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The Moral Manager: Communicative Ethics and the "Exxon Valdez" Disaster

Michael G. Bowen and F. Clark Power
Business Ethics Quarterly
Vol. 3, No. 2 (Apr., 1993), pp. 97-115
DOI: 10.2307/3857366
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3857366
Page Count: 19
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The Moral Manager: Communicative Ethics and the
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Abstract

For many, the case of the Exxon Valdez oil spill has become a symbol of unethical corporate behavior. Had Exxon's managers not callously pursued their own interests at the expense of the environment and other parties, the accident would not have happened. In this paper, we (1) present a short case study of the Valdez incident; (2) argue that many analyses of the case either ignore or fail to give sufficient weight to the uncertainties managers often face when they make decisions; and (3) propose a framework for moral management grounded in principles of communicative ethics, moral dialogue, and in the nontraditional ideas of many current management and behavioral decision theorists. From this view, the moral manager is not expected to know the "correct" answer to every ethical issue, but rather to participate responsibly in an open dialogue with other interested parties.

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