Beyond Integrity: A Judeo-Christian Approach to Business Ethics / Edition 2

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Overview

Integrity is essential to Judeo-Christian business ethics. But today’s business environment is complex. Those in business, and those preparing to enter the business world, need to grapple with the question of how integrity and biblical ethics can be applied in the workplace. They need to go “beyond integrity” in their thinking. Beyond Integrity is neither excessively theoretical nor simplistic and dogmatic. Rather, it offers a balanced and pragmatic approach to a number of concrete ethical issues. Readings from a wide range of sources present competing perspectives on each issue, and real-life case studies further help the reader grapple with ethical dilemmas. The authors conclude each chapter with their own distinctly Christian commentary on the topic covered. This second edition includes recent issues that have surfaced in today’s constantly changing business culture. Revisions include:
• Ethical implications of information technology, biotechnology, and other important new issues
• Reflections on recent court cases that shape the moral discussion
• Shorter text with increased accessibility to the reader With the goal of helping readers arrive at their own conclusions, this book provides a decision-making model. Beyond Integrity equips men and women to develop a biblically based approach to the ethical challenges of twenty-first century business.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310240020
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 8/6/2004
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 7.75 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 1.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott B. Rae (PhD, University of Southern California) is professor of Christian ethics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, La Mirada, California.

Kenman L. Wong (PhD, University of Southern California) is professor of business ethics at Seattle Pacific University. He is a former associate of one of the world's leading management consulting firms.

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Read an Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

I already have the guilty conscience, I may as well have the money too!

Legendary U.S. Marshal Wyatt Earp in the movie Tombstone, on his decision to leave law enforcement and enter business

INTRODUCTION

Once mentioned only in the context of comedic oxymorons, issues in business ethics have become the stuff of popular lore. A plethora of Hollywood movie releases in the last decade has forever lodged scenarios in which profit competes with morality into the consciousness of contemporary culture. Films such as Wall Street, The Firm, Quiz Show, The Pelican Brief, and Tucker portray key decision makers within corporations as scheming characters who will stop at nothing--not even murder in some cases--to line their pockets. Even action-film star Steven Seagal has gotten into the act. The recent film On Deadly Ground pits Seagal against the financial interests of a seedy oil company in a violent battle of good versus evil. While it has yet to eclipse the CIA (a.k.a. "The Company") as the most often portrayed omnipresent evil force behind all social ills, the business world is increasingly characterized in movies as a dark, lurking shadow whose pursuit of profit is inherently at odds with society's well-being.

Since the film industry is itself a big business whose profits depend upon entertainment value rather than truthfulness, one must ask whether these story lines aren't a case of the pot calling the kettle black. In fact, Hollywood is merely picking up on themes that have historically been discussed in churches, academia, and political circles. The pursuit of wealth and its influence on society have long been subjects for cautionary sermons, literature, and philosophical debate. Thus, it should come as no surprise that ethical issues in business are receiving prominent attention in other popular media forums. After the revelations of criminal wrongdoings on Wall Street in the late 1980s, frequent television and newspaper stories have appeared to describe the latest scandals in business. In one week alone recently, three of the one-hour news format shows on the major networks broadcast investigative reports relating to business ethics. ABC's 20/20 ran a story on the sales tactics of used-car dealers while its Prime Time Live investigated an in-home health-care company alleged to have paid large kickbacks to doctors for prescribing over-priced services to unwitting patients. NBC's Dateline revealed allegations of deceptive practices in the airline industry with respect to prices in ticket advertisements. Major newspapers run similar stories at least several times a week.

The moral climate of the world of business is so often called into question in the popular culture that it is not uncommon to observe Christian business people taking an apologetic stance for engaging in "worldly" rather than "spiritual" career pursuits.

Fortunately, these popular portrayals only show one side of the story. There are many corporations and proprietorships whose stated missions and actions resemble those of the most praiseworthy citizens. For example, a recent event that made national headlines involved the moral heroism of Aaron Feuerstein, the owner of a textile mill in New England that manufactures Polartec, a lightweight fabric used to provide warmth in winter clothing. Two weeks before Christmas 1995, the people of the town of Methuen, Massachusetts, watched Malden Mills--one of the last remaining large-scale textile mills in the region and the town's employment and economic lifeline--burn to the ground on a windy night. The fire injured 24 people, left 1, 400 workers unemployed, and confirmed fears that the town would be destroyed economically--the plight suffered by many New England towns as other mills were shut down and relocated in search of lower wage scales.

Taking everyone by surprise, the seventy-year-old Feuerstein, who could have simply retired on the insurance money, immediately announced plans to rebuild, with the goal of having his workers back in the mill within a few months. Furthermore, Feuerstein gave every employee a Christmas bonus of $275 and a coupon for food worth $20 at a local supermarket. Amid cheers from his employees, he then announced that for at least the next thirty days he would pay every worker's salary in full and continue their health insurance for the next ninety days. Citing his faith and his belief that difficult circumstances provide the real test of moral convictions, Feuerstein stated that collecting the insurance money and retiring was never a thought that crossed his mind. "My commitment is to Massachusetts and New England. It's where I live, where I play, where I worship. Malden Mills will rebuild right here," he said.

A well-publicized decision by a leading pharmaceutical company, Merck & Co., offers an equally outstanding example of a publicly held (shareholder-owned) corporation's going against the common image of corporations as "profit at all costs" entities. A number of years ago, a Merck scientist discovered that an adaptation of one of the company's drugs could be used to kill the parasite that causes a disease called river blindness. The disease starts with a seemingly innocuous insect bite that allows the parasites to lay the larvae of worms--which eventually grow to two feet in length--in the body. Over time, these worms produce thousands of microscopic worms. Victims can experience suffering so severe that some elect suicide rather than endure the pain. A common result of the disease is a scarring of the eye that produces blindness.

While the discovery of the cure was cause for celebration, Merck soon found itself in a dilemma: none of the "customers" who needed the drug could afford to pay for it. The disease afflicts mainly people in the Third World, particularly parts of Africa and Central and South America. Merck tried in vain to obtain financial support to help offset the costs of developing the drug and getting it where it was needed.

In the end, Merck stayed true to a key element of its company philosophy: "We try never to forget that medicine is for the people. It is not for the profits. The profits follow, and if we remember that, they have never failed to appear. The better we have remembered it, the larger they have been." Merck promised to give the drug away and pay to transport it (at a cost of $20 million per year) to any country that requested it, forever.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction

Part I: Foundations for Christian Ethics in Business
Chapter 1: Christian Ethics in Business: Tensions and Challenges
Introduction
Readings
“Is Business Bluffing Ethical?” ALBERT Z. CARR. Harvard Business Review
“Why Be Honest if Honesty Doesn’t Pay?” AMAR BHIDE AND HOWARD H. STEVENSON. Harvard Business Review
“Companies are Discovering the Value of Ethics.” NORMAN BOWIE. USA Today Magazine
Case
Case 1.1. Borland’s Brave Beginnings
Case 1.2. Keeping Secrets
Commentary
Chapter 2: Christian Engagement in Business
Introduction
Readings
“Christ and Business.” LOUKE VAN WENSVEEN SIKER. Journal of Business Ethics
“The Entrepreneurial Vocation.” FR. ROBERT SIRICO. Acton Institute
“Tough Business: In Deep, Swift Waters.” STEVE BRINN. Vocatio
Cases
Case 2.1. Business as a Calling
Case 2.2. The Assignment
Commentary
Chapter 3: Christian Ethics for Business: Norms and Benchmarks
Introduction
Readings
“The Bible and Culture in Ethics.” BERNARD T. ADENEY. Strange Virtues: Ethics in a Multicultural World
“Business Ethics.” ALEXANDER HILL. The Complete Book of Everyday Christianity
Cases
Case 3.1. Payroll Pressures
Case 3.2. Not So Amusing
Commentary
Part II: Ethics, Corporations, and the Global Economy
Chapter 4: Corporate Social Responsibility
Introduction
Readings
“The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits.” MILTON FRIEDMAN. New York Times Magazine
“Business Ethics and Stakeholder Analysis.” KENNETH E. GOODPASTER. Business Ethics Quarterly
“A Long Term Business Perspective in a Short Term World: A Conversation with Jim Sinegal.” ALBERT M. ERISMAN AND DAVID GILL. Ethix
Case
Case 4.1. Violent Video Games
Case 4.2. Starbucks and Fair Trade Coffee
Commentary
Chapter 5: Globalization, Economics, and Judeo-Christian Morality
Introduction
Readings
“The Oxford Declaration on Christian Faith and Economics.” HERBERT SCHLOSSBERG ET AL. Christianity and Economics in the Post-Cold War Era
“Economic Justice: A Biblical Paradigm.” STEPHEN MOTT AND RONALD J. SIDER. Toward a Just and Caring Society: Christian Responses to Poverty in America
Cases
Case 5.1. Downsizing: Efficiency or Corporate Hit Men?
Case 5.2. Executive Compensation: Out of Control or Market Appropriate?
Case 5.3. Selling Eggs and Embryos
Commentary
Chapter 6: International Business
Introduction
Readings
“Ethical Theory and Bribery.” BERNARD T. ADENEY. Strange Virtues: Ethics in a Multicultural World
“Two Cheers for Sweatshops.” NICHOLAS KRISTOF AND SHERYL WUDUNN. New York Times Magazine
Cases
Case 6.1. Sweatshops
Case 6.2. When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do?
Commentary
Part III: Contemporary Ethical Issues in Business
Chapter 7: Human Resource Management
Introduction
Readings
“The Moral Foundation of Employee Rights.” JOHN R. ROWAN. Journal of Business Ethics
“Privacy, the Workplace and the Internet.” SEUMAS MILLER AND JOHN WECKERT. Journal of Business Ethics
“The Double Jeopardy of Sexual Harassment.” J. H. FOEGEN. Business and Society Review
Cases
Case 7.1. Benefits for Spousal Equivalents
Case 7.2. Conflicts of Conscience
Case 7.3. Family-Friendly Flex Policies
Commentary
Chapter 8: Accounting and Finance
Introduction
Reading
“Financial Ethics: An Overview.” JOHN BOATRIGHT. Ethics in Finance
Cases
Case 8.1. Audit Adjustments
Case 8.2. The New Insiders
Case 8.3. Stock Analysts and Investment Bankers
Commentary
Chapter 9: Marketing and Advertising
Introduction
Readings
“The Morality(?) of Advertising.” THEODORE LEVITT. Harvard Business Review
“The Making of Self and World in Advertising.” JOHN WAIDE. Journal of Business Ethics
“Making Consumers.” RODNEY CLAPP. Christianity Today
Cases
Case 9.1. Diamonds Are Forever
Case 9.2. School-Based Marketing
Commentary
Chapter 10: Environmental Stewardship
Introduction
Readings
“Business and Environmental Ethics.” W. MICHAEL HOFFMAN. Business Ethics Quarterly
“The Challenge of Biocentrism.” THOMAS SIEGER DERR. Creation at Risk: Religion, Science and Environmentalism
Cases
Case

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First Chapter

Beyond Integrity Copyright 1996, 2004 by Scott B. Rae and Kenman L. WongRequests for information should be addressed to: Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Beyond integrity : a Judeo-Christian approach to business ethics / [edited by] Scott B. Rae and Kenman L. Wong.---2nd ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-310-24002-6 (hardcover) 1. Business ethics. 2. Business---Religious aspects---Christianity. 3. Business---Religious aspects---Judaism. I. Rae, Scott B. II. Wong, Kenman L., 1964-- HF5387.B49 2004 174'.4---dc22 2004010289This edition printed on acid-free paper.All Scripture quotations used by the authors, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version, NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.The reprinted articles may quote other versions of the Bible and may or may not identify those versions.Credits and permissions for reprinted articles are provided on pages 469--71, which hereby become part of this copyright page.The website addresses recommended throughout this book are offered as a resource to you. These websites are not intended in any way to be or imply an endorsement on the part of Zondervan, nor do we vouch for their content for the life of this book.All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means---electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other---except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.Interior design by Nancy WilsonPrinted in the United States of America04 05 06 07 08 09 10 /.DC/ 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1ONE Christian Ethics in Business: Tensions and ChallengesA sudden submission to Christian ethics by businessmen would bring about the greatest economic upheaval in history!A chief executive officer, quoted in 'Is Business Bluffing Ethical?' by Albert Z. CarrINTRODUCTIONRecently, there has been exploding interest in the idea of 'spirituality' in the workplace. Major business magazines such as Business Week and Fortune have run cover stories on the topic, and academic conferences, corporate programs, and executive retreats have been organized around this theme. Understandably, the concept of integrating one's faith and values into the workplace is important and rightfully deserves such attention.However, actual attempts to bring faith-based values into the workplace can be challenging and riddled with tension when the 'darker' aspects of business and the reality of economic competition are factored into the equation. In fact, some research supports the suspicion that many business people do, in fact, live with two conflicting sets of rules: one for business, and one for their lives outside of work.Some observers of commercial life have gone so far as to claim that virtue and success have an inverse relationship. Unless individual participants leave 'private' morality at the door, financial gain will prove elusive. Business demands shrewdness and the bending, if not outright breaking, of rules, the argument typically goes. Play 'softly' and you will soon be surpassed. Not that 'good' behavior is nonexistent. When it occurs, however, the motivation behind it is self-interest, not ethics per se.Organizations are trapped by similar deterministic rules.A 'nice' company that engages in 'restrained' competition or sacrifices profits for the benefit of employees or the local community beyond motivational or public relations value will soon find itself in decline if competitors don't operate with similar rules and intentions.The idea that business demands different standards for behavior is particularly problematic for those who adhere to a belief system that holds that a unified set of values should be applicable to life in its totality. The thought that the very virtues that govern their lives outside of work could be the ones that jeopardize the ability to succeed within it is deeply troubling. Moreover, if the construct is true, we are lead to the inevitable conclusion that all who have achieved success in business from a financial standpoint have somehow compromised their moral standards in the process.In stark contrast to the belief that financial success requires ethical compromise, a popular sentiment has it that good ethics is good business. Behavioral compromises are unnecessary and are the product of short-sightedness. After all, honesty and fairness will only enhance economic well-being. Customers prefer to deal with individuals and organizations with a rock-solid reputation for honesty. Therefore, ethics and self-interest do not clash at all. Sound strategy and prudence require only the short-term sacrifice of gain.The central focus of this chapter is to examine some of the tensions and challenges of bringing Christian ethics to bear on business. Do traditional virtues such as honesty and compassion facilitate the prospect for successful participation in business? Or, conversely, do such characteristics doom a business to fail in the 'competitive jungle' of economic affairs?In 'Is Business Bluffing Ethical?' Albert Z. Carr takes the posture that two sets of morals, one for business and one for private life, is an inescapable reality. Using the game of poker as an analogy to business, Carr argues that practices such as 'bluffing' should be judged by business rules and not by 'the ethical principles preached in churches.' He concludes that those who try to apply their private morals at the workplace will likely fail to be successful as business people.Based on qualitative research, authors Amar Bhide and Howard H. Stevenson in their article entitled 'Why Be Honest If Honesty Doesn't Pay?' attempted to find evidence to support the popular notion that good ethics and good business are synonymous. In a somewhat surprising and optimistic conclusion, Bhide and Stevenson find that while the idea that 'honesty is the best policy' makes intuitive sense, it is an unsubstantiated claim from a rational, economic standpoint. They point to cases in which breaking one's word is actually handsomely rewarded or, at the very least, seldom punished. Even so, they argue that the trust necessary for business relationships is alive and well, because for many business people honesty is a matter of conscience and morality rather than strategy.In 'Companies Are Discovering the Value of Ethics,' author Norman Bowie contradicts the view that ethics and profits are inversely related. While he does not make the claim that good ethics always lead to higher profit margins, Bowie provides multiple examples in which ethics have had a positive impact on the bottom line. This is the case, he argues, because attention to ethics can provide firms with a source of competitive advantage.The case studies in this chapter provide windows through which one can see some of these tensions and challenges illustrated. 'Borland's Brave Beginning' presents a true-to-life scenario in which truth telling and financial success seem to be in conflict. 'Keeping Secrets' divides a manager's loyalty between an organization and a freindship.READINGSIs Business Bluffing Ethical?Albert Z. CarrHarvard Business Review (January--February 1968). Copyright 1967. The ethics of business are not those of society, but rather those of the poker game.Foreword 'When the law as written gives a man a wideopen chance to make a killing, he'd be a fool not to take advantage of it. If he doesn't, somebody else will,' remarked a friend of the author. Mr. Carr likens such behavior to the bluffing of the poker player who seizes every opportunity to win, as long as it does not involve outright cheating. 'No
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