The Role of Ethics in Business Evolution
Reconciling works of Managerial Literature, Business Ethics Writer and Catholic Social Teaching, Domènec Melé argued that a firm should be considered as a wholesome person and suggested the ethical implications of his view (Melé, 2012). The concept that a firm should be regarded as a legal person, and not just a profit seeking entity, was brought forth by the House of Lords in the (Salomon v. A. Salomon & Co. Ltd., 1897) case, paving the way for modern firms. Melé’s argument was revolutionary in that he considered the firm a wholesome person, bearing moral responsibilities for communities that it may potentially affect. This response paper aims ...view middle of the document...
However, the idea that individuals will place the firm’s interest above theirs could have been more compelling. Apart from quoting numerous papers, Melé included a case study on Southwest Airlines done by Jody Gittell in 2003 to provide evidence on this behaviour. Gittell’s case showed how the employees of the firm, from management to front-line workers, cared for each other and placed the interests of others within the same community above theirs. Nonetheless, it is only one case study against many scandals such as Enron, Worldcom and the 2008 Chinese Milk Scandal. However, Southwest Airlines differ from Enron et al. in that relationship with employees is one of their two main commitments. The other commitment is the relationship with customers. Probing further, I came to pass with a causality dilemma. Should we regard a firm a human community because it values relationship or should we require firms to value relationships and hence, ethics, because it is a human community.
Fortunately for me, the next part of Melé’s paper uses the latter to convince and challenge managers of firms to change their management philosophy to the one based on the “community of persons” model. It begins with discussing what it means to be a community, and later on, a “community of persons”, and then concludes with the ethical implications.
In the Managerial Literature section of the paper, cooperation is being emphasized as the ideal core of management. Power-with management and transformational leadership, both considered paradigms of management, pivots around cooperation. Solomon, a Business Ethics writer, stated that working interrelations will determine the efficiency of the organisation. Personally, I agree with his view and I think that it is value adding relationships that creates value adding activities. Thus, efficiency of the activities in the organisation depends on the efficiency of the relationships.
Philosophically, being a community means helping people you associate with, empathising with them. Melé accepts the Aristotle’s view that humans came together not for the sake of self-interests, but for the preservation of another’s interest that would contribute for the common good. The common good will upheld will protect every individual’s self interest in the community.
The three types of unifying relationships, utilitarian, emotional and virtuous, presented yet another view of human interactions (Melé, 2012). I think there is a fair chance that the reasonable person would regard a utilitarian approach as self-serving, and emotional as altruistic by virtue of the words used. In fact, the author meant it the other way round. Utilitarian involves working with others towards a common goal for the utility of the community, and thus, is not entirely self-serving in nature. A virtuous relationship brings about a common goal for the common good of the community, and since there is a chance that the common good will benefit the individual, albeit...