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Journal of Religion and Business Ethics
Number of Followers: 3  

  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 2153-0319
Published by DePaul University Homepage  [4 journals]
  • The Relationship between Spirituality and Greed: Sex Matters

    • Authors: Alan G. Walker et al.
      Abstract: Abstract Organizational malfeasance is oftentimes attributed to greed (Hansen & Movahedi, 2010). Such attributions appear appropriate given recent research demonstrating relationships between greed and shareholder return (Hayes et al., 2017). However, research exploring antecedents of greed is scant. We explored one such antecedent by examining the relationship between participants’ spirituality and a trait measure of greed. Results indicated that individuals’ spirituality explained unique variance in greed above that variance explained by sex (being a male) and college major (being a business major) - which have well-established relationships with unethical outcomes. This finding suggests that (a) spirituality was a precursor to dispositional greed, and (b) spirituality is important in scholarly attempts to explain organizational greed. Results further indicated that sex and spirituality interacted such that spiritual females reported significantly lower levels of greed than less spiritual females, while spirituality made no difference for males. The significance of these findings is discussed.
      PubDate: Tue, 11 Oct 2022 06:25:37 PDT
  • Towards a Normative Philosophical Foundation for Management: Contributions
           from the Catholic Faith Tradition

    • Authors: Christina Kheng
      Abstract: In recent years, there have been increasing efforts to improve management in the Catholic Church. Whilst positive outcomes have been observed, a key challenge is that the accompanying pastoral education and resource materials sometimes conflict with the Church’s theological tradition particularly regarding human work, ethics, and the view of reality. This article notes that a wider debate exists over the principles, effectiveness, and even legitimacy of management per se. It argues that the road to resolution has to begin at the level of philosophical foundations, and that this can be normative for management in both Church and society. An outline of such a foundation is offered by drawing from the Catholic faith tradition while also noting resonant views outside the Church. The article highlights how this foundation helps to address current debates in the field while also reorienting management principles to be more in line with the real, true, and good.
      PubDate: Thu, 28 Oct 2021 05:46:28 PDT
  • Sin in Business and Business in Sin: Negative Externalities, Total
           Depravity, and Freedom from Perfection

    • Authors: Kathryn D. Blanchard
      Abstract: It is not difficult to find examples of sin in business. These include blatant individual sins like theft or fraud, as well as larger systemic failures such as negative social and ecological externalities. It is a task of Christian business ethics to address such failures, but we invariably come up against problems that defy easy solutions, no matter how scrupulously we try to root them out. This is because business itself—like all human life—exists under conditions of sin. The Calvinist notion of total depravity reframes “sin in business” as “business in sin,” necessitating greater humility about the possibility of good business, and even good business ethics. Critics of traditional accounting methods and shareholder models of business point toward this broader framework. Once we accept that no person, firm, or system is ever truly good, we find reason to question our usual assumptions and sources of wisdom, to look to new conversation partners for creative solutions, and to rely on grace in our ongoing efforts at reform, rather than on our own understanding.
      PubDate: Thu, 05 Aug 2021 11:10:42 PDT
  • Fides et Ratio: Saint John Paul II on the Ground of Business Ethics

    • Authors: Jim Wishloff
      Abstract: The question of the proper conduct of business is probed by undertaking an in-depth examination of Saint John Paul II’s encyclical Fides et Ratio in conjunction with the entire corpus of Catholic social thought. Business culture arising from the understanding of reality offered by a philosophy of being and Christian revelation is contrasted with that developed out of the modern mind’s rejection of the synthesis of faith and reason.
      PubDate: Sun, 13 Jun 2021 19:30:56 PDT
  • Greed, Self-Interest and Business Ethics – A Comparative Discussion
           of Gandhi and Novak

    • Authors: Daniel Cheung et al.
      Abstract: Today it is commonly believed that capitalism is driven by greed. However, greed is condemned by various religious traditions. In this paper we compare how Mahatma Gandhi, a Hindu, and Michael Novak, a Catholic, see the possibilities of engaging in competitive business practice without the motive of greed. This discussion suggests a need to distinguish greed from self-interest. We therefore analyze whether it makes a difference in moral evaluation to claim that the real driving force of capitalism is self-interest but not greed. Our analysis makes use of the rational-care theory of self-interest developed by Stephen Darwall, the discussion of which has been absent in the business ethics literature. Our conclusion is that there is a quantitative but not qualitative difference between the two.
      PubDate: Wed, 13 Jan 2021 11:31:10 PST
  • Sin and the Hacker Ethic: The Tragedy of Techno-Utopian Ideology in
           Cyberspace Business Cultures

    • Authors: Bruce D. Baker
      Abstract: This article traces the course of idealistic thinking in the “hacker ethic” of the computer industry, with the aim of diagnosing the unfortunate lapses in business ethics that can ensue from idealistic thinking. Several Silicon Valley companies are mentioned, but Facebook is the prime example, simply because they are the biggest target and clearest example of bad ethics. The original “hacker ethic” was founded on admirable ideals, but the problem occurs when these ideals are used to rationalize a self-serving ideology. Facebook’s history shows how idealistic thinking can become embedded in a business culture. As an antidote to the ethical lapses that may befall such idealistic thinking, this paper argues that the biblical notion of sin can help diagnose the problem and suggest corrective measures. The paper analyzes the corruptive patterns of sin in cyber-tech businesses and closes with practical guidance for business practitioners.
      PubDate: Tue, 13 Oct 2020 09:28:30 PDT
  • Higher Education Industry Consolidation: Where Does it Leave Students'

    • Authors: Todd M. Inouye Ph.D. et al.
      Abstract: Mount Ida College, operating as a private non-profit higher education institution, permanently closed on May 17, 2018 after giving six weeks of notice to its existing and recently accepted students. Mount Ida College had two campuses, a small one in Foxboro, Massachusetts and its main campus in Newton, Massachusetts. The Newton campus was sold to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and students in good standing were offered automatic acceptance to UMass Dartmouth. Soon afterwards a class action lawsuit was filed by students against Mount Ida College, the Board of Trustees, and seven college administrators based on seven legal claims: breach of fiduciary duty, violation of privacy, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, fraud in the inducement, breach of contract, and violation of Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 93A (law that protects and defends consumers and prohibits a business or individual from taking part in deceptive, devious, or unfair acts or practices). Contract law and fiduciary duty in the United States arise from what is called common law and is a carryover from old English law. Does a non-profit college or university owe a contractual and/or a fiduciary duty to its students' The case was dismissed at the trial level stating that the students did not have any valid cause of action in this case. The appellate court affirmed the lower court decision. In so affirming, the U.S. Court of Appeals 1st Circuit ruled that students have no contractual claim and that the College and Board of Trustees owes no fiduciary duty to the students. This case raises an interesting question. What duties does an academic institution of higher learning have to its students' The 1st Circuit was clear in affirming the lower court decision to dismiss this case, affirming that students are not owed an actionable fiduciary duty and have no contract or tort claims against the school. In addition, the case also lays out the possible strategic options for Mount Ida College and discusses if selling the campus was the best choice for the institution.
      PubDate: Wed, 02 Sep 2020 07:26:05 PDT
  • Wesley, ‘Holy Tempers’, and Commercial Practice

    • Authors: Kevin J. Brown
      Abstract: In the early 18th Century, it was satirist Bernard Mandeville who suggested that private vice led to public virtue. More specifically, baser human qualities such as avarice, greed, envy, and pride were said to mobilize the industrial forces in a manner that spurred economic growth and efficiency, an outcome seemingly beneficial to all. While few would argue for vice on such terms today, this article suggests that a neo-Mandevillian argument has found its way into our present context. This argument contends that it is virtue, not vice, that actually services economic growth. Importantly, this manner for animating virtue maintains the same utilitarian essence as Mandeville’s original justification for vice. Here, we may helpfully turn to the theology of John Wesley, who provides a teleological argument for heart holiness and heavenly “fitness” that challenges the various utilitarian rationalizations commonly invoked in today’s commercial marketplace. Wesley’s unique theological perspective provides a more faithful means to navigate market complexities, as believers are called to orient themselves to a heavenly reality that moderates our commercial practice without abandoning human creativity, industriousness, or business sensibility.
      PubDate: Thu, 26 Mar 2020 13:06:27 PDT
  • Pacioli, Popes, and the Bottom Billion: A Timeless Perspective on Economic

    • Authors: Charles J. Coate et al.
      Abstract: In 1494 Luca Pacioli, Franciscan friar, published Summa de Arithmetica Geometria Proportioni et Proportionalita (The Summa). Simply put, The Summa was an early business textbook comprised of five sections; four of mathematics and one of bookkeeping (or accounting). A textbook written to support the economic development of the common person of 1500 Italy. Today developing nations still struggle with economic (often low) growth. Especially impacted are the bottom billion, those who are still largely impoverished. Consequently, a debate over foreign aid has emerged. This debate centers on methods rather than objectives and is often characterized by the contrasting approaches. The books of Sachs (The End of Poverty, 2005) and Easterly (The White Man’s Burden, 2006) serve as a classic contrast of solution perspectives.This paper suggests a significant contribution to the economic development (aid) solution in the 500-year-old work of Luca Pacioli with its focus on developing human capital. The problems faced by an evolving merchant-based economy in 16th century Italy are surprisingly similar to those of contemporary developing economies, including the socially positive impacts of business and education’s role therein. Pacioli lists the elements of business success as access to capital (financing, mathematical and accounting skills), ability to model business and make business decisions, and an appropriate accounting system (“Venetian” or double entry bookkeeping). This paper argues these fundamentals are as important today and they were 500 years ago and considers them in the context of today’s emerging economies. In addition, Pacioli’s work integrates well with both various economic development theories and Catholic Social Teaching.
      PubDate: Tue, 18 Feb 2020 15:35:55 PST
  • The Business of Double-Effect: The Ethics of Bankruptcy Protection and the
           Principle of Double-Effect

    • Authors: Henry S. Kuo
      Abstract: After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, most legacy airlines filed for bankruptcy protection as a way to cut costs drastically, with the exception of American Airlines. This article applies the Principle of Double-Effect to the act of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for reasons of management strategy, in particular, cost-cutting. It argues that the Principle can be a useful tool for discerning the ethicality of the action, and demonstrates the usefulness by proposing three double-effect criteria that, when fulfilled, argues for the ethical justifiability the action in question.
      PubDate: Fri, 10 Jan 2020 20:31:00 PST
  • Greed, a Forgotten Vice'

    • Authors: Kwok Tung Cheung
      Abstract: There is a surprising lack of discussion on greed in business ethics. Whether in popular textbooks or in the literature, there is hardly any philosophical explication of greed. In this paper, I investigate the popular idea that greedy people desire more and more, the Christian idea of avarice as in the seven deadly sins, and Aristotle’s idea of pleonexia which has incorporated a condition of justice. These three different ideas are respectively psychological, metaphysical and socio-political. I propose the three of them should be integrated to give a concept of greed that is relevant and useful in the contemporary world in which business and capitalism are ubiquitous.
      PubDate: Tue, 22 Oct 2019 09:06:22 PDT
  • Progress and Redemption: A Jewish Values Critique of Steven Pinker's
           "Enlightenment Now"

    • Authors: Moses L. Pava Dr.
      Abstract: Progress and Redemption:A Jewish Values Critique of Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment NowABSTRACTSteven Pinker’s book, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, tells a provocative story. The central thesis is that about three hundred years ago human values and practices began to coalesce in ways that have allowed humans to live longer, healthier, safer, and more productive lives. Particularly convincing to the reader are the measured data and informative tables Pinker uses throughout the text to illustrate and to confirm his story of exponential human progress. He tracks the changes to a broad set of variables, across scores of domains, over hundreds of years.The Jewish values critique is based on an examination of two ancient Jewish practices: Sabbath observance and the performance of acts of loving-kindness. This critique does not nullify Pinker’s deeper message about the meaning of science, but it does suggest that Pinker’s view, while necessary is not sufficient for living a fully human life. A more encompassing and useful narrative than Pinker’s would include the practice of science as a legitimate source of human meaning and values among many other practices, including those legitimated outside of a scientific paradigm. Unlike Pinker’s either/or story, the story I want to tell here is both/and.In Section I, the paper summarizes the most important criticisms that have been lodged at Pinker. In Section II, I argue that despite these criticisms, Pinker’s general story survives the onslaught. In Section III, I offer a more encompassing narrative that includes Pinker’s story but, based on a Jewish values critique, offers a more inclusive perspective on the search for human meaning in what often does seem like an indifferent universe.
      PubDate: Mon, 02 Sep 2019 18:59:22 PDT
  • Addressing the Anthropology of Business Ethics: Insights from Catholic
           Social Thought

    • Authors: Stephanie Ann Y. Puen
      Abstract: This paper proposes an alternate anthropology as seen in the Vocation of a Business Leader, a document on business and Catholic social thought, which responds to the question of what good economics and business ethics is, and the Economy of Communion, that seeks to live such an anthropology out concretely in business. This anthropology is grounded in an understanding of the human being that focuses on relationality, the common good, solidarity, and subsidiarity, which undergirds a communitarian model of business. Such a communitarian model of business is more line with the public’s expectation of business as a social force for the common good, rather than the common perception of business as primarily profit driven or extremely individualistic.
      PubDate: Wed, 07 Aug 2019 08:38:12 PDT
  • Journeying from Economic Violence toward Justice

    • Authors: Jessica L. Imanaka et al.
      Abstract: This paper takes the two fundamental issues identified by Pope Francis in Evangelii Guadium (EG) and developed in Laudato Si’ (LS), “the inclusion of the poor in society, and …peace and social dialogue” (EG 185) as the central concerns to be addressed. Pope Francis’ writings invite inquiry into the nature and potentials of states and markets, structural dimensions of justice, global systems and economic violence. This study explores the nature of economic violence and how economic systems might be organized to promote or reduce violence. Following Charles Clark’s account of Francis’ characterization of poverty and economy in terms of exclusion and their linkage to violence, we here explore the deeper meaning of economic violence and how inclusion, peace, and dialogue may address these evils. In so doing, we ground Francis’ view of the economy in the Catholic anthropology that undergirds it. We show that an analysis of liberation theology will serve to illuminate some of Francis’ approaches to economic violence. We highlight some of the insights from the economics discipline that develops possible responses to problems of global injustice and economic violence. These insights invite questions about the relevance of CST to real world problems pertaining to economy, violence and justice. Yet, when economic paradigms of justice are viewed carefully through the lens of CST, certain tensions continue to loom large, particularly regarding assumptions of freedom and anthropology. These tensions are particularly salient in the Latin American context, especially when liberation theology is brought to bear on an analysis of libertarian economics. At the same time, we will suggest that the methodologies of liberation theology may serve to enrich CST in a direction that serves to make these tensions more productive.
      PubDate: Fri, 21 Jun 2019 00:53:42 PDT
  • Academic Service Learning and Society: From Individual to Institutional

    • Authors: Niall Hegarty et al.
      Abstract: This paper examines how Academic Service Learning (ASL) has gone from being an initiative by individual faculty to being institutionalized by universities as means to promote learning, pursue mission, and impact society. It outlines various uses of ASL by individual faculty and examines its progression into a university sponsored service-learning vessel of vision and mission. Its use acknowledges the interconnectedness of universities and society and emphasizes the need and obligation that universities feel, or should feel, in contributing to the betterment of the world we live in. In terms of being a university-sponsored initiative it highlights its use in the business curriculum of a large university in the northeast United States. This article recommends that ASL is an easily instituted method of teaching in many disciplines and is of benefit to multiple constituents both internally and externally to academic institutions.
      PubDate: Fri, 21 Jun 2019 00:53:30 PDT
  • Of Vice and Virtue: Religious and Moral Rhetoric in the Business Press and
           the Economic Crisis

    • Authors: Eric Patton
      Abstract: Theologians have noted that there are links that exist between religion and business in terms of terminology and imagery. Researchers in business ethics have regularly highlighted religion as a lens through which ethics issues can be understood. Researchers in social psychology have underlined the role of religion for coping with tragedy and uncertainty. The purpose of this study is to bridge these three ideas by exploring religious and moral rhetoric surrounding the financial crisis of the late 2000s. Through a content analysis of news stories in the New York Times concerning the economy and finance, this study demonstrates that in times of economic crisis, the use of religious terms increases as compared to times of prosperity.
      PubDate: Tue, 22 Jan 2019 08:09:13 PST
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