Darwin and Ethics : Using Natural Selection to Understand Ethical Business and Organizational Behavior
Daly, S. P. & Mattila, M. M. (2000). Darwin and Ethics : Using Natural Selection to Understand Ethical Business and Organizational Behavior. EJBO - Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies, Vol. 5 (1). Retrieved from http://ejbo.jyu.fi
The origins of ethics and morality have been considered for many, many years. From ancient Greek metaphysicians to the great theologians of the Middle Ages to modern philosophers, different systematic frameworks have been developed to understand how and why ethics are formed. These frameworks provide people and organizations with guidance about how to act toward other humans and institutions in their environment. Steiner and Steiner (1991) discuss six different primary sources for understanding the development of ethics: religious, philosophical, cultural, legal, codes of conduct, and genetics (see Table). Of these six systems, the genetic framework is clearly the least developed, least explored, and least utilized. This is especially true in terms of understanding ethical behavior of modern business people and organizations. Thus, the purpose of this article is to examine the genetic (Darwinian) paradigm of ethical behavior in more detail. To do this, we will present a brief history of how the biological sciences and evolutionary thought has formulated a coherent view of the development of an ethical code of conduct. Next, the most recent development in this research stream – evolutionary psychology and social exchange – is used to connect the natural selection paradigm to the realm of business ethics and behavior. Empirical support and behavioral examples are given in both the areas of inter-personal and inter-organizational ethics. ...
PublisherBusiness and Organization Ethics Network (BON)