of business, especially those affecting people working in Asia. Each chapter offers a different perspective and the positions taken vary greatly from one writer to another. This book has been produced under the auspices of the University of Hong Kong's Centre for the Study of Business Values and the various perspectives within this volume well reflect the variety of viewpoints expressed by people who participate in the Centre's activities. It is intended to be read by business people and business students alike and would fit well into international business courses anywhere in the world. East Asia is a particular focus of many of the chapters but global ecological concerns are also addressed.

    eISBN: 978-988-220-308-2
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. PREFACE: TRADING VALUES
    (pp. xiii-xxii)
    Gabriel Donleavy
  5. 1 THE ETHICS OF VALUES AND THE VALUE OF ETHICS: SHOULD WE BE STUDYING BUSINESS VALUES IN HONG KONG?
    (pp. 1-18)
    Sally Stewart

    This is, to the best of my knowledge, the first book on business values to have been produced in Hong Kong and it marks the setting-up of the new Centre for the Study of Business Values at the University of Hong Kong. The territory has until now lacked a centre concentrating solely on business values, rather than on more general ethical questions, although there are many elsewhere in the world. It might be asked why Hong Kong need its own; to which the simple answer is—because it is a unique place and its value system (like those of most...

  6. 2 ETHICAL VALUES AS PART OF THE CONCEPT OF BUSINESS ENTERPRISE
    (pp. 19-40)
    Robert E. Allinson

    The orientation of this paper is that business ethics is not a separate subject from business administration. The danger of separating business from ethics is that one can easily justify unethical business practices by saying to oneself, or to others, ‘this is business’, as if business were a separate domain which wore an ethics-proof vest. Just as in the Mafia movies when before a contract is carried out, the contract killer says, ‘nothing personal’, so the businessman could always say, ‘after all, this is business’, or, ‘business is business’, which means that ethics is not considered. This attitude can be...

  7. 3 CODES OF ETHICS AND THE CIVIL SOCIETY: JOHN STUART MILL’S LEGACY IN THE 1990s
    (pp. 41-54)
    Anne Carver

    Wrestling with the limits of morality and the criminal law is not only the task of moral philosophers, it is also the task of the individual concerned with freedom of thought, expression, and action, such as the right to conduct private business transactions for commercial advantage, perhaps maximizing the profit and minimizing the risk within the confines of the criminal law. It is the concern of everyone in business to think about the areas of legitimate social control over the individual in society, and particularly to consider where the areas of legitimate social control affect the limits of business and...

  8. 4 ETHICAL VALUES: A SOURCE OF CONFLICT—BUT WHOSE VALUES?
    (pp. 55-68)
    David M. Reid

    Much noise on the issue of ethics has been generated from the United States. It has become a hot topic in business schools (Andrews 1989; Hoffman 1989). Wright (1989) suggests that there are numerous factors that have led to the erosion of ethical values in the United States, foremost of which is the breakdown of the three major institutions that for 200 years shaped American values and the American way of life—the family, the church and the school system. Lapses of ethics in business, Wright avers, are the result of apparent conflicts of interest among a firm’s various stakeholders....

  9. 5 THE RELEVANCE OF EQUITY VALUES IN EASTERN CULTURES
    (pp. 69-86)
    David A. Ralston, Lee P. Stepina, Yu Kai-Cheng, Paul A. Fadil and Robert H. Terpstra

    Over two decades ago, Hofstede (1980a) asked the question, ‘Do American theories apply abroad?’ Many researchers have approached this issue by testing straightforward translations of American instruments to determine whether the same theoretical relationships hold in India, Britain, Hong Kong or wherever. Conclusions range from support for the ‘universality’ of Western theories to results which suggest that they are not valid elsewhere. The latter papers invariably conclude with admonitions for Westerners to change their parochial ways.

    Meanwhile, American companies go overseas and continue to use ‘home-logic’ to run their overseas operations. In some sense, academics are to blame for this...

  10. 6 AN OUTSIDER’S VIEW OF THE EAST ASIAN MIRACLE: LESSONS AND QUESTIONS
    (pp. 87-120)
    Georges Enderle

    A miracle is something extraordinary and transcends our usual understanding of the world and how it works. We are struck that the miracle occurs against our expectations. According to our ‘normal’ experience of the world, we consider the miracle exceptional. By putting it into the category of ‘non-classifiables’, we maintain and do not question our traditional mental classification scheme. Thus we cannot learn anything from miracles and questions about them hardly ever find answers, if they are asked at all; otherwise, miracles would lose their enigmatic character and no longer qualify as such.

    By contrast, when miracles stimulate reflection on...

  11. 7 FEUDALISM, ETHICS AND POSTMODERN COMPANY LIFE
    (pp. 121-142)
    Gabriel Donleavy

    Between the fall of Constantinople in 1452 and the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990, the world economy was moved forward by colonialism, mercantilism and capitalism—all being variations of a basic law of survival of the fittest. From the late fifteenth-century voyages of discovery to the late twentieth-century Voyager missions, the age of Modernity was characterized in the West by the cult of the individual: individual enterprise, individual heroism, and individual freedoms. This essentially cultural manifestation was uplifted into a system of philosophy by the invention of economics during the peak period of Modernity, the European Enlightenment of...

  12. 8 PSYCHIC PRISONERS? MANAGERS FACING ETHICAL DILEMMAS: CASES FROM HONG KONG
    (pp. 143-164)
    Robin Snell

    In this paper, I will attempt to explain typical managerial experience of ethical dilemmas by applying the metaphor of the psychic prison to organizational life. My explanations will also draw heavily on Kohlberg’s model of stages of moral and ethical reasoning. This introductory section will therefore explain some background concepts and presuppositions on which subsequent analyses are based. Discussion of the concept of moral ethos will come later in the paper.

    Applied in organizational analysis, the metaphor of the psychic prison (Morgan 1986: 199-231) holds that there are hidden aspects of organizational life that imprison the minds of members without...

  13. 9 CORPORATE ETHICS AND INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS: SOME BASIC ISSUES
    (pp. 165-202)
    Klaus M. Leisinger

    Questions about the ethical justification of human activity have occupied philosophers since time immemorial. Whether Laozi, Confucius, the writers of the Gospels, or Fathers of the Church like Augustine or Thomas Aquinas: they all have comparable concepts of what is good and bad human behaviour and what constitutes sensible human existence. Those of us wishing to discover suitable working principles can refer to Immanuel Kant, Max Weber or Hans Jonas. One way or the other, no one today can claim that there are no interesting impulses for appropriate ethical reflection. However, anyone who examines the current social and environmental situation...

  14. 10 BUSINESS VALUES: A STRATEGIC IMPERATIVE FOR THE COMING DECADES
    (pp. 203-222)
    Arthur Yeung and Jenny Yeung

    In the 1980s, research in business values and culture reached an unprecedented climax. Innumerable theoretical and empirical studies encompassing almost all researchable topics in business values and culture were conducted, focusing on such areas as definition issues, theoretical perspectives, methodological approaches, typological schemes, traits of successful values, organizational outcomes and the creation, development and change of business values (Allaire and Firsiroto 1984; Deal and Kennedy 1982; Gregory 1983; Hofstede et al. 1990; Kilmann et al. 1985; Louis 1985; Ouchi 1981; Ouchi and Wilkins 1985; Peters and Waterman 1982; Schein 1985; Smirich 1983). As succinctly expressed by Hofstede (1986: 253), since...

  15. 11 ETHICAL ATTITUDES TO BRIBERY AND EXTORTION
    (pp. 223-246)
    Jack Mahoney

    Bribery is a source of considerable concern in many quarters of the globe, as events and scandals in various countries in the last twenty years have shown. Reasons for its common ethical condemnation are examined, as well as attempts made by international agencies to outlaw the practice. A distinction is drawn between bribery and extortion, and conditions are explored under which payment of extortion may be considered morally justifiable. However, situations of social change or transition call for particular resistance to practices of bribery and extortion. Such resistance requires governments and businesses to take all possible practical measures within their...

  16. 12 BUSINESS VALUES AND EMBRYONIC INDUSTRY: LESSONS FROM AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 247-266)
    Stewart Clegg

    Embryonic industry is new and emerging. Its novelty lies in the application of distinctive practices to production, service or problem resolution in ways that are discontinuous with existing technologies, values, and knowledge. The root metaphor is that of an ‘embryo’. If there is not something that is new and discontinuous then there would be no new conception, nothing in embryo. At the core is innovation in products and processes. Innovation is not just technical; it is also organizational and managerial. Effective innovation harnesses technical innovation in products and processes to social systems that can manage, organize and deliver them to...

  17. 13 DEVELOPMENT IN THE UNDERDEVELOPED WORLD: A NEW CHALLENGE FOR BUSINESS ETHICS
    (pp. 267-288)
    John F. Quinn

    In recent years, the industrialized Western world has begun to realize the tremendous negative effects that its resource-consuming lifestyle and growth-centred economic policies have had on the environment. The issue of preventing further depletion of natural resources and maintaining conditions that allow human survival requires business to consider the position of the so-called Third World nations to achieve a solution to these problems as part of an integrated global strategy. Western approaches to development and sustaining a viable environment have received increased criticism from developing countries. However, the position taken by the world community in the United Nations’ Agenda 21...

  18. CONCLUSION: WHOSE BUSINESS VALUES?
    (pp. 289-304)
    Sally Stewart and William White

    The study of business values is a relatively new academic discipline; the first real debate on business values is usually considered to have taken place as late as 1904 with the Barbara Weinstock series of lectures, on the ‘Morals of Trade’, closely followed in 1908 by the Page Lectures at the Sheffield Scientific School, which purported to identify the main areas of the development of business which were in need of some form of ethical input. Commercial transactions and a concern for acceptable behaviour when undertaking them, however, undoubtedly characterized the earliest human societies. The penalties demanded for cheating in...

  19. INDEX
    (pp. 305-310)