Questioning the Moral Foundations of Management
Edited by Sara Louise Muhr, Bent Meier Sørensen and Steen Vallentin
Chapter 2: Developing a New Ethics of International Business: Possibilities and Role of Educators
Martyna Śliwa and George Cairns INTRODUCTION 1. This chapter engages with the subject of values and ethics within the field of international business (IB), in particular, in relation to the current paradigm of IB knowledge as represented through mainstream1 sources produced for the purposes of educating students towards developing skills and competences as future actors involved in IB activities. Our aim is, first, to critically interrogate the ethical assumptions behind contemporary IB knowledge, and second, to explore the possibilities for reconstituting it based on a different set of ethical principles and values. Our overview of the values and ethics underpinning IB theories and managerial practice promoted in the mainstream texts leads us to conclude that they do not provide a basis for the establishment of responsible and sustainable systems, norms, incentives and behaviors. We therefore try to answer the question, to what extent and in what way can we, as IB academics and educators, contribute to the development of IB knowledge, which would challenge the current rhetoric of neo-liberal market economics and profit maximization. In doing so, we propose an ethical paradigm for building IB theory and practice drawing upon a contemporary interpretation of Aristotle’s concept of phronēsis, or ‘prudence’, found in his Nicomachean Ethics. We locate our discussion within the tradition of a critical pedagogy that is committed to ‘personal and societal transformation towards more just, free and equitable conditions through an integrative combination of critical analysis and collective action’ (Fenwick 2005, p. 31). Writings of a critical...
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