Papers

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.

Nature, Society and Future Generations

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Nature, Society and Future Generations.' , in Business, Globalization and the Common Good, eds. Henri-Claude de Bettignies, and Francois Lépinueux, Peter Lang, Oxford - Bern - Berlin- Bruxelles - Frankfurt am Main - New York - Wien, 2009. (This book may be available at: Amazon)

Today's business has a major impact on society and the natural environment. It considerably affects the fate and survival of natural ecosystems and the life conditions of present and future generations. Applying the imperative of responsibility developed by Hans Jonas, we can say that business has a one way, non-reciprocal duty: to care for the beings which are under the impacts of its functioning.

Buddhist Economics for Business

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Buddhist Economics for Business.' , in Ethical Prospects, eds. Laszlo Zsolnai, Zsolt Boda, and Laszlo Fekete, Springer, 2009. (This book may be available at: Amazon)

The paper explores Buddhist economics for transforming business toward a more ecological and human form. Buddhist economics is centered on want negation and purification of the human character. It challenges the basic principles of Western economics, (i) profit-maximization, (ii) cultivating desires, (iii) introducing markets, (iv) instrumental use of the world, and (v) self-interest based ethics. Buddhist economics proposes alternative principles such as (I) minimize suffering, (II) simplifying desires, (III) non-violence, (IV) genuine care, and (V) generosity.

Why Frugality?

Luk Bouckaert, Hendrik Opdebeeck, & Laszlo Zsolnai 'Why Frugality?' , in Frugality: Rebalancing Material and Spiritual Values in Economic Life, eds. Luk Bouckaert, Herndrick Opdebeeck, and Laszlo Zsolnai, Peter Lang, Oxford, 2008. (This book may be available at: Amazon)

The present unsustainable lifestyle of mankind requires drastic changes. Western-style consumer capitalism has failed. It has resulted in global climate change, dramatic ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss. Also, it has caused massive unhappiness and emptiness in rich countries and social disintegration worldwide. The interests of nature, society and future generations require a considerable reduction of material throughput of the economy and a reorientation of our economic activities. This could become possible by employing a more spiritual approach to life and the economy.The rational case for frugality is a limited one.

Responsible Business Conduct: Establishing Harmony among Ethical, Business and Societal Values

Laszlo Fekete, & Laszlo Zsolnai 'Responsible Business Conduct: Establishing Harmony among Ethical, Business and Societal Values.' , in Freedom and Responsibilities in China: Governments, Corporations, and Civil Cociety Organizations, ed. G.J. Rossouw, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, Shanghai, 2008.

The recent years the fast growing Chinese economy produced serious imbalances between the urban and the rural populations, as well as between society and nature. Achieving a socially and ecologically balanced economic development path is badly needed in the China. 

The paper presents an operationalised model for responsible business conduct. The starting point is Kenneth E. Goodpaster's conception of moral responsibility. In the proposed model decision alternatives are simultaneously evaluated from different value perspectives. Responsible business conduct is defined as finding the least worst alternative in the multidimensional decision space of deontological, goal-achievement, and stakeholder values. In this way harmony among ethical values, business values and societal values can be established.

Law and Business Ethics Research Intiative

Daniel Deak, & Laszlo Zsolnai 'Law and Business Ethics Research Intiative.' Business Ethics: A European Review, 2008, vol.17, no. 1, pp. 108-109

There are growing ethical, social, and environmental problems one can experience in the current corporate world. The deepening crisis of the legitimacy of corporate functioning requires particular attention that need be paid to legal issues. For this reason, the Business Ethics Center of the Corvinus University of Budapest is launching a Law & Business Ethics Research Initiative to gather the representatives of business ethics, on the one hand, and legal scholars and practitioners, on the other one, with a view to mobilizing legal instruments.

Business, Ethics, and Spirituality: Europe-Asia Views

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Business, Ethics, and Spirituality: Europe-Asia Views.' Business Ethics: A European Review, 2007, vol.16, no. 1, pp. 87-92

There is no inherent conflict between spirituality and business in the major Eastern and Western traditions. In the Hindu tradition, material accomplishments provide a strong and stable foundation in personal and organizational life while spiritual wisdom charges business with a higher purpose. The Christian tradition requires a three-dimensional goal-portfolio in which humans measure themselves on three layers: material (financial), intellectual and spiritual. Here, the stakeholder list becomes full: we not only care about and support our own employees and their environment.

Why Ethics Needs Spirituality?

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Why Ethics Needs Spirituality?' , in Spirituality as a Public Good, eds. Luk Bouckaert, and Laszlo Zsolnai, Grant, Antwerpen-Apeldoom, 2007. (This book may be available at: Maklu)

Ethics needs spirituality as an underlying background and as a major motivational force. However, we should not cultivate spirituality in order to improve the ethicality of our actions. Spirituality is a value in itself, is a major gift in our life. It is a positive by-product of spirituality that it can provide us with high-level ethical motivation. But if spirituality is used instrumentally then its value will be lost and the consequences will be destructive.

Extended Stakeholder Theory

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Extended Stakeholder Theory.' Society and Business Review, 2006, vol.1, no. 1, pp. 37-44

The paper proposes a normative reinterpretation of the stakeholder concept. It argues that all stakeholders are morally considerable, and only those parties are stakeholders, which are morally considerable. Business organizations affect the fate and survival of natural ecosystems and the life conditions of present and future generations thus nature, society and future generations should be included among the stakeholders of business.