The intention is to provide a forum for the publication of scientific articles in the field of business ethics. It is the first journal of business ethics on the African continent. The aim of the journal is to contribute to the expansion and establishment of business ethics as academic field in Africa.

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The Globethics.net library contains articles of the African Journal of Business Ethics (AJoBE) as of vol. 1(2005) to current.

Recent Submissions

  • The conceptualization and measurement of philosophical approaches that influence ethical decision making in the work context: Part 1

    Boshoff, Estelle; Department of Industrial Psychology, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein; Kotzé, Martina; Department of Industrial Psychology, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein (SUNMeDIA, 2014-07-23)
    The negative consequences which unethical behaviour holds for organizations necessitates a focus on ethical issues within the work context, as well as factors which may have an influence on ethical be- haviour. Regarding individual factors, researchers indicate that the individual’s ethical decision-making philosophy influences the manner in which ethical problems are managed and behavioural decisions are made. The aim of this article (which forms part of a research project consisting of four parts) is therefore to investigate, by means of a thorough literature review, the ethical issues that organizations mostly face, as well as the philosophical decision-making approaches that may influence ethical decision making in the work context, and to integrate these approaches within a holistic framework of ethical decision making. Six main philosophical approaches together with certain corresponding sub-approaches that may influence ethical decision making in the workplace were identified and integrated within a holistic framework of ethical decision making. 
  • Attitudes of accounting students towards ethics, continuous professional development and lifelong learning

    Els, Gideon; Department of Finance and Investment Management, University of Johannesburg (SUNMeDIA, 2014-07-29)
    With a myriad of corporate scandals involving fraud and theft across the world, the auditing profession has been put under the spotlight with the prominence of promoting an ethical attitude within the profession and amongst its members. By way of an empirical study conducted with a group of students at a leading university in South Africa, it was found that the necessity for change and CPD are concepts not collectively agreed upon by all within the profession, even more so when it comes to a group of final-year undergraduate students at this university. This article provides a series of recommendations regarding the improvement of the current teaching and learning model in order to include a CPD approach when it comes to ethics. 
  • Market Driven Global Directives and Social Responsibility in Higher Education

    Veldman, Frederick J; Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa (AFRICAN SUN MeDIA, 2018-06-26)
    Liberation from human suffering is a noble achievement, but without freedom from the constraints of poverty, liberty is partial. The South African Constitution commits us to the establishment of a society based on "democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights." All Higher Education (HE) Institutions, therefore, should be founded on "the will of the people." Within the context, we are responsible for our own destinies. HE however, has become subjected to the needs of a market-driven mentality. The purpose of this paper is to draw the reader into a paradigm that protests against the current hegemonic version of how we manage HEIs.
  • Executive Remuneration in South Africa: Key Issues Highlighted by Shareholder Activists

    Viviers, Suzette; Stellenbosch University (SUNMeDIA, 2015-12-21)
    The growing wage gap in South Africa has far-reaching socio-economic consequences. This study investigated the nature of executive remuneration issues raised by shareholder activists in the country. An analysis of 24 510 votes cast by 17 investment managers at 347 companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 2013 revealed that the vote to endorse companies’ executive remuneration policies evoked the most opposition. Well-known shareholder activist, Theo Botha also criticized companies for failing to disclose sufficient details on their remuneration policies. A disconnect between the performance of companies and their executives’ pay was also noted. It is recommended that the non-binding vote on executive remuneration be revised and more investor education provided. The growing wage gap in South Africa has far-reaching socio-economic consequences. This study investigated the nature of executive remuneration issues raised by shareholder activists in the country. An analysis of 24 510 votes cast by 17 investment managers at 347 companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 2013 revealed that the vote to endorse companies’ executive remuneration policies evoked the most opposition. Well-known shareholder activist, Theo Botha also criticized companies for failing to disclose sufficient details on their remuneration policies. A disconnect between the performance of companies and their executives’ pay was also noted. It is recommended that the non-binding vote on executive remuneration be revised and more investor education provided. 
  • Reviewing State-Owned Entities’ Governance Landscape in South Africa

    Kanyane, Modimowabarwa Hendrick; HUMAN SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCIL; Sausi, Kombi; HUMAN SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCIL (SUNMeDIA, 2015-12-21)
    The current state-owned entities’ governance landscape ranges from fragmented accountability frameworks to convoluted array of parent entities, subsidiaries and sub-subsidiaries. The article reviews the state-owned entities’ governance landscape to unravel underlying inconsistencies and contradictions and thereby provides a compelling argument for opting to create an overarching state-owned entities’ governance and seamless legislative framework. As the proposed overarching option is not an absolute resolve, the study tests whether the option could assist in arriving at a liberating praxis that would straddle though fulfilling corporate and developmental aspirations of the state. The study perused research reports and literature review applying qualitative methods.
  • Media-reported corporate governance transgressions in broad-based black economic empowerment deals in the South African mining sector

    Thomas, Adèle; Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg (SUNMeDIA, 2015-01-12)
    The study explored the nature of publically identified corporate governance transgressions relating to deals designed to promote black economic empowerment (BEE) at 22 South African mining companies. A review of South African English language newspaper articles was undertaken for the period 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2011. Reported transgressions were assessed against a framework developed from relevant codes and legislation. Political interference/nepotism/fronting was the most-cited category of behaviour promoting governance transgressions, followed by fraud/ structuring of controversial BEE deals, and mismanagement/negligence. Public concern about governance of BEE deals in the mining sector and, accordingly, about the contribution of BEE to the broad socio-economic upliftment of historically disadvantaged South Africans, is highlighted. 
  • Responsible Management Education (edited by Wojciech Gasparski)

    Goldman, Geoff A.; Department of Business Management, University of Johannesburg (SUNMeDIA, 2014-07-23)
  • Stakeholder inclusiveness in sustainability reporting by mining companies listed on the Johannesburg securities exchange

    Lingenfelder, Deirdré; Safety and Sustainable Development Projects, Anglo American plc.; Thomas, Adèle; Department of Business Management, University of Johannesburg (SUNMeDIA, 2014-07-23)
    A key requirement for listing on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE) Socially Responsible Invest- ment (SRI) index is the publication, by companies, of annual sustainability reports in line with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines that require stakeholders to be included in defining the content of such reports. Despite this requirement, stakeholders appear not to be integrally involved in the process. The primary objective of the study was to determine whether the contents of sustainability reports of the mining companies listed on the JSE SRI index are based on the outcome of robust stakeholder engagement processes undertaken specifically for the purpose of preparing these reports. Against a backdrop of the GRI requirements, a quantitative evaluation was undertaken of recent sustainability reports of 11 South African mining companies. These reports were also qualitatively assessed against the corporate social responsibility (CSR) Journey Model proposed by Mirvis and Googins (2006). The two assessment scores for each mining company were integrated and the companies were plotted ac- cording to a CSR journey that encompasses degrees of stakeholder involvement. The findings highlight that while the companies adhere to the quantitative GRI stakeholder engagement requirements, the contents of the sustainability reports have not been specifically informed by stakeholders. Companies also appear to be in the early stages of the CSR journey. Recommendations include advising mining companies to utilise existing stakeholder engagement platforms to advance stakeholder inclusion in sustainability reporting and for mining companies to engage in developing the business case for CSR, which could promote greater stakeholder involvement. 
  • In corporations we trust? A critique of contractarian- based corporate social responsibility models

    Woermann, Minka; Department of Philosophy, Stellenbosch University, South Africa (SUNMeDIA, 2014-07-23)
    This paper presents a philosophical critique of contractarian-based corporate social responsibility mod- els. Specifically, attention is given to Freeman’s (and Philips’s) justification for voluntary agreements between corporations and their stakeholders. The critique is conducted at the hand of the claim that the social contract is a helpful tool for circumscribing the obligations of contracting parties, and that these derived obligations form a trust relation between the contracting parties. By analysing the logic of these relations, an argument is developed for why the structural conditions necessary to inspire trust in contracts are not met in the case of certain corporate-stakeholder relations. 
  • The power of the fish is in the water

    Veldsman, Theo; University of Johannesburg (SUNMeDIA, 2015-12-21)
    Every organisation (‘the fish’) is embedded in a certain setting (‘the water’).  These metaphors imply a highly reciprocal, interdependent relationship between the organisation and its setting.  The purpose of my article is to explore the utility of the conceptual distinction drawn by Aguinis and Glavas (2013) between Embedded and Peripheral Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), as applied from an emerging countries (ECs) perspective. Firstly, I elucidate unique EC organisational/people features. Secondly, I highlight the implications of these features for CSR. Finally, I address ‘contextually fit’ CSR, arguing that Embedded CSR is the sole imperative for organisations in ECs, but as an active, societal transformation partner.Every organisation (‘the fish’) is embedded in a certain setting (‘the water’).  These metaphors imply a highly reciprocal, interdependent relationship between the organisation and its setting.  The purpose of my article is to explore the utility of the conceptual distinction drawn by Aguinis and Glavas (2013) between Embedded and Peripheral Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), as applied from an emerging countries (ECs) perspective. Firstly, I elucidate unique EC organisational/people features. Secondly, I highlight the implications of these features for CSR. Finally, I address ‘contextually fit’ CSR, arguing that Embedded CSR is the sole imperative for organisations in ECs, but as an active, societal transformation partner.
  • Internal corporate governance and personal trust

    Rossouw, G. J.; Philosophy Department and Centre for Business and Professional Ethics, University of Pretoria (SUNMeDIA, 2014-07-29)
    There are various indications that corporations and their leaders are currently not perceived as trustworthy. This decline in trust is one of the factors that has contributed to the rise of interest in corporate governance. There is an explicit expectation that an adherence to the principles and practice of good corporate governance will bolster the trust of stakeholders in business. It is exactly this expectation that provides the focus for this article. The expectation that good corporate governance will result in higher levels of trust will be critically examined. This will be done by first making some crucial distinctions regarding corporate governance in order to clarify what kind of corporate governance is at stake in the examination that is to follow. Also, with regard to the concept of ‘trust’, a number of important distinctions will be made to clarify what is meant by trust within the context of this paper. Against the backdrop of these distinctions regarding corporate governance and trust, the question will then be refined as to whether, specifically, internal corporate governance can bolster the perceptions of trustworthiness that stakeholders have of business. Principles and practices of internal corporate governance will then be critically examined to determine their potential for enhancing stakeholders’ perceptions of the trustworthiness of corporations and their leaders. 
  • Corporate social responsibility for SMEs: A proposed hypothesised model

    Turyakira, Peter; Department of Marketing and Management, College of Business and Management Sciences (COBAMS), Makerere University; Venter, Elmarie; Department of Business Management at the NMMU; Smith, Elroy; Department of Business Management at the NMMU (SUNMeDIA, 2014-07-17)
    In a competitive, globalised world, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is proposed as a strategy to invigorate the competitiveness of small‐ and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs). The primary objective of this paper is to identify CSR factors that influence the competitiveness of SMEs and to develop a hypothesised model that can be tested on SMEs. Although SMEs in Uganda are increasingly becoming the backbone of the economy, their rate of survival and competitiveness are a cause for concern. The outcomes of CSR activities can help to improve the survival rate of SMEs, and may offer great oppor‐ tunities for business competitiveness, locally and globally. 
  • Balancing corporate and social interests: Corporate governance theory and practice

    Rossouw, G. J.; Business Ethics Network of Africa (BEN-Africa); Philosophy Department, University of Pretoria (SUNMeDIA, 2014-07-29)
    The claim is often made that corporate governance is an attempt to balance corporate interests with individual and societal interests. Lord Adrian Cadbury, who chaired the Cadbury Commission that produced the Cadbury Report on Corporate Governance in the UK, claims that the objective of corporate governance “is to align as nearly as possible the interests of individuals, corporations and society”. This paper will test whether this claim can be substantiated on the theoretical and practice level. To test this claim on the theoretical level the concept of corporate governance will be analysed in order to determine whether the said balance is implied by the concept of corporate governance. In order to determine whether the claim find support in corporate governance practices around the world, six continental or regional reports on the relationship between business ethics and corporate governance, representative of the various regions of the world (Africa, Asia-Pacific region, Europe, Japan, Latin America and North America), will be analysed critically. On the basis of this conceptual and corporate governance practice analysis an assessment will be made of whether corporate governance is about “align[ing] as nearly as possible the interests of individuals, corporations and society”. 
  • Debt of local authorities in South Africa: Accounting realities leading to ethical, social and political predicaments

    Lubbe, Dave; Centre for Accounting, University of the Free State; Rossouw, Cobus; University of the Free State (SUNMeDIA, 2014-07-29)
    Local authorities in South Africa face ethical, social and political dilemmas in dealing with the reality of the escalating outstanding debt payable to them. The culture of non-payment, and other reasons, have increased the outstanding debts of local authorities for services rendered by them to disturbing levels. However, the continued accounting recognition of further outstanding debt and revenue by local authorities is in reality in conflict with the relevant accounting principles. All stakeholders in the public sector will have to seriously consider whether the overstatement of outstanding debtors of local authorities does not constitute window dressing, unethical and negligent behaviour and in some instances even reckless conduct of affairs to such serious extent that it can no longer be tolerated. 
  • Antecedents and current situation of humanistic management

    Melé, Domènec; Department of Business Ethics, IESE Business School, University of Navarra (SUNMeDIA, 2014-07-17)
    Humanistic management is generally presented as an alternative perspective to the economic paradigm in management and organisational theories. We find both humanism and economicism in the first stages of modern management, and they still persist at the beginning of the 21st century. This paper reviews the antecedents and current situation of humanistic management. Although economicism is still dominant, it has received severe criticism and several management approaches discussed here can contribute to further development of humanistic management. These include person-organisation fit, peoples’ involvement in organisations, the consideration of business as a human community, comprehensive approaches to decision-making, stakeholder management, values-based management, as well as ethics and corporate responsibility in management, personal competencies and positive organisational scholarship. 
  • Practice and politics: Ethics and social responsibility in SMEs in the European Union

    Spence, Laura J.; Centre for Research into Sustainability, University of London; Perrini, Francesco; Institute of Strategy, Department of Management, Bocconi University (SUNMeDIA, 2014-07-29)
    In this paper we outline the status quo of ethics and social responsibility in small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the European Union (EU). Social issues and SMEs is an established topic of research and subject of policy-making in Europe, and thus in this paper we are able to draw on existing activities to summarise what we know about the topic. We describe the important position given to SMEs and entrepreneurship as drivers of the economy through job creation, social inclusion and issues such as employee health and welfare. We note that the ethics/social responsibility practices and strategies of SMEs tend to be greater than expected, but are informal and local community-based rather than replicating large firm approaches. To demonstrate the variety within Europe, we provide some nation-specific perspectives on social responsibility and SMEs with a closer look at Denmark, Italy, the UK and central and eastern Europe and the Baltic States. 
  • Managerial business ethics in South Africa: An exploratory comparison - 1987 and 2009

    Christo, Bisschoff; Potchefstroom Business School, North-West University, Potchefstroom; Fullerton, Sam; Potchefstroom Business School, North-West University, Potchefstroom (SUNMeDIA, 2014-07-23)
    A sample of 259 South African managers completed a survey originally administered by Nel (1992). The results of the current study indicated a favourable move on four of the 15 questionable ac- tions used to assess each group’s ethical predisposition. Furthermore, the grand means for the two temporal-based samples also provided anecdotal evidence of a positive transition. Virtually identical results were in evidence when the segment of 89 top managers was compared to the sample of its higher level peers from the earlier study by Nel. The results support the premise that today’s South African managers have a more ethical predisposition than did their peers of some 20 years prior to them. However, the study concurrently documents the reality that there is ample room for further improvement. 
  • The relative importance of ethics, environmental, social and governance criteria

    Viviers, Suzette; Department of Business Management, Stellenbosch University; Krüger, Janine; Department of Business Management at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University; Venter, Danie JL; Unit for Statistical Consultancy at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (SUNMeDIA, 2014-07-17)
    Responsible investing (RI) is a growing phenomenon in the international investment arena. This article investigates the level of knowledge of members of South African pension/provident funds with regard to RI and the importance with which they view various ethical, environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria. Respondents (n = 281) indicated a relatively low level of understanding of the concept of RI. Significant differences were noted in the perceptions of respondents about the relative importance of ethical and ESG criteria based on their gender and level of education. The findings could assist asset owners in reformulating their investment mandates, which in turn, will enable fund managers to invest in a more responsible manner. 
  • Responsible leadership development through management education: A business ethics perspective

    Smit, Arnold; Centre for Business in Society, USB Executive Development Ltd., Stellenbosch Business School, Bellville (SUNMeDIA, 2014-07-17)
    Whilst business has contributed hugely to human development and economic progress, there is, at the same time, an intensifying debate about its complicity in aggravating the sustainability risks that society is currently facing. This debate also has a bearing on the role of management education in shaping the ethical and functional paradigms in the light of which businesses are created, developed and managed, as well as the parameters in the light of which they are evaluated and rated to be successful or not. This concept paper explores the emergence of a new paradigm in management education, namely one that incorporates the development of responsible leadership. In doing so, the paper contends, management education will have to engage with three critical issues, namely the meaning and place of ethics in theories of management, the development of managers as responsible leaders and the design of a curriculum that will effectively integrate matters of ethics and responsibility across the spectrum of management subjects. 
  • Business Ethics as field of training, teaching and research in Southern Africa

    Smurthwaite, Marilise; St Augustine College of South Africa (SUNMeDIA, 2014-07-29)
    Few studies have been done on Business Ethics as field of training, teaching and research in Southern Africa. This article details the methodology and findings of the survey of Business Ethics in Southern Africa. Findings, among others, indicate the preferred terminology used to refer to the field of Business Ethics. It also shows that most expertise in the field is found in South Africa, centered mainly at the meso-economic level, with most research being done on CSR, corporate governance and economic justice. Future challenges identified for the field of Business Ethics are mainly at the macro-level, espe- cially related to the economic system and ecology where little research or expertise is currently focused. 

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