Papers

Respect for Future Generations

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Respect for Future Generations.' , in Respect and Economic Democracy, eds. Luk Bouckaert, and Paquale Arena, Grant, Antwerp/Appeldom, 2010. (This book may be available at: European SPES Forum)

Activities of present generations may affect the fate of future generations for the better or for the worse. What we do with our natural and cultural heritage mainly determines the way future generations may live their own life in the future. We as presently living human beings have an undeniable moral responsibility toward future human beings.The paper presents a methodology for assessing the impacts of present generations on the prospects of future generations.

The Collaborative Enterprise Framework

Antonio Tencati, & Laszlo Zsolnai 'The Collaborative Enterprise Framework.' , in The Collaborative Enterprise: Creating Values for a Sustainable World, eds. Antonio Tencati, and Laszlo Zsolnai, Peter Lang Academic Publishers, Oxford, 2010.

The paper aims to explore collaborative ways of doing business where enterprises seek to build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with all stakeholders and want to produce sustainable values for their whole business ecosystems.  Based on the arguments developed by the Group of Lisbon, chaired by Riccardo Petrella, and the late London Business School professor Sumantra Ghoshal, we criticize the one-dimensional pursuit of competitiveness of contemporary business. We think that the exclusive focus on monetary results (especially short-term shareholder value) is detrimental for nature, society and future generations, and finally for business itself.  The strength and sustainability of enterprises come from their ability to fit into the environmental, social and cultural context in which they function. By creating values for all stakeholders, enterprises can involve them and gain deep support based on their commitment.

Community Supported Agriculture

Laszlo Zsolnai, & Laszlo Podmaniczky 'Community Supported Agriculture.' , in The Collaborative Enterprise: Creating Values for a Sustainable World, eds. Antonio Tencati, and Laszlo Zsolnai, Peter Lang Academic Publishers, Oxford, 2010.

The paper shows the overall failure of competitiveness-oriented modern agribusiness, which produces low quality food and generates detrimental effects on nature, human health, and society. Community-supported agriculture presents a major alternative to unsustainable modern agribusiness. Ecological sustainability and social integration require strict limitations on both the supply and demand sides of economic activities.

Beyond Competitiveness

Laszlo Zsolnai, & Antonio Tencati 'Beyond Competitiveness.' , in The Collaborative Enterprise: Creating Values for a Sustainable World, eds. Antonio Tencati, and Laszlo Zsolnai, Peter Lang Academic Publisher, Oxford, 2010.

The paper argues that economics is rightly called a "dismal science." It propagates a negativistic view of human nature. In this view economic agents are always self-interested and want to maximize their own profit or utility. Their interactions are based on competition only and their criterion of success is growth measured in money terms. Mainstream economics generates vicious circles in which market players expect the worst from others and act accordingly. Competitive economics produces an enormous abundance of goods and services but at an intolerable environmental and social cost.  If we want to get closer to a sustainable world we need to generate virtuous circles in economic life where good dispositions, good behavior and good expectations reinforce each other.

Environmental Ethics for Business Sustainability

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Environmental Ethics for Business Sustainability.' Corvinus University of Budapest "Társadalmi Megújulás Operatív Program" TÁMOP-4-2.1.B-09/1/KMR- 2010-0005

The paper derives operational principles from environmental ethics for business organizations in order to achieve sustainability. Business affects the natural environment at different levels. Individual biological creatures are affected by business via hunting, fishing, agriculture, animal testing, etc. Natural ecosystems are affected by business via mining, regulating rivers, building, polluting the air, water and land, etc. The Earth as a whole is affected by business via exterminating species, contributing to climate change, etc. Business has a natural, non-reciprocal responsibility toward natural beings affected by its functioning.

Self-realization in Business: Ibsen's Peer Gynt

Knut Ims, & Laszlo Zsolnai 'Self-realization in Business: Ibsen's Peer Gynt.' , in Heroes and Anti-heroes. European Literature and the Ethics of Leadership, eds. Rita Ghesquiere, and Knut Ims, Garant, Antwerp-Apeldoom, 2010. (This book may be available at: European SPES Forum)

The paper takes Henrik Ibsen’s dramatic poem Peer Gynt as a point of departure to discuss what does self-realization in business mean from a moral point of view. Does it mean to realize one’s faculties in a virtue ethics sense, performing excellent actions? Or does it mean to use one’s faculties in order to gain power, prestige and money? Methodologically we will take excerpts from the poem and try to illustrate some of its implications for modern-day business leadership. We believe that this anti-romantic poem may give interesting clues that might illuminate important aspects about the human condition in general and in business in particular.

Ethics, Competitiveness and the Sustainability of Companies

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Ethics, Competitiveness and the Sustainability of Companies.' Journal of Creativity and Innovation, 2010, vol.3, no. 1, pp. 15-32

The paper addresses the problem of the relationship between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and competitiveness of companies. It argues that an exclusive focus on competitiveness is self-defeating. It also shows that the opportunistic use of CSR might be counter-productive. Evidences are presented that ethical behavior can survive in highly competitive markets, which provides new meaning of competitiveness. The paper describes how a number of progressive, socially responsible firms have prospered in competitive environments by forming commitments among owners, managers and employees and by establishing trust relationships with customers and subcontractors. Durable and mutually beneficial of relationships with all the stakeholders are the key of the sustainability of companies.

Ethics needs spirituality

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Ethics needs spirituality.' , in Spirituality and Business. Exploring Possibilities for a New Management Paradigm , eds. Sharda S. Nandram, and Margot Esther Borden, Springer, Heidelberg, Dordrect, London, New York, 2010. (This book may be available at: Springer)

The article argues that ethics needs spirituality as an underlying background and as a major motivational force.  Ethical initiatives in business fail if they are not based on genuine ethical commitments. Serving the well-being of communities, nature and future generations requires authentic care, which may develop from experiential one-ness with others and with the universal source of creation.

Business as a Profession

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Business as a Profession.' , in The Future International Manager: A Vision of the Roles and Duties of Management , eds. Laszlo Zsolnai, and Antonio Tencati, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. (This book may be available at: Amazon)

The irresponsible and insensitive behavior of business leaders worldwide shows that business is an underprofessionalized occupation today. Occupations are defined as professions to the degree to which they serve society. Unless managers demonstrate that they serve the common good  in their daily practice, the legitimacy and moral standing of the business profession remain questionable.

Engaging in Progressive Enterpreneurship

Antonio Tencati, Francesco Perrini, Nel Hofstra, & Laszlo Zsolnai 'Engaging in Progressive Enterpreneurship.' , in The Future International Manager: A Vision of the Roles and Duties of Management, eds. Laszlo Zsolnai, and Antonio Tencati, Palgrave, 2009. (This book may be available at: Amazon)

Shareholder value maximization and competitiveness are at the core of today’s business and economic policy. Companies seek to improve their productivity and try to gain competitive advantage. But these efforts often produce negative effects on various stakeholders at home and abroad. Competitiveness in most cases produces monetary results for the shareholders at the expense of other stakeholders.