Beginning to Think About Ethics and Values in an Age of Rapid Technological Change

65 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2018 Last revised: 4 Oct 2018

See all articles by Lawrence J. Trautman

Lawrence J. Trautman

Prairie View A&M University - College of Business

Kenneth J. Sanney

Western Carolina University

Eric D. Yordy

The W. A. Franke College of Business at Northern Arizona University

Tammy Cowart

University of Texas at Tyler

Destynie Sewell

University of Nebraska at Omaha - College of Business Administration

Date Written: August 21, 2018

Abstract

Bribery, climate change, corporate ethics, corruption, diversity, drug addiction, free speech, LGTBQ rights, gender equality, globalization, impact of smart phones on youth (and former youth), innovation, lying, privacy, racism, sustainability, sexism and sexual harassment, and truth telling; these are all issues that require today’s businesses to provide leadership and successfully manage. Carnegie Mellon business school professor Leanne Meyer states, “Up until now, business leaders were largely responsible for delivering products. Now, shareholders are looking to corporate leaders to make statements on what would traditionally have been social justice or moral issues.” Ethics and examples of corporate bad behavior dominate the news and our culture during recent months, from the creation of fake accounts at Wells Fargo’s to sexual harassment in the entertainment and news industries, to the improprieties at Uber, or the deadly ignition switch issues at General Motors.

Discovering, using, and refining your personal ethical framework is likely to be a lifelong process, influenced by various experiences. Presented here are introductory remarks to start building a foundation about how individuals might start to think about our ethics and values and examine those shown by the actions and behavior of others, particularly in a business or workplace setting. We contend that superior top-management-teams will successfully foster a culture promoting the virtues of organizational truth-telling. Bad news needs to be dealt with immediately and with full knowledge of all relevant considerations surrounding challenging situations. Any enterprise cannot be expected to produce superior results without understanding the source and magnitude of problems as they develop into even the most remote threat—long before materializing into an actual crisis. Decisions must be made based upon accurate information; and management of anything can’t be expected to chart a successful course when given false or intentionally deceptive information. We believe our Article contributes to the literature by providing a pedagogical resource to introduce the subject of business ethics to those interested, but it also provides an introduction and overview of many contemporary issues impacting the topic of business ethics.

Keywords: Bribery, Business Ethics, Climate Change, Corruption, Discrimination, Diversity, Drug Addiction, Employment Law, Entrepreneurship, Free Speech, LGTBQ Rights, Gender Equality, Globalization, Innovation, Lying, Moral Reasoning, Morality, Motivation, Privacy, Racism, Revenge Porn, Scandals

JEL Classification: I23, K29, L29, M10, G30

Suggested Citation

Trautman, Lawrence J. and Sanney, Kenneth J. and Yordy, Eric D. and Cowart, Tammy and Sewell, Destynie, Beginning to Think About Ethics and Values in an Age of Rapid Technological Change (August 21, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3102552 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3102552

Lawrence J. Trautman (Contact Author)

Prairie View A&M University - College of Business ( email )

Prairie View, TX
United States

Kenneth J. Sanney

Western Carolina University ( email )

United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.wcu.edu

Eric D. Yordy

The W. A. Franke College of Business at Northern Arizona University ( email )

PO Box 15066
Flagstaff, AZ 86011
United States

Tammy Cowart

University of Texas at Tyler ( email )

Tyler, TX
United States

Destynie Sewell

University of Nebraska at Omaha - College of Business Administration ( email )

60th & Dodge Streets
Omaha, NE 68182-0048
United States

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