Lars Jacob has published the book chapter “Personal Responsibility and Ethical Action” (with Professor Knut J. Ims) in the new book Handbook of Business Ethics: Ethics in the New Economy (Oxford: Peter Lang). The book is edited by Professor Laszlo Zsolnai from Corvinus University of Budapest, and it contains contributions from scientists who affiliated at business schools in the CEMS network.
The chapter is about the relationship between personal responsibility and ethical actions, and it studies the following cases: Siemens, Statoil and Storebrand.
Here is the abstract:
The chapter demonstrates the close connection between responsibility and ethicality. The purpose of the paper is to give insight into the role of personal responsibility for promoting ethical action in business organizations. Assuming an action-oriented perspective on human actors, the importance of deep emotions like empathy and justice is emphasized. The paper outlines state of the art perspectives on responsibility and builds on these frameworks in order to explore the notion of personal responsibility. The importance of personal responsibility as a contrast to role-mediated behavior and common morality is highlighted. We broaden this perspective by introducing the concept of shared responsibility. Finally, we explore three cases of personally responsible action that include examples of conflicting loyalties in organizations. Using Hirschman’s distinctions between “exit, voice and loyalty”, we discuss three real world cases: Inge Wallage’s decision to leave her job in Statoil (“exit”), Per Yngve Monsen’s whistleblowing in Siemens (“voice”), and Storebrand’s shareholder strategy as a form of moral whispering (“loyalty”). The cases provide insight into alternative strategies for personally responsible action in organizational life.