Responsible Business Conduct: Establishing Harmony among Ethical, Business and Societal Values

Laszlo Fekete, & Laszlo Zsolnai ‘Responsible Business Conduct: Establishing Harmony among Ethical, Business and Societal Values.’ , in Freedom and Responsibilities in China: Governments, Corporations, and Civil Cociety Organizations, ed. G.J. Rossouw, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, Shanghai, 2008.

The recent years the fast growing Chinese economy produced serious imbalances between the urban and the rural populations, as well as between society and nature. Achieving a socially and ecologically balanced economic development path is badly needed in the China.

The paper presents an operationalised model for responsible business conduct. The starting point is Kenneth E. Goodpaster’s conception of moral responsibility. In the proposed model decision alternatives are simultaneously evaluated from different value perspectives. Responsible business conduct is defined as finding the least worst alternative in the multidimensional decision space of deontological, goal-achievement, and stakeholder values. In this way harmony among ethical values, business values and societal values can be established.

Character traits of the responsible business leader are also provided. The revival of Confucianism may provide a promising ideological background for promoting responsible business conduct in China.

Responsible Business Conduct- Establishing Harmony among Ethical, Business and Societal Values