Moral Imagination and Management Decision-making

Moral Imagination and Management Decision-making

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Why do good people do ethically questionable things? Why do reputable businesses ignore the harmful consequences of their actions? These questions continue to challenge philosophers, legal scholars, and corporate leaders. In this pathbreaking book, Patricia Werhane sets forth a model that explains ethical failings in business and shows how to transcend them. Deleterious corporate actions are often attributed to simple greed, and regulations have traditionally been enacted to counter them. But Werhane argues that most corporate managers are not without moral sensibilities, nor are they motivated primarily by greed or self-interest. Indeed, companies themselves often attempt to improve ethical behaviour - most American companies today have values statements, and ethics training is widespread - but applying moral principles to practical decision-making has not been entirely successful. What is missing, according to Werhane, is a highly developed moral imagination that enables managers and the companies they run to be aware of, evaluate, and change the mental models that often constrict business behaviour. The development of moral imagination is not identified merely with increased sensitivity to the existence of ethical issues in business. It includes awareness of the mind-sets that govern managerial and corporate decision-making, the development of reasoning skills to evaluate and moderate these mind-sets, and creativity to ponder viable alternative solutions to what appear to be insoluble economic dilemmas. Unique in its sophisticated application of ethical reasoning to real day-to-day business problems, this book points the way to the exemplary moral leadership that will enable companies to flourish in the complex global economies of the twenty-first century.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 160 pages
  • 163.3 x 242.3 x 18.3mm | 477.74g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 019512569X
  • 9780195125696

Review quote

"The work demands and rewards the reader's attention, both in reflecting on the structure of [Werhane's] argument and in highlighting why moral imagination must be a priority for management educators. . .an important contribution to the literature of business ethics."--Academy of Management Review"The purpose of the book is to trace the origin of business decisions which have been bad consequences in order to show that the failure to be imaginative is a major cause of poor decisions. . .Werhane's goal in this book is worthwhile and her approach is welcome. If we understand the thinking of decision makers in cases such as the Challenger explosion, we may be able to consider approaches to minimize such decisions in the future. In the course of the volume Werhane does a good job of telling a number of stories from the business world and she cites examples from philosophical literature."--Ethicsshow more

About Patricia H. Werhane

Patricia Werhane is Peter and Adele Ruffin Professor of Business Ethics at the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia and Senior Fellow at the Olsson Center for Applied Ethics. She is the editor of Business Ethics Quarterly, the leading journal in the field, and the author of many books, including Ethical Issues in Business: A Philosophical Approach (now in its sixth edition) and Adam Smith and His Legacy For Modern Capitalism (Oxford, 1991).show more

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