Is Business (Like) War?

business_ethics_highlights_2In the short article below, Scott Killingsworth examines how framing situations affects our moral intuitions, and in particular how framing business competition in terms of war matters. >>>

LINK: How Framing Shapes Our Conduct (by Scott Killingsworth in Ethisphere)

Psychologists have much to say about the phenomenon of “framing”—the process by which we decide “What kind of situation is this? What rules and expectations apply?” How we frame a situation affects our thinking and our behavior. We know, for example, that merely framing an issue as a “business matter” can invoke narrow rules of decision that shove non-business considerations, including ethical concerns, out of the picture. Tragic examples of this “strictly business” framing include Ford’s cost/benefit-driven decision to pay damages rather than recall explosion-prone Pintos, and the ill-fated launch of space shuttle Challenger after engineers’ safety objections were overruled with a simple “We have to make a management decision….”

What do you think?

See also:
Joseph Heath, “An Adversarial Ethic for Business: or, When Sun-Tzu met the Stakeholder,” Journal of Business Ethics, 69 (2006)


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One comment

  1. Thanks, a very interesting article! Just to make it complete, the latest Star Trek movie “Into Darkness” has a focus on why Kirk cheated in this situation and what consequences it had on his later ability to command. In fact it needed the input of his mentor Christopher Pike to overcome the critical situation.

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