A COMMENTARY ON Schleper, M., C. Blome, and D. Wuttke, D. (2015), “The Dark Side of Buyer Power: Supplier Exploitation and the Role of Ethical Climates,” J Bus Ethics 140(1): 97-114. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-015-2681-6
Schleper, Blome, and Wuttke attempt to use just price theory to define exploitation. According to the authors, a competitive market equilibrium defines a just price. When certain asymmetries in bargaining power exist, trading at any lower price constitutes unethical exploitation. I argue that a competitive market equilibrium does not provide a price that could be considered just by their own standards, and thus fails to ground a theory of exploitation.
To download the full PDF, click here: Kline on Schleper
William Kline, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Business Administration at University of Illinois, Springfield. His personal website is here.
A COMMENTARY ON Abraham Singer (2016), “Justice Failure: Efficiency and Equality in Business Ethics,” J Bus Ethics OnlineFirst, http://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3086-x
In a recent critique of the so-called “market failures approach” (MFA) to business ethics Abraham Singer maintains that business firms have ethical responsibilities to voluntarily restrain their profit-seeking activities in accordance with the demands of justice. While I ultimately share Singer’s intuition that the MFA has overlooked the importance of justice in business ethics, I argue that he has not presented a fully adequate case to explain why justice-related responsibilities should be assigned to business firms. I conclude by offering a brief – and supportive – alternative to his position.
To download the full PDF, click here: Smith on Singer
A COMMENTARY ON Abraham Singer (2015), “There Is No Rawlsian Theory of Corporate Governance,” Bus Ethics Q 25(1): 65–92 http://doi.org/10.1017/beq.2015.1
Abraham Singer argues that Rawlsian theories of justice cannot apply to corporate governance and business ethics. On Singer’s view, Rawls regards business corporations as voluntary associations outside of the basic structure, which is the only site where justice applies. In this comment, we show the importance of Rawlsian theory to central questions of corporate governance. The corporation should be considered part of the basic structure, because it is part of society’s system of productive social cooperation. Rawls’ proposal for a property-owning democracy also raises crucial corporate governance issues concerning the proper owners of the firm, and the separation of ownership and control.
To download the full PDF, click here: Welch & Ly on Singer
A COMMENTARY ON Vivi Storsletten and Ove Jakobsen (2015), “Development of Leadership Theory in the Perspective of Kierkegaard’s Philosophy,” J Bus Ethics 128(2): 337–349, http://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-014-2106-y
Storsletten and Jakobsen (2015) try to integrate the instrumental, responsible, and spiritual positions in leadership studies with Kierkegaard’s aesthetic, ethical, and religious modes of existence. Their combination of leadership theory and Kierkegaardian thought, however, seems deeply problematic. In particular, the instrumental-aesthetic and responsible-ethical connections appear weak or at least significantly underdeveloped, and the spiritual-religious connection seems logically inconsistent.
To download the full PDF, click here: Zakhem on Storsletten & Jakobsen
A COMMENTARY ON Joseph Heath (2014), Morality, Competition, and the Firm: The Market Failures Approach to Business Ethics (New York: Oxford)
In defense of his Market Failures Approach to business ethics Joseph Heath relies on an understanding of business as essentially oriented towards competition and profit maximization. In these remarks I defend an alternative understanding of business that is centered on the creation of valuable goods and services. It is preferable because it: (a) creates less pressure to take advantage of vulnerable stakeholders, (b) can readily recognize “beyond compliance” norms that do not relate to efficiency, (c) provides a more meaningful framework for people who work in and with corporations, (d) may mitigate negative moral impacts outside the market, and (e) better captures the range of what actually counts as business activity.
To download the full PDF, click here: Silver on Heath
A RESPONSE TO James Stacey Taylor (2016), “What Limits Should Markets be Without?”, Bus Ethics J Rev 4(7): 41–46.
Abstract: James Stacey Taylor offers three interpretations of our thesis, and argues that only one of them goes through. His point is to clarify our view rather than critique our position. In this brief response, we argue that, upon further clarification, we could endorse at least one of the other interpretations, though as Taylor notes, we don’t need to for our book’s thesis to go through.
To download the full PDF, click here: Brennan and Jaworski Respond to Taylor.
A RESPONSE TO Aimee Barbeau (2016), “Deliberative Democracy and Corporate Governance”, Bus Ethics J Rev 4(6): 34–40.
Abstract: Aimee Barbeau advances a thoughtful critique of my article, “The Connection Between Stakeholder Theory and Stakeholder Democracy: An Excavation and Defense.” Although Barbeau does much to push forward the debate about corporate governance, she does it without undermining my thesis. For what Barbeau has shown is not that stakeholder theorists should not endorse stakeholder boards of directors, but that they should also endorse other ways for stakeholders to participate in decision-making processes within firms.
To download the full PDF, click here: Moriarty Responds to Barbeau