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. 

Future of Capitalism

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Future of Capitalism.' , in Ethics in the Economy - Handbook of Business Ethics, ed. Laszlo Zsolnai, Peter Lang, Oxford, Bern, Berlin, 2002. (This book may be available at: Amazon)

The moral foundation of capitalism should be reconsidered. Modern capitalism is disembedded from the social and cultural norms of society. Reciprocity and social capital play vital roles in providing public goods in advanced market economies. The stakeholder relationship is a key in the functioning of business in today’s world, and identifying and analyzing stakeholders is a way to acknowledge the existence of multiple constituencies in a corporation.

Transatlantic Business Ethics

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Transatlantic Business Ethics.' Business Ethics: A European Review, 2002, vol.11, no. 1, pp. 97-105

The American and the European business cultures are considerably different and business ethics practiced on the two sides of the Atlantic reflects this difference. Since there is a lot of cooperation and merger between American and European companies the cross-fertilization of the American and European business and ethical values seems to be unavoidable. To meet the technological, ecological, and social requirements of the 21st century combining the best of European and American traditions in business and ethics is a promising task.

Green Business or Community Economy?

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Green Business or Community Economy?' International Journal of Social Economics, 2002, vol.29, no. 8, pp. 652-662

The paper analyzes two major ways of aiming at ecological sustainability. One is represented by the green business movement while the other is represented by different models of the community economy (community-supported agriculture, e.g.). Ecological sustainability requires quantitative and qualitative limitations both on the supply and demand sides of economic activities. Theoretical and empirical arguments show that the green business paradigm is not sufficient for achieving ecological sustainability but the community economy might be able to meet the requirements of ecological sustainability.