Rethinking Business Ethics in an Age of Crisis
Studies in TransAtlantic Business Ethics series
Edited by Knut J. Ims and Lars J.T. Pedersen
Chapter 7: The source of ethical competency: Eastern perspectives provided by a Westerner
As will soon be clear, the concept of “ethical competency” I refer to in this chapter is one that is different from more traditional and down-to-earth, skill-based perspectives, for example those referring to sensitivity to ethical issues, problem-solving skills when facing moral dilemmas – or even the ability of leaders to justify an ethical position in connection with a decision that can affect different stakeholders. Although I will argue that ethical competency is a self-referential form of knowing, I will not provide an operational definition as that would be counter-productive; the focus of the chapter is on the very essence of what it means to be ethical – as well on how such a state of being can be realized and the relevance of ethical competency for organizational leaders. Before developing the major theme, to wit that the primary source of human ethical competency and our promptings to act in accord with this competency is our inherent divine nature and not external stimuli in the form of tradition and moral prescriptions, some additional personal comments are in order. It required a lengthy dialogue with myself before I accepted the invitation to write this chapter. At this point of my life (I am now closer to 80 than 75), I place far greater emphasis on peace of mind and living in harmony with my inner promptings than earlier.
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