Discussion: Is Love All You Need?
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Philosopher and historian Martin Buber (1878–1965) taught that love is not a feeling but a responsibility of one person for another. Feelings may come and go, but the solidarity that people have with each other and the care they take with one another define them as human beings. Thus, love, as responsibility, depends on relationships based on good faith and concern. Business, too, is about relationships. Without a relationship of trust, there can be no exchange of goods or services upon which economies are built.
Many people question the place of love in a business setting. When seen from Buber’s perspective, however, love is not an idyllic feeling, but a driving force for justice and care. This does not deny the need for profit and financial success. It simply emphasizes the other side of the twofold purpose of business (profit and responsibility). In fact, John Mackey, the founder of Whole Foods, has said that love has been the basis of his success in business, which translates into care and concern for customers beyond profit and for workers beyond productivity.
If there is anything that transcends time, place, and culture, it is love. The search for a universally applied set of ethics always comes back to it. But what does love look like in a business setting?
IBM expresses their mission: “[IBM] remain[s] dedicated to leading the world into a more prosperous and progressive future; to creating a world that is fairer, more diverse, more tolerant, more just” (Byers and Stanberry, 2018).
- Can Martin Buber’s notion of love play a role in business? Why or why not?
- If so, what would that look like?
- What responsibilities do companies have regarding justice and care?
- Should business ethics be grounded on more concrete tenets? Why or why not?
Remember in this discussion forum you should respond with substantial detail to this topic early in week 1 of the module. This will be your “initial post.” For your initial post also bring in information from at least one background source or your own research to help inform your classmates. Cite the source.
Then by week 2 of the module, you are to respond to the posts of at least two of your classmates. Your responses should have depth of critical thought and not simply agree or disagree. For each response also bring in information from at least one background source or your own research to help inform your classmates. Cite the source.
Each post should be about 250-300 words.
Discussion posts will be assessed according to the following criteria on the discussion rubric:
Quality of initial posting (first discussion only): Initial posting reveals a clear understanding of all aspects of the treated discussion question; uses factual and relevant information; and demonstrates full development of concepts.
Quality of Responses to Classmates: Responds to the required number of students and to the professor, if appropriate. Demonstrates analysis of others’ posts; extends meaningful discussions by building on previous peer posts; and offers alternative perspectives.
Reference to supporting readings/information literacy: Refers to and properly cites either course and/or outside readings in posts, as required.
Critical thinking: Demonstrates mastery conceptualizing the problem; viewpoints and assumptions of experts are analyzed, synthesized, and evaluated; and conclusions are logically presented with appropriate rationale.
Timeliness: Initial post occurs in a timely manner (1-3 days into module) allowing ample time for classmates to respond and engage.
Module 2 – Background
CULTURE, TIME, AND BUSINESS ETHICS
Let’s begin this Module by reading chapter 5 of the Byars and Stanberry book:
Byars, S. and Stanberry, Kurt (2018). Impact of Culture and Time on Business Ethics, chapter 5.
Business Ethics. Rice University, OpenStax. Retrieved from http://cnx.org/content/col25722/1.3 pgs. 131-154. CC BY 4.0 license
As you will see, there is indeed a relationship between business ethics, culture, and time. Of course, ethical practices and beliefs are influenced by geography and religion. The reading leads us to ask: Are the values central to business ethics universal?
According to the authors, most organizations hold three different kinds of beliefs about themselves: (1) purpose of the business, (2) the organization’s mission, and (3) culture, religion, and ethics-driven beliefs.
For example, watch the following video about Merck and Co.’s fight to control river blindness in Africa.
World Bank group (2014). Treating River Blindness and Other Neglected tropical diseases. YouTube video. Retrieved from http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2014/07/03/forty-years-later-the-extraordinary-river-blindness-partnership-sets-its-sights-on-new-goals. Standard Youtube license.
See the following article if you want to learn more about Merck’s successful donation program of the drug Mectizan to fight river blindness. This is a result of key players from across the world coming together to put ethical beliefs in motion. Merck describes their commitment: “as much as needed, for as long as needed.”
Merck (2019). Over 30 years: the Mectizan donation program. Retrieved from
The case assignment for this module looks at Nike and the ongoing issue of sweatshops. For that assignment, review:
Nike sweatshops: Behind the swoosh. (2011). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1097&v=M5uYCWVfuPQ. YouTube license.
Bain, M. (2017). Nike is facing a new wave of anti-sweatshop protests. Quartz. Retrieved from https://qz.com/1042298/nike-is-facing-a-new-wave-of-anti-sweatshop-protests/
Mintz, S. (May 2012). Social responsibilities of a U.S. company doing business abroad. Retrieved from https://www.ethicssage.com/2012/05/social-responsibilities-of-a-us-company-doing-business-abroad.html
St. Clair, J. (September 2018). Nike’s bad air. Retrieved from https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/09/10/105150/.