• Corporate governance reform

      Du Plessis, Charl (BEN-Africa, 2005)
      A shift in the cultural conception of the firm as production-system to that as investment-system entrenches the institutional logic of agency theory in governance reform. Reform initiatives emphasize the separation between management and the board, forensic reporting requirements, and the primacy of shareholders’ entitlement to control and residual gains. Problems associated with this agency logic render reform unable to deliver a broad-based ethical operating environment. The introduction of a version of stakeholder theory, augmented by Knightian uncertainty, places the development of an alternative conception of the firm into discourse. Implications for governance reform are considered.
    • Socially responsible (ethical) investing in South Africa

      Viviers, Suzette (BEN-Africa, 2005)
      More South African investors are integrating their personal values into their investment decisions. Research on the performance of socially responsible investment (SRI) funds, also called ethical funds, yields conflicting results. In this study, the risk adjusted performance of 14 local SRI funds have been evaluated vis-à-vis their respective benchmarks. The results of the Treynor and Sharpe ratios indicate that the majority of funds outperformed their respective benchmarks over the period 1 July 2001 to 31 June 2004 and all but one fund posted positive Alphas. These results thus appear consistent with previous research which shows that ethics indeed pays.
    • Cultural justice

      Naudé, Piet (BEN-Africa, 2005)
      This paper argues that an African business ethic should take the promotion of cultural justice as one of its major tasks. After an explanation of globalisation as homogenizing cultural force that shapes moral identity, the notion of cultural justice as “unselfconscious living” is explained. This is then set in the context of an agenda for business ethics in Africa that would require more work on how a narrative moral identity is constructed, and how trans-cultural business environments could be created and sustained.
    • Stakeholder engagement by South African businesses

      Mwangi, JCM (John); Van Vuuren, LJ (Leon); Rossouw, GJ (Deon) (BEN-Africa, 2005)
      The term “stakeholder engagement” has gained increasing prominence over the last few years. This prominence is fueled by a range of issues such as an increased dissatisfaction with business’s focus on stockholder/shareholder interests and the demands for greater transparency from business following major business scandals. A perceived response to this issue in South Africa has been the inclusion of guidelines on stakeholder engagement in the King II Report on Corporate Governance. Despite this growing interest, there has not been clarity on how companies engage with their stakeholders and specifically with how they identify and prioritize their stakeholders. The study sought to establish the reporting practices of South African business in relation to stakeholder identification and prioritization through a content analysis of their annual reports. The findings are discussed and recommendations on the two aspects of stakeholder engagement presented.
    • Corporate governance and trust in business

      Rossouw, GJ (Deon) (BEN-Africa, 2005)
      The recent prominence of corporate governance was sparked by a decline in trust in business that followed on some spectacular corporate scandals. There is an expectation that adherence to the standards of good corporate governance can restore trust in business. This article examines the link between corporate governance and trust and finds that at least theoretically there is a positive correlation between corporate governance and trust in business. It is however argued that not any form or model of corporate governance will enhance trust in business. An appropriate balance needs to be struck between a number of polarities that exist in the corporate governance reform agenda. Three such polarities are explored and the nature of the balance that needs to be found with regard to each of these sets of polarities is outlined.
    • Globalization and the threat to women’s progress from poor men of the South

      Du Plessis, Charl (BEN-Africa, 2007)
      Control over economic surplus is the biggest contributor towards women’s substantive equality in society. Furthermore, surplus-generating women prioritize spending on family nutrition, health and education, which yields long-term social benefits at macro-level. Globalization’s marginalization of poor men in the Global South, from both the formal and informal economies, diminishes men’s strategic indispensability in the community and household, and results in resistance to women’s increased independence. Men’s perceived sense of loss of control acts as trigger for an increase in domestic and social violence towards women, with debilitating impact on the de facto status of women in society, and with that, the beneficial impact that equality of women could have on future generations.
    • In defence of partisan justice

      Naudé, Piet (BEN-Africa, 2007)
      The managerial and personal approaches to Business Ethics are inadequate to address the systemic problems facing ethical reflection in Africa. It is argued that the ethical guidance position that takes the least advantaged individuals or groups in society as reference points is a more suitable ethical approach. The philosophical version of this egalitarian view as set out by John Rawls is then shortly explained, after which a few implications for Business Ethics in Africa are drawn.
    • Corporate social responsibility

      Viviers, Suzette; Venter, Danie JL (BEN-Africa, 2007)
      The purpose of this study was to ascertain South African Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMME) owners’/managers’ perceptions regarding the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in this sector of the economy. Their views were gauged by means of a questionnaire based on Carroll’s (1979, 1991) CSR hierarchy. Descriptive and inferential statistics, based on 262 questionnaires, show that SMME owners/managers viewed CSR as a very important business practice in South Africa. Given the critical role that SMMEs can play in addressing South Africa’s socio-economic needs, it is recommended that more SMME owners/managers be educated as to what CSR entails and how it can be implemented.
    • Exploring the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Guidelines as a model for triple bottom-line reporting

      Hartman, Laura P; Painter-Morland, Mollie (BEN-Africa, 2007)
      The paper is aimed at analyzing the contribution that the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) makes to the field of sustainability reporting. It provides an overview of the multitude of initiatives aimed at standardizing corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts on a global scale and highlights the ways in which the GRI can be distinguished from other international initiatives. By evaluating GRI’s goals and its claims, the paper provides an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of this critical initiative. It includes a discussion of changes and new strategies that GRI proposes as part of its recently introduced G3 Guidelines. The authors contend that, despite certain remaining challenges, GRI has much to offer a stakeholder community that has for many decades been starved of quality, measurable and accountable corporate social information presented in an accessible and understandable format.
    • Does African "corruption" exist?

      De Maria, William (Bill) (BEN-Africa, 2007-07)
      This paper travels into what De Sardan calls the unexplored “social mechanisms of corruption” (1999, p. 25). One of the great contemporary assignments for ethics, sociology and ethnography scholarships is accounting for the enormous distance between judicial, political and donor condemnation of African “corruption” on one hand and their frequency, banalisation and outright cultural legitimacy by ordinary people on the other. To do this the paper is set within the unremitting colonialism that is the African tragedy. It depicts the current interventions by the West into African “corruption” as the third wave of colonialism, and anticipates two further waves. Using the outlooks of a postcolonial ethnography I explore the Western takeover of the management of African corruption and consider the motives that drive this new colonialism.
    • Morality of principle versus morality of loyalty:

      Uys, Tina; Senekal, Anton (BEN-Africa, 2008-11)
      Whistleblowing involves the unauthorised disclosure of organisational wrongdoing by an employee (or former employee) to those who are perceived to be in a position to act on this information. When considering whether to disclose such information, whistleblowers confront the conflicting demands of the morality of principle versus the morality of loyalty. The aim of this paper is to explore the dynamics involved in this moral dilemma. A typology reflecting the possible responses in managing such moral dilemmas is developed. Three dimensions related to wrongdoing, namely perceptions, extent of the wrongdoing and power relationships are also analysed. It is concluded that, although the conflicting demands of the morality of principle versus the morality of loyalty will always exist, there are measures that can be taken to limit the impact of these conflicts and in the long run even resolve them. In particular, if loyalty is reconceptualised as rational loyalty, the disclosure of perceived wrongdoing could more easily be interpreted as loyalty to the organisation as a whole.
    • Balancing corporate and social interests:

      Rossouw, Deon (GJ) (BEN-Africa, 2008-12-16)
      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”.
    • Attitudes of management students towards workplace ethics: A comparative study between South Africa and Cyprus

      Thomas, Adele; Krambia-Kapardis, Maria; Zopiatis, Anastasios (BEN-Africa, 2008-12-16)
      In order to understand attitudes towards work-related ethics and the teaching of business ethics in management programmes at universities, a survey was conducted with management students at two universities, one in the Republic of Cyprus (hereafter referred to as Cyprus) and the other in the Republic of South Africa (hereafter referred to as South Africa). An attempt was also made to investigate whether such differences, if any, were linked to differences in national culture. The findings indicate that no significant differences between the two samples exist on four of the five dimensions of national culture (Hofstede, 1994) and, accordingly, differences in attitudes towards workplace ethical issues cannot be said to be linked to this variable. Significant differences were found between the two samples on certain questionnaire items that related to workplace practices with the Cypriot sample, more so than the South African sample, appearing to be willing to engage in certain workplace practices that would be deemed unethical in society. It is recommended that ethics education be integral to a business curriculum and that teaching methodologies explore ways in which to develop moral reasoning in students.
    • They are all lies. Even Mother Theresa did it for herself …

      Woermann, Minka; Hattingh, Johan (BEN-Africa, 2008-12-16)
      In this paper we explore the question of what are we trying to achieve in teaching business ethics at university level. The dominant normative model of business ethics suggests that the aim of business ethics (including the teaching of business ethics) is to move business people from an egotistic position to an altruistic position. According to the latter position, the greater good of society is served by unselfish, other-regarding action, instead of by the narrow, self-centred interests of individuals or corporations acting on their own behalf (i.e. egoism). In this paper, the dominant model is analysed and criticised by means of subjecting it to the question of whether it is at all possible to move people from one position to another through teaching business ethics. A second, related aim of this analysis and critique deals with the question of whether ethics (as taking up moral responsibility for one’s actions) really entails a neat, linear model of change from position A to B. To arrive at a possible alternative model of teaching and “doing” business ethics, we explore some classic philosophical positions in which mixed signals are given about the status of egoism in ethics. This analysis will be applied to, and supported by, experience gained from teaching business ethics to accounting and management students at pre-graduate level at the University of Stellenbosch.
    • Debt of local authorities in South Africa:

      Lubbe, Dave; Rossouw, Cobus (BEN-Africa, 2008-12-16)
      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.
    • Introduction: Business Ethics in Small and Medium Enterprises

      Painter-Morland, Mollie; Spence, Laura J.,1968-(viaf)36312604 (BEN-Africa, 2009)
      "This volume of papers brings together the insights that researchers from around the globe have developed on ethics in micro, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). We are pleased to present an extraordinary range of papers giving regional perspectives from Africa, Europe, India, Latin America, New Zealand and Australia and the United States of America. The idea originated from a plenary panel on ‘Ethics in SMEs’ that was part of the 2008 Congress of the International Society for Business, Ethics and Economics (ISBEE) in Cape Town, South Africa. ISBEE is a global organization which has the goal of enabling the contemporary debates on business ethics and economics to include a developing world perspective as well as the dominant Anglo-Saxon developed world view. ISBEE holds a world Congress every 4 years, fondly known as the ‘Olympics of Business Ethics’. After previous Congresses in Tokyo, Saõ Paulo and Melbourne, the Cape Town Congress was ably hosted by the Business Ethics Network-Africa . Thirty nine countries were represented at the Congress, ensuring a rich and vibrant mix of perspectives. One of the two Congress themes was Ethics in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, which took the form of both individual research papers and the global overviews presented here.", p. 1
    • Ethics and sustainability within SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa

      Painter-Morland, Mollie; Dobie, Kris (BEN-Africa, 2009)
      In this paper, we explore the role ethics plays in African SMEs. We looked specifically at the role that relationships between SMEs and their stakeholders play in enabling or foreclosing the possibility of ethical business practices. We argue that certain relationships, such as those between SMEs, suppliers, employees and local communities, can be described as enabling. Other relationships, such as those with corrupt governments, are contaminating. What seems to be needed is to expand on and strengthen certain constraining relationships, such as those that exist between peers within a certain industry, professional associations, and civil society. Key words: ethics, SMEs, Africa, networks, business relationships
    • The Scott-Harker model of ethical business leadership in the light of an African understanding of human existence

      Prozesky, Martin (BEN-Africa, 2009-11-01)
      Australian business consultant Ted Scott and his colleague, psychologist Phil Harker have developed a model of ethical leadership in the workplace, involving two basic and contrasting styles of business leadership. Given their location in a wealthy, western-type society, their model, which this paper describes, generates the following question: does the model also have validity for Africans in southern Africa? To answer this question, the paper gives a profile of a widely held, traditional African view of human existence and correlates it with the Scott/Harker model. This leads to the conclusion that the Scott/Harker model is well suited to the challenges facing African business leaders.
    • Internal governance imperatives for universities

      Thomas, Adele (BEN-Africa, 2009-11-01)
      In a world of increasing concern about corporate governance, universities should be at the forefront of role modelling sound governance and promoting the development of moral standards in society in accordance with one of their central mandates. This paper argues that compliance with relevant legislation and higher education policy of the country is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for sound and meaningful governance within universities. What is also required is the exposing and addressing of those ‘less easy to articulate’ and often subtle practices that render meaningless espoused values and that hamper full collegiality that can contribute to the achievement of university objectives. In addition, this omission has resulted in poor role modelling of governance standards to students who pass through universities on their way to becoming future leaders and decision-makers. These are the students who may translate their university experience into the way they influence, in some way, the moral standards of society. The paper concludes by posing three questions, as a start, to guide the interrogation of governance and to begin the process of developing moral responsibility at universities.
    • Business education and erosion of character

      Elegido, Juan (BEN-Africa, 2009-11-01)
      This article discusses the evidence for the claim that exposure to the economic model of man tends to make students more selfish. It also discusses the more general problems created by the employment in business education of the models of human beings used in the social sciences, which often are extremely simple. After considering some proposed solutions to these problems, the article advocates exposing students to more inclusive conceptions of human nature and, as each model is taught, helping students to reflect on the aspects of our knowledge which it leaves out of account.