Papers

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.

Holistic Problem Solving

Knut J. Ims, & Laszlo Zsolnai 'Holistic Problem Solving.' , 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)

Today’s management practice tends to reduce every problem to the technical dimension. This often results in the “Error of the Third Kind” (E3), which means solving the wrong problem precisely. Managers need scientific and technical knowledge, but they also need a better understanding of the existential conditions of human beings to avoid the fallacy of defining most problems narrowly and solving them in purely technical ways. 

It is essential that organizations broaden the set of relevant stakeholders, giving particular attention to the impact on future generations and the environment. In the same vein, the organization has to be conscious of the wise strategy of looking upon important problems as having at least four dimensions. We believe that actual, mundane behavior constitutes a rational platform for using helpful tools and hinting on improvements.

The Collaborative Enterprise

Antonio Tencati, & Laszlo Zsolnai 'The Collaborative Enterprise.' Journal of Business Ethics, 2009, vol.85, no. 3, pp. 367-376

Instead of the currently prevailing competitive model, a more collaborative strategy is needed to address the concerns related to the unsustainability of today’s business. This article aims to explore collaborative approaches where enterprises seek to build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with all stakeholders and want to produce sustainable values for their whole business ecosystem. Cases here analyzed demonstrate that alternative ways of doing business are possible.