ethics

Publish and perish

A few years ago, I published a paper on the ‘secrets of excellence’ in the business school (Butler and Spoelstra, 2012). It was written as an ironic guide to publishing in top-ranked management journals. Some of the tricks of the trade we identified – ‘productivity through people’, ‘close to the customer’, ‘bias for action’ – overlap with Peters and Waterman’s 1980s business-yuppie classic In search of excellence.

The birth of an ecological revolution: A commentary on Naomi Klein’s climate change manifesto

I hear babies cry, I watch them grow

They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know

And I think to myself what a wonderful world. (Weiss and Thiele, 1967)

 

What if it’s a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing? [437]

Public brands and the entrepreneurial ethics

At a first glance brands would seem to be the opposite, or indeed the negation of ethics. Built on superficial sign values instead of substance; glitzy surfaces instead of depth, and vacuous promises in lieu of bounding commitments, brands are part of the edifice of post-modern consumer society that, as Zygmunt Bauman (2008) and many others before him have argued, tends to negate the very possibility of ethics.

Ethics of the brand

Ethical brands have risen to prominence in recent years as a market solution to a diverse range of political, social and, in this case most interestingly, ethical problems. By signifying the ethical beliefs of the firm behind them, ethical brands offer an apparently simple solution to ethical consumers: buy into the brands that represent the value systems that they believe in and avoid buying into those with value-systems that they do not believe in.

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