The W. Michael Hoffman Center for Business Ethics (HCBE) at Bentley University is one of the world’s leading research and educational institutes in the field of business ethics. Introduces students in the different models of ethical reasoning about business en management on the basis of cases (utilitarianism, deontogy and the problem of whistle blowing), justice oriented theories (with special attention paid to the social contract theory of Donaldson) en virtue ethics (especially the contribution of Solomon and the literature on ‘integrity’ ), with as special case: corruption.
The arguments tend to go as follows: (1) there are serious problems in the world, such as poverty, conflict, environmental degradation, and so on; (2) any agent with the resources and knowledge necessary to ameliorate these problems has a moral responsibility to do so, assuming the costs they incur on themselves are not great; (3) firms have the resources and knowledge necessary to ameliorate these problems without incurring great costs; therefore, (4) firms should ameliorate these problems.
II. A corporate organization acts” only if (1) certain human individuals in the organization performed certain actions in certain circumstances and (2) our linguistic and social conventions lay down that when those kinds of individuals perform those kinds of actions in those kinds of circumstances, this shall count as an act of their corporate organization.
The Center’s work is premised on the idea that business ethics lies at the core of a productive market system, and that a prosperous and just society presumes that people accept responsibility and discharge duties, that they honor commitments, that they deal honestly with others, and that they respect the dignity and integrity of fellow human beings.
Thus, business practices must follow a certain common business ethics principle. Critics of this traditional view of the individual’s responsibility for corporate acts have claimed that when an organized group such as a corporation acts together, their corporate act may be described as the act of the group and, consequently, the corporate group and not the individuals ho make up the group must be held responsible for the act. The first broad paradigm of ethics is that our moral core is grounded in Revelation.