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Sustainability 2016, 8(7), 612; doi:10.3390/su8070612

An Unexpected Means of Embedding Ethics in Organizations: Preliminary Findings from Values-Based Evaluations

1
Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
2
School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics, University of Brighton, Brighton BN2 4GJ, UK
3
Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9SL, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Giuseppe Ioppolo
Received: 19 April 2016 / Revised: 23 June 2016 / Accepted: 27 June 2016 / Published: 29 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [253 KB, uploaded 30 June 2016]

Abstract

Ethical principles constitute a crucial area of debate and discussion in the global conversation around transitions to sustainability, and of particular relevance to the contribution of businesses and other organizations. Scholars in business ethics have recently identified several challenges in this area, such as problems of measurement, rigor, and meaningfulness to practitioners; corporate social responsibility; and institutionalization of ethics in businesses. In this paper, the impacts of a pragmatic values-based evaluation approach originally developed in another field—education for sustainable development—are shown to strongly contribute to many of these challenges. Impacts found across eight organizations include (i) deep values conceptualization; (ii) increased esteem (iii) building capacity for assessment of values-based achievements; (iv) values mainstreaming; and (v) effective external values communications. It seems that the in-situ development and use of values-based indicators helped to conceptualize locally shared values that underpin decisions, thus embedding the application of (local) ethics. Although this study is exploratory, it is clear that the values-based approach shows promise for meeting key challenges in business ethics and wider sustainability, and for new directions for future cross-disciplinary research. View Full-Text
Keywords: values-based indicators; business ethics; organizational values; values conceptualization; corporate social responsibility; application of ethics; WeValue; evaluation impact values-based indicators; business ethics; organizational values; values conceptualization; corporate social responsibility; application of ethics; WeValue; evaluation impact
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Burford, G.; Hoover, E.; Stapleton, L.; Harder, M.K. An Unexpected Means of Embedding Ethics in Organizations: Preliminary Findings from Values-Based Evaluations. Sustainability 2016, 8, 612.

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