A Better Way to Think About Business: How Personal Integrity Leads to Corporate Success

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Is business ethics a contradiction in terms? Absolutely not, says Robert Solomon. In fact, he maintains that sound ethics is a necessary precondition of any long-term business enterprise, and that excellence in business must exist on the foundation of values that most of us hold dear.
Drawing on twenty years of experience consulting with major corporations on ethics, Solomon clarifies the difficult ethical choices all people in business face. He uses an "Aristotelian" approach to remind readers that a corporation—like an individual—is embedded in a community, and that corporate values such as fairness and honesty are meaningless until transformed into action. Without a base of shared values, trust and mutual benefits, today's national and international business world would fall apart. In keeping with his conviction that virtue and profit must thrive together, Solomon both examines the ways in which deficient values actually destroy businesses, and debunks the pervasive myths that encourage unethical business practices.
Complete with a working catalog of virtues designed to illustrate the importance of integrity in any business situation, this compelling handbook contains a gold mine of wisdom for either the small business manager or the corporate executive struggling with ethical issues.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In this brief, readable addition to the business ethics literature, Solomon offers a clear and pragmatic exposition.... This concise account is recommended for public, academic, and practitioner library collections. It will be particularly useful to readers with limited time."—Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195167337
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/28/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,317,775
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 5.30 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert C. Solomon is Quincy Lee Centennial and Distinguished Teaching Professor of Philosophy and Business at the University of Texas. He is also the author of Building Trust: In Business, Politics, Relationships, and Life, A Passion for Wisdom: A Very Brief History of Philosophy, and Ethics and Excellence (all available from OUP).

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Table of Contents

How to Use This Book x
Introduction: Can Virtue Be Taught? xiv
Down from the Mountaintop xiv
Back to the Mountain: Living Our Values xvii
Why Virtue Is Necessary xix
An Aristotelian Approach to Business xxiii
I. How Not to Think About Business: Myths and Metaphors 1
Marketing 101 1
The Language of Dehumanization 2
Attila the Hun and Other Business Heroes 5
"Better Fear Than Love" 7
Masters of the Universe 9
Metaphors of Mayhem, Visions of Civility 11
"It's a Jungle Out There!" 13
"Business as a Battlefield" 14
"An Efficient Money-Making Machine" 16
"The Information Revolution" 18
"The Game of Business" 19
Competition and Cowboy Capitalism 22
The Myth of the Entrepreneur 25
Abstract Greed 27
The Myth of the Profit Motive 29
The Myth of Altruism 32
II. A Better Way to Think About Business: The Meaning of Integrity 35
The Virtues of Free Enterprise 35
The Meaning of Integrity 38
Without Integrity: The Hypocrite, the Opportunist, and the Chameleon 40
Revisioning the Corporation: The Company as Community 43
The Corporation as Citizen 46
The Virtues of a Corporate Culture 48
Corporate Codes of Ethics: What Are They For? 51
Business as a Profession 54
Business, Merit, and Excellence 57
The Meaning of Leadership 60
Being and Doing: The Nature of the Virtues 63
III. A Catalog of Business Virtues 69
Ability 71
Acceptance 71
Ambition 72
Amiability (Friendliness) 73
Articulateness 74
Attentiveness 75
Autonomy 76
Caring 76
Charisma 78
Compassion 78
Competitiveness 80
Contentment 80
Cool-Headedness 81
Cooperativeness (Teamwork) 82
Courage 82
Creativity (Imagination) 83
Determination (Persistence, "Stick-to-itiveness") 84
Entrepreneurship 85
Fairness 85
Generosity 87
Graciousness 88
Gratitude (see Humility) 89
Heroism 89
Honesty 90
Honor (Pride) 92
Humility 93
Humor 94
Independence (the "Outlaw") 95
Integrity 96
Justice 97
Loyalty 99
Passion 101
Pride (see Honor) 101
Prudence 101
Responsibility 102
Saintliness 103
Shame (a "quasi-virtue") 104
Spirit (Spirituality) 106
Style 107
Tolerance 108
Toughness 108
Trust 111
Trustworthiness 112
Wittiness 113
Zeal (Enthusiasm) 114
Putting It All Together: Ethical Styles 115
Conclusion: Looking Forward to Integrity 121
References and Recommended Reading 125
Notes 135
Index 143
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