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Patel Making Sense

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    MAKING SENSE OF THE DIVERSITY OF ETHICAL DECISION MAKING IN BUSINESS:  AN ILLUSTRATION OF THE INDIAN CONTEXT Taran Patel and Anja Schaefer   2 MAKING SENSE OF THE DIVERSITY OF ETHICAL DECISION MAKING IN BUSINESS: AN ILLUSTRATION OF THE INDIAN CONTEXT  Abstract:    In this conceptual paper we look at the impact of culture on ethical decision making from a  Douglasian Cultural Theory (CT) perspective. We aim to show how CT can be used to explain the diversity and dynamicity of ethical beliefs and behaviours found in every social system, be it a corporation, a nation or even an individual. We introduce CT in the context of ethical decision making and then use it to discuss examples of business ethics in the Indian business context. We argue that the use of CT allows for a theoretically more sophisticated treatment of culture in ethical decision making and thus the avoidance of some common problems with existing cross-cultural studies of business ethics. In our discussion we raise questions about the compatibility between management systems and processes created in one context and ethical behaviours in another.   3 Key Words: Code of Ethics Douglasian Cultural Theory Methodological Individualism Shareholder Approach Stakeholder Approach Culture and Ethics List of Abbreviations: CT: Cultural Theory CSR: Corporate Social Responsibility GLOBE: Global Leadership and Organizational Behaviour Effectiveness GGT: Grid-Group Typology SEWA: Self-Employed Women’s Association ONGC: Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited BHEL: Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited  NTPC: National Thermal Power Corporation UN: United Nations   4 MAKING SENSE OF THE DIVERSITY OF ETHICAL DECISION MAKING IN BUSINESS: AN ILLUSTRATION OF THE INDIAN CONTEXT Introduction   This article employs Douglasian Cultural Theory (CT) to provide an account of cultural diversity in ethical decision making in business, focusing specifically on the Indian context. Ethical decision making has been one of the core strands of the business ethics literature and the area has seen an increased level of interest over recent years, as witnessed by several review articles on the subject (e.g. O’Fallon and Butterfield, 2005 and Tenbrunsel and Smith-Crowe 2008). Much of the seminal work in this field has been concerned with building models of ethical decision making or behaviour, generally based on Rest’s (1986) four-component model of individual ethical decision making: (1) recognition of moral issue; (2) making of moral judgment; (3) resolving to prioritise moral concerns; (4) acting on moral concerns, where each of the four components is conceptually separate. Building on such earlier work, Jones (1991) offered an integration of earlier models, again mostly based on Rest’s (1986) four components and adding a specific focus on the ‘moral intensity’ of the issue under consideration. In their recent review of the literature, Tenbrunsel and Smith-Crowe (2008) add a further dimension by distinguishing  between moral and amoral decision making, and stressing that either can lead to ethically acceptable or unacceptable decisions. They argue that there is no linear, compelling link between moral awareness, moral decision making (i.e. decision making where the actor is aware of the moral implications of the decision to be taken) and the ethicality of the outcome. Figure 1 shows a synthesis of these models to frame some of our discussion below. It is not intended to be a
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