Papers

Ethical Decision Making

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Ethical Decision Making.' , in Interdisciplinary Yearbook of Business Ethics, ed. Laszlo Zsolnai, Peter Lang, Oxford - Bern - Berlin - Bruxelles - Frankfurt am Main - New York - Wien, 2006. (This book may be available at: Amazon)

The self-centeredness of modern organizations leads to environmental destruction and human deprivation. The principle of responsibility developed by Hans Jonas requires caring for the beings affected by our decisions and actions. Ethical decision making creates a synthesis of reverence for ethical norms, rationality in goal achievement, and respect for the stakeholders. The maximin rule selects the “least worst alternative” in the multidimensional decision space of deontological, goal-achievement and stakeholder values. The ethical decision maker can be characterized as having the ability to take multiple perspectives and make appropriate balances across diverse value dimensions.

Competitiveness and Corporate Social Responsibility

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Competitiveness and Corporate Social Responsibility.' CSR Papers, Eni Enrico Mattei Foundation, Milano. , 2006, pp. 1-14

The paper addresses the problem of the relationship between competitiveness and CSR, and analyses the reasons why the opportunistic use of CSR is counter-productive. It attempts to establish how ethical behaviour can survive in highly competitive markets, and tries to find the new meaning of competitiveness in the light of CSR. The final section of 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.

The Rationality of Trust

Laszlo Zsolnai 'The Rationality of Trust .' International Journal of Social Economics , 2005, vol.32, no. 3, pp. 268-269

Russell Hardin is one of the most respected scholars in political science and rational choice theory. His book is a summary of his decade long preoccupation with trust research. He has been a key figure in the Russell Sage Foundation monumental Trust project. His present book is a groundbreaking achievement, which gives a highly consistent and systematic account of trust and related phenomena.

Genuine Business Ethics

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Genuine Business Ethics.' Ethics Matters, 2004, pp. 1-3

Ethics is fundamental to and relevant at all levels of economic activity, from the individual and the organizational to the societal and the global. Yet there is a paradox in the proposition that higher standards of behavior in today's world will automatically lead to higher profits and better performance. If the aim of top executives is merely to use ethics to achieve greater efficiency their efforts will ultimately fail. Superficially motivated business ethics initiatives, rightly called 'window dressing', often prove counter-productive. They are perceived as cheating by the stakeholders who will react accordingly. Sometimes no ethics at all is better than opportunistic actions.

Honesty and Trust in Economic Relationships

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Honesty and Trust in Economic Relationships.' Management Research News, 2004, vol.27, no. 7, pp. 57-62

Trust is not a homogeneous phenomenon. In economic relationships different trust structures are at work, including distrust, negative trust and the lack of trust. Perceived honesty and competence co-determine the trust structures the agents might have in interacting with others. Trust structures influence the way agents are engaged in economic relationships.  Honesty and competence should be developed to improve trust structures in economic relationships. Ethics is not a luxury; it is an indispensable means to foster economic development.  

Globalization and the Community

Laszlo Zsolnai, Zsolt Boda, Tomasz Dolegowski, Knut Ims, Joseph Lozano, Eleanor O’Higgins, & Antonio Tencati 'Globalization and the Community.' European Business Forum, 2004, pp. 23-24

Members of the Business Ethics Group of the Community of European Management Schools (CEMS) explore alternative strategies for companies engaged in globalization. They argue that if business follows the unhindered, ‘market fundamentalist’ type of globalisation then it could lose its legitimacy. It is better for globalised business to enter into an open dialogue with the global civil society and try to develop a cooperative strategy.

Building Ethical Institutions for Business

Laszlo Zsolnai, & Laszlo Fekete 'Building Ethical Institutions for Business.' Journal of Business Ethics, 2004, vol.53, no. 1, pp. 1-2

Ethics in business is not only about personal choices, nor about organizational or corporate habits and behavior or even about global developments. Ethics in business is facing increasingly institutions of various kinds, social, economic, political, by which ethical possibilities for business are greatly influenced, positively or negatively. We can think of new alliances between public and private players, or of the current system of financial transactions on a global scale. The conference was about the moral quality of institutional arrangements, be they existing or newly to be developed, and about how to manage them in a morally sound way.

Taking Spirituality Seriously

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Taking Spirituality Seriously.' , in Spirituality and Ethics in Management, ed. Laszlo Zsolnai, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston, Dordrecht and London, 2004. (This book may be available at: Amazon)

A new agenda for the development of spirituality and management is presented. One facet of the agenda concentrates on practice: how businesses (and other organizations such as  universities, government entities, not-for-profit health organizations and so on) should be transformed into more inclusive, holistic and peaceful activity systems serving nature, society and future generations. The other facet of the agenda concerns research: how to integrate spiritual experiences into the management profession.

The Morality of Economic Man

Laszlo Zsolnai 'The Morality of Economic Man.' European Business Review , 2004, pp. 449-454

Economic behavior is multifaceted and context-dependent. In the "I & We" paradigm developed by Amitai Etzioni, economic behavior is co-determined by utility calculations and moral considerations. Two major factors can explain the ethicality of economic behavior; namely, the moral character of the agents and the relative cost of ethical behavior. Economic agents are moral beings, but the ethical fabric of the economy determines which face of the Moral Economic Man predominates.   

Honesty versus Cooperation: A Reinterpretation of the Moral Behavior of Economics Students

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Honesty versus Cooperation: A Reinterpretation of the Moral Behavior of Economics Students.' American Journal of Economics & Sociology, 2003, vol.62, no. 4, pp. 707-712

A variety of empirical evidence suggests that economics students are less co-operative than students in other disciplines are. Anthony M. Yezer and his colleagues have recently provided a strong counter-example claiming that economics students behave in a more honest way than non-economics students do. Since honesty and co-operation are not the same there might be no contradiction between these two claims. Economics students seem to represent a special pattern of moral behavior that is characterized by respect for property rights and strong self-interest motivation at the same time.