“Speaking on Behalf of…”: Leadership Ethics and the Collective Nature of Moral Reflection

Andreas Rasche*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debateResearchpeer-review

Abstract

In this essay I discuss two limitations that emerge when considering Tsoukas (J Bus Ethics 2018. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-018-3979-y) analysis of the Academy of Management’s (AOM) initial response to the travel ban issued by President Trump in 2017. First, I suggest that any initial official response on the part of AOM would have required its leaders to “speak on behalf of” all AOM members and thus would have created a number of problems. We therefore need to take better account of others’ perspectives (“speaking with”) whenever speaking for others. For this reason I emphasize that moral imagination does not constitute a solely individual cognitive act but must be thought of as a deliberative process. Second, while Tsoukas’ analysis suggests that the leadership of AOM should have made an exception to the rule on taking public stands, I show that such exceptions need to be justified communicatively, especially when dealing with moral questions. My analysis outlines the formal and informal communication processes necessary to facilitate such justification and explores ways in which AOM’s current approach to deliberation can be improved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Volume163
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)13-22
Number of pages10
ISSN0167-4544
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

Published online 11 November 2019.

Keywords

  • Collective moral decisions
  • Deliberation
  • Derrida
  • Habermas
  • Leadership ethics

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