Papers

Spirituality-inspired Creativity in Business

Laszlo Zsolnai, & Katalin Illes 'Spirituality-inspired Creativity in Business.' International Journal of Social Economics, 2017, vol.44, no. 2, pp. 195-205

The paper investigates the relation of spirituality and creativity in business context. It  presents practical examples of spiritual-based creative business models in different faith traditions (Hinduism, Christianity and Anthroposophy).  The authors argue that spirituality and a deep sense of connectedness are essential to enhance creativity and care in business. Spirituality creates free space and openness to allow the future to emerge organically. It creates a distance between the self and the pressures of the market and the routines of business and daily life. This distance is a necessary condition for developing creative, ethical and responsible solutions to the complex challenges around us.

The Effect of the Belief in Free Market Ideology on Redressing Corporate Injustice

Peter Kardos, Bernhard Leidner, Laszlo Zsolnai, & Emanuele Castano 'The Effect of the Belief in Free Market Ideology on Redressing Corporate Injustice.' European Journal of Social Psychology, 2016

Many people in the major Western economies (e.g., United States, UK, and Germany) subscribe to free market ideology (FMI),which claims that institutional oversight of the market is unnecessary for public reaction can force corporations to regulate their own behavior. The question then becomes how people’s belief in FMI affects their reactions to corporate transgressions. Given its ingroup-centered values, we hypothesized that FMI beliefs would bias reactions to corporate transgressions. We report results of a pilot study showing that FMI beliefs are predicted by selfishness, tradition, conformity, and lack of universalism. We then report three experiments, which showed that stronger FMI beliefs predict weaker demands to redress corporate injustices committed by ingroup (but not outgroup) corporations (Studies 1–3), especially when victims of corporate wrongdoings belong to an outgroup (rather than the ingroup; Study 3). The findings inform our conceptual understanding of FMI and give insights about its implications for market justice.

Buddhism and Economic Development

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Buddhism and Economic Development.' , in Teaching Buddhism, eds. Todd Lewis, and Gary DeAngelis, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2016.

Buddhist Economics is not the same as Economics of Buddhism. The former is a modern discourse that utilizes elements of Buddhist thought to construct an alternative model of the economy and the latter is a study of how Buddhists organize their econimic life in real-world social settings, past or present. Buddhist Economics is essentially a normative enterprise while Economics of Buddhism is a descriptive endeavor.

Moral Disengagement: How People Do Harm and Live with Themselves by Albert Bandura

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Moral Disengagement: How People Do Harm and Live with Themselves by Albert Bandura.' Business Ethics Quarterly, 2016

Bandura discovered a number of psycho-social mechanisms by which moral control can be selectively disengaged from detrimental conduct. These mechanisms of moral disengagement enable otherwise considerate people to commit transgressive acts without experiencing personal distress and guilt. People “fool themselves” in order to “fool others”. In his book Bandura extensively documents how moral disengagement mechanisms are at work in major spheres of life in the USA and beyond: gun manufacturers, the entertainment industry, tobacco companies, finance and banking, terrorism, climate science and more. The large body of evidence presented by Bandura has important implications for the naive belief that the market will provide sufficient incentives to encourage morally responsible conduct.

Questions and Themes in Ethics and Leadership

Madhumita Chatterji, & Laszlo Zsolnai 'Questions and Themes in Ethics and Leadership.' , in Ethical Leadership. Indian and European Spiritual Approaches., eds. Madhumita Chatterji, and Laszlo Zsolnai, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2016.

The exchange of ideas between India and Europe about economics and politics dates back centuries. The most important figures in this regard include John Ruskin, Leo Tolstoy, Rabindranath Tagore and M.K. Gandhi. However, the modern India-Europe dialogue on the spiritual and ethical basis of management and leadership started in the late 20th century. 

The authors firmly believe that, without deep spiritual reflection, business leaders will not be able to contribute to restoring the endangered ecosystems of the Earth, or to providing decent livelihoods for present and future generations. The good news is that there are vast resources of long-accumulated, Indian and European spiritual wealth and wisdom which are available for immediate use in this urgent task of transformation.

Responsible Leadership and Reasonable Action

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Responsible Leadership and Reasonable Action.' , in Ethical Leadership. Indian and European Spiritual Approaches , eds. Madhumita Chatterji, and Laszlo Zsolnai, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2016.

Responsible leadership is a scarce resource in business and public administration today. Trust in leaders worldwide is dramatically decreasing as they are not able to prove that they are serving the common good. Rather, they are perceived by the public to be pursuing their own selfish goals and those of their organizations. The mainstream leadership model of business and public organizations should be renewed to reestablish the trust of the public and to ensure these entities succeed in tandem with their stakeholders.

Lessons for the Future for India and Europe

Laszlo Zsolnai, & Madhumita Chatterji 'Lessons for the Future for India and Europe .' , in Ethical Leadership. Indian and European Spiritual Approaches, eds. Madhumita Chatterji, and Laszlo Zsolnai, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2016.

The authors are convinced that spirituality is not incompatible with rationality or real-world economic, social and environmental analysis. Ethical leaders can employ the best available scientific knowledge to execute their own spiritual-based plans and policies. India and Europe should embrace their own noble traditions and seek to cross-fertilize one another to foster a state of sustainability, peace and well-being. The key is to overcome the pre-existing dominantly materialistic value orientation of society and the ego-centeredness of individuals and thereby come closer to a state of transcendence and oneness. Gandhi and Albert Schweitzer have shown the way.

Ethics Education of Business Leaders. Emotional Intelligence, Virtues, and Contemplative Learning

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Ethics Education of Business Leaders. Emotional Intelligence, Virtues, and Contemplative Learning.' Journal of Management, Spirituality and Religion, 2016

How can business schools educate future business leaders to make ethical decisions? This is really a challenge as business schools focus on one-dimensional rationality and cognitive intelligence. They teach the “Homo oeconomicus” model and related
theories (agency theory, profit, or shareholder maximization) which promote individual, selfinterested behavior. Not unsurprisingly business schools produce graduates who are more selfish and morally disengaged than non-business graduates (Grant 2013). Today, there is a strong imbalance in business education between teaching abstract, rational concepts, and providing opportunities for personal, moral growth.

Art-based Business

Laszlo Zsolnai, & Doirean Wilson 'Art-based Business.' Journal of Cleaner Production, 2016, vol. 135, pp. 1534-1538

The paper argues that with its exclusive focus on profit-making, modern-day businesses tend to violate the integrity and diversity of natural ecosystems, the autonomy and culture of local communities and the chance that future generations will lead a decent life. The core of the metaphysics of modern-day business is what Martin Heidegger calls “calculative thinking”. It is contrasted with poetic thinking represented by genuine art.

To preserve nature and to satisfy human needs, gentle, careful ways of undertaking economic activities are needed. The paper analyses the cases of Illy Café and Brunello Cucinelli as art-based companies to show that art can inspire business to become more aesthetic organization engaged in socio-ecological value creation and the enrichment of  the quality of life.

The Failure of Business Ethics

Zsolt Boda, & Laszlo Zsolnai 'The Failure of Business Ethics.' Society and Business Review, 2016, vol.11, no. 1, pp. 93-104

This paper investigates the systemic causes of the failure of business ethics (BE) and suggest some possible remedies. The discipline and the movement of BE has at least three decades of history. BE has developed concepts and theories, and provided empirical evidences. However, BE as a movement and as a practice has failed to deliver the expected results. The paper uses results from management ethics, moral psychology and corporate governance to analyze the underlying causes of corporate unethical behavior. It is argued that the failure of BE is deeply rooted in today’s corporation-ruled business world. BE has failed to realize systemic features of modern business and therefore missed its target. The social, ethical and environmental problems caused by corporations may require a different kind of treatment based on law, politics and social institutions. The paper uses models outside ethics to help business organizations to become more ethical in their functioning.