Ethical Blindness and Business Legitimacy

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Ethical blindness describes the temporary inability of a person to make moral judgments and acting morally in the context of working in an organization. Such a failure of moral judgment can be harmful and may damage the entire organization, its reputation, and public legitimacy. This chapter provides both an introductory overview and definition of the theory of “ethical blindness.” The chapter proceeds by first introducing to the general social phenomenon of ethical blindness. Then it presents the specific theory of ethical blindness proposed by Palazzo et al. (J Bus Ethics 109:323–338, 2012). The structure is as follows: First, the chapter shows how the theory relies on an epistemology of individuals’ cognitive propensity to be fallible in combination with a theory of individual “sensemaking” and “framing.” The sensemaking process is under external pressure from social contexts within the organization and its surrounding society. The possible outcome of inflexible and too “rigid framing” is ethical blindness – an incapacity to be sensitive to moral demands elicited by the situation. Second, the normative aspect of the theory is outlined to argue for a pluralistic democratizing of the business organization as a means to prevent ethical blindness in the organization. The theory of political CSR is suggested as a means to secure business legitimacy and counteract ethical blindness in organizations. Finally, the chapter concludes with a brief discussion of the practical usages of the theory of ethical blindness as a possible template for a tool to educate employees to withstand pressures that might lead to harmful ethical blindness in the working place.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Business Legitimacy : Responsibility, Ethics and Society
EditorsJacob Dahl Rendtorff
Number of pages12
Place of PublicationSchweiz
PublisherSpringer
Publication date19 Nov 2019
Edition1
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-14621-4
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-68845-9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2019

Fingerprint

Blindness
Legitimacy
Moral Judgment
Sensemaking
Social Context
Employees
Person
Template
Propensity
Epistemology
Damage
Social Phenomena
Corporate Social Responsibility

Keywords

  • Moral imagination
  • Political CSR
  • Ethical blindness
  • Framing
  • Sensemaking

Cite this

Toft, K. H. (2019). Ethical Blindness and Business Legitimacy. In J. Dahl Rendtorff (Ed.), Handbook of Business Legitimacy: Responsibility, Ethics and Society (1 ed.). Schweiz: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-68845-9_33-1
Toft, Kristian Høyer. / Ethical Blindness and Business Legitimacy. Handbook of Business Legitimacy: Responsibility, Ethics and Society. editor / Jacob Dahl Rendtorff. 1. ed. Schweiz : Springer, 2019.
@inbook{d16d0f4766b94d73b228c8292a6a7a66,
title = "Ethical Blindness and Business Legitimacy",
abstract = "Ethical blindness describes the temporary inability of a person to make moral judgments and acting morally in the context of working in an organization. Such a failure of moral judgment can be harmful and may damage the entire organization, its reputation, and public legitimacy. This chapter provides both an introductory overview and definition of the theory of “ethical blindness.” The chapter proceeds by first introducing to the general social phenomenon of ethical blindness. Then it presents the specific theory of ethical blindness proposed by Palazzo et al. (J Bus Ethics 109:323–338, 2012). The structure is as follows: First, the chapter shows how the theory relies on an epistemology of individuals’ cognitive propensity to be fallible in combination with a theory of individual “sensemaking” and “framing.” The sensemaking process is under external pressure from social contexts within the organization and its surrounding society. The possible outcome of inflexible and too “rigid framing” is ethical blindness – an incapacity to be sensitive to moral demands elicited by the situation. Second, the normative aspect of the theory is outlined to argue for a pluralistic democratizing of the business organization as a means to prevent ethical blindness in the organization. The theory of political CSR is suggested as a means to secure business legitimacy and counteract ethical blindness in organizations. Finally, the chapter concludes with a brief discussion of the practical usages of the theory of ethical blindness as a possible template for a tool to educate employees to withstand pressures that might lead to harmful ethical blindness in the working place.",
keywords = "Moral imagination, Political CSR, Ethical blindness, Framing, Sensemaking",
author = "Toft, {Kristian H{\o}yer}",
year = "2019",
month = "11",
day = "19",
doi = "10.1007/978-3-319-68845-9_33-1",
language = "English",
isbn = "978-3-030-14621-4",
editor = "{Dahl Rendtorff}, Jacob",
booktitle = "Handbook of Business Legitimacy",
publisher = "Springer",
address = "Germany",
edition = "1",

}

Toft, KH 2019, Ethical Blindness and Business Legitimacy. in J Dahl Rendtorff (ed.), Handbook of Business Legitimacy: Responsibility, Ethics and Society. 1 edn, Springer, Schweiz. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-68845-9_33-1

Ethical Blindness and Business Legitimacy. / Toft, Kristian Høyer.

Handbook of Business Legitimacy: Responsibility, Ethics and Society. ed. / Jacob Dahl Rendtorff. 1. ed. Schweiz : Springer, 2019.

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

TY - CHAP

T1 - Ethical Blindness and Business Legitimacy

AU - Toft, Kristian Høyer

PY - 2019/11/19

Y1 - 2019/11/19

N2 - Ethical blindness describes the temporary inability of a person to make moral judgments and acting morally in the context of working in an organization. Such a failure of moral judgment can be harmful and may damage the entire organization, its reputation, and public legitimacy. This chapter provides both an introductory overview and definition of the theory of “ethical blindness.” The chapter proceeds by first introducing to the general social phenomenon of ethical blindness. Then it presents the specific theory of ethical blindness proposed by Palazzo et al. (J Bus Ethics 109:323–338, 2012). The structure is as follows: First, the chapter shows how the theory relies on an epistemology of individuals’ cognitive propensity to be fallible in combination with a theory of individual “sensemaking” and “framing.” The sensemaking process is under external pressure from social contexts within the organization and its surrounding society. The possible outcome of inflexible and too “rigid framing” is ethical blindness – an incapacity to be sensitive to moral demands elicited by the situation. Second, the normative aspect of the theory is outlined to argue for a pluralistic democratizing of the business organization as a means to prevent ethical blindness in the organization. The theory of political CSR is suggested as a means to secure business legitimacy and counteract ethical blindness in organizations. Finally, the chapter concludes with a brief discussion of the practical usages of the theory of ethical blindness as a possible template for a tool to educate employees to withstand pressures that might lead to harmful ethical blindness in the working place.

AB - Ethical blindness describes the temporary inability of a person to make moral judgments and acting morally in the context of working in an organization. Such a failure of moral judgment can be harmful and may damage the entire organization, its reputation, and public legitimacy. This chapter provides both an introductory overview and definition of the theory of “ethical blindness.” The chapter proceeds by first introducing to the general social phenomenon of ethical blindness. Then it presents the specific theory of ethical blindness proposed by Palazzo et al. (J Bus Ethics 109:323–338, 2012). The structure is as follows: First, the chapter shows how the theory relies on an epistemology of individuals’ cognitive propensity to be fallible in combination with a theory of individual “sensemaking” and “framing.” The sensemaking process is under external pressure from social contexts within the organization and its surrounding society. The possible outcome of inflexible and too “rigid framing” is ethical blindness – an incapacity to be sensitive to moral demands elicited by the situation. Second, the normative aspect of the theory is outlined to argue for a pluralistic democratizing of the business organization as a means to prevent ethical blindness in the organization. The theory of political CSR is suggested as a means to secure business legitimacy and counteract ethical blindness in organizations. Finally, the chapter concludes with a brief discussion of the practical usages of the theory of ethical blindness as a possible template for a tool to educate employees to withstand pressures that might lead to harmful ethical blindness in the working place.

KW - Moral imagination

KW - Political CSR

KW - Ethical blindness

KW - Framing

KW - Sensemaking

UR - https://www.springer.com/us/book/9783030146214#aboutBook

U2 - 10.1007/978-3-319-68845-9_33-1

DO - 10.1007/978-3-319-68845-9_33-1

M3 - Book chapter

SN - 978-3-030-14621-4

BT - Handbook of Business Legitimacy

A2 - Dahl Rendtorff, Jacob

PB - Springer

CY - Schweiz

ER -

Toft KH. Ethical Blindness and Business Legitimacy. In Dahl Rendtorff J, editor, Handbook of Business Legitimacy: Responsibility, Ethics and Society. 1 ed. Schweiz: Springer. 2019 https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-68845-9_33-1