Re-Thinking the Role of Business Decision-Makers in Contemporary Society

By Martin Kelly and Ruth Walker.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

We examine the role of business decision-makers in the contemporary world and the effects that business has on the lives of contemporary citizens. We argue that the business decision-making framework has been improperly focused on purely quantifiable values at the expense of ethical considerations, and that its objectives must change if individuals, society and the natural environment are not to be damaged permanently. We investigate some of the philosophical origins of the problem and argue that Aristotle’s virtue ethics has relevance to the development of good business practices today in its broad understanding of the emotional and rational aspects of human happiness. The sustainable development paradigm fits well with virtue ethics and offers humankind the prospect of developing a business model that will prevent environmental catastrophe.

Keywords: Aristotle, Business Decision-Making Models, Calculative Rationality, Corporate Social Responsibility, Emotions, Happiness, Reason, Sustainable Development, Virtue Ethics

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.75-84. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 581.311KB).

Dr. Martin Kelly

Joint Chair, Waikato Management School, The University of Waikato, Hamilton, Waikato, New Zealand

Martin is a member of the Australia & New Zealand Regional Committee of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, which meets regularly in Sydney. He is also a Chartered Accountant, New Zealand. He holds a doctorate in Accounting. He has published in excess of 100 academic works. He teaches courses in ‘Organisation & Society’ at both the final year undergraduate level and postgraduate level. These courses critically assess the use and abuse of Accounting in the contemporary business world. Martin has taught on MBA courses at: Waikato University, Massey University, and Leveun University (Belgium). His current research interests are: Philosophy of Management, Sustainability, Stakeholder Management, CSR and Business Ethics.

Dr. Ruth Walker

Lecturer, Department of Philosophy, The University of Waikato, Hamilton, Waikato, New Zealand

Ruth Walker lectures in Philosophy at The University of Waikato. She has a special interest in Business Ethics and offers a course on this to second year students in Waikato Business School. In stepping out of the department of Philosophy to do this she has made contact with many staff in the Business School and has enjoyed arguing with them about the contemporary role of business in society. This paper is the output from one such set of arguments with her co-author.

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