A COMMENTARY ON Michael P. Levine and Jacqueline Boaks (2014), “What Does Ethics Have to do with Leadership?” J Bus Ethics 124:225-242.
Levine and Boaks criticize the extant leadership literature for misrepresenting the connection between ethics and leadership. They propose a definition that they claim is novel and based on Aristotelian virtue ethics. This commentary argues that this approach, while it is an interesting idea, is essentially un-Aristotelian and that other approaches, for instance Alejo Sison’s and Joanne Ciulla’s are not only closer to Aristotle, but also do not have the problems that the authors identify in the mainstream of the leadership literature.
To download the full PDF, click here: Schäfer and Hühn on Levine and Boaks
A COMMENTARY ON Thomas M. Jones and Will Felps (2013), “Shareholder Wealth Maximization and Social Welfare: A Utilitarian Critique” Bus Ethics Q 23(2): 207–238. http://doi.org/10.5840/beq201323215
Jones and Felps claim that social welfare would be enhanced, if corporate managers adopted the goal of directly improving the happiness of their stakeholders instead of profit maximization. I argue that their argument doesn’t establish this. They show that a utilitarian case for profit orientation cannot be made from the armchair. But neither can the case for Jones and Felps’ preferred alternative. Moreover, their defense of it relies on empirically unsubstantiated assumptions.
To download the full PDF, click here: von Kriegstein on Jones and Felps
A RESPONSE TO Daniel Layman (2016), “Expressive Objections to Markets: Normative, Not Symbolic”, Bus Ethics J Rev 4(1): 36–41.
Abstract: Daniel Layman’s “Expressive Objections to Markets: Normative, Not Symbolic” attempts to critique our recent paper debunking semiotic objections to commodification. Semiotic objections hold that commodifying certain goods and services is wrong because doing so expresses disrespect for the things in question. Layman claims instead that the problem is that such markets “embody” the “wrong norms” or the “wrong deliberative stance”. Given the length-requirements, we, at the moment, need to hear a lot more about the difference between “embodying” a norm, and expressing it. As far as we can tell at the moment, we’re suspicious that he might be begging the question, or just re-describing semiotic objections in a more obscure way.
To download the full PDF, click here: Brennan and Jaworski Respond to Layman.
A COMMENTARY ON Jason Brennan and Peter Jaworski (2015), “Markets Without Symbolic Limits,” Ethics 125(4): 1053–1077
Jason Brennan and Peter Jaworski reject expressive objections to markets on the grounds that (1) market symbolism is culturally contingent, and (2) contingent cultural symbols are less important than the benefits markets offer. I grant (1) and (2), but I deny that these points suffice as grounds to dismiss expressive critiques of markets. For many plausible expressive critiques of markets are not symbolic critiques at all. Rather, they are critiques grounded in the idea that some market transactions embody morally inappropriate normative stances toward the goods or services on offer.
To download the full PDF, click here: Layman on Brennan and Jaworski.
Welcome to 2016, and to Volume 4 of the Business Ethics Journal Review. Volume 4 signals that we are now in our 4th year of publication. The fact that our experiment in shaking up academic business ethics publication is still running at this point is encouraging, in an era in which online publishing still hasn’t entirely taken hold in academia.
2015 saw a number of exciting events for BEJR. In early 2015, the editors founded the Journal Review Foundation, a non-profit corporation that now acts as BEJR’s publisher. This move helps to ensure a stable future for BEJR, and provides a legal entity to own BEJR’s intellectual property in perpetuity. The Foundation also provides a framework within which to expand activities beyond BEJR. Within the next month, the Foundation will be publishing a book (a collection of essays on social justice), and we are currently in talks regarding starting a second journal.
The editors also founded, in March of 2015, Business Ethics Highlights, a news and opinion aggregator, which has so far received tremendous feedback. In order to highlight how useful BEH could be in the classroom, we also published two relevant guides: “How Instructors Can Use Business Ethics Highlights” and “How Students Can Use Business Ethics Highlights.”
2015 also marked our first formal appearance at the annual meeting of the Society for Business Ethics. The Journal Review Foundation (and naturally BEJR) had a table in the “book room” at SBE, and co-editor Chris MacDonald used the opportunity to hand out printed copies of BEJR commentaries and to explain BEJR’s distinctive model to attendees.
So far, it looks like 2016 is off to a good start: the editors have a number of items in the pipeline, and our first Commentary of the year — a commentary on a recently-published book — will go online within a week. So stay tuned!
BEJR publishes refereed commentaries—short essays of up to 2000 words addressing critically an aspect of a recently published business ethics journal article or book.
The Editors are especially interested in inviting commentaries aimed at the winner of, and finalists for, the Business Ethics Quarterly “Best Article 2014” prize. Those articles are:
- Winner: Tae Wan Kim, “Decent Termination: A Moral Case for Severance Pay,” Business Ethics Quarterly 24, 2 (2014): 203-227.
- Finalist: Joshua Preiss, “Global Labor Justice and the Limits of Economic Analysis,” Business Ethics Quarterly 24, 1 (2014): 55-83.
- Finalist: Pablo Garcia-Ruiz and Carlos Rodriguez-Lluesma, “Consumption Practices: A Virtue Ethics Approach,” Business Ethics Quarterly 24, 4 (2014): 509-531.
A COMMENTARY ON “The Inexorable Sociality of Commerce: The Individual and Others in Adam Smith,” by David Bevan and Patricia Werhane (J Bus Ethics 127(2)(2015): 327–335).
David Bevan and Patricia Werhane try to enlist Adam Smith’s support in countering the neoclassical narrative in business ethics and CSR. While I applaud their goal and also completely agree with their argument that Smith has been radically misinterpreted by the economics mainstream, I am not completely in agreement with how they argue. In short, I believe they also have uprooted Adam Smith and transformed him in parts into a 20th century philosopher. The 18th century Adam Smith would be a much more powerful advocate for ethics in business if he were accepted as the very eclectic 18th century philosopher that he was.
To download the full PDF, click here: Hühn on Bevan and Werhane.