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  • Best practices in ethics management: Insights from a qualitative study in Slovakia

    Voluminous growth of new ethics management elements in corporate practice implies the need to enrich its theoretical understanding. Most studies delineate ethics management conventionally as measures primarily applied for establishing ethical norms and employee compliance. Furthermore, many models are somewhat limited in scope and amount of presented practices and usually do not conceptualize ethics management functions beyond traditional compliance‐integrity discussion. In addition, most models are not grounded in empirical research. With the aim to contribute to ethics management theory and bridge it with practice, this study employs a constructivist approach and maps best practices in ethics management via four focus groups with management professionals. Results suggest that ethics management can be viewed as a fundamentally participative and collaborative process, as a way of building relationships with external stakeholders, balancing structured planning and flexible change, and profoundly amalgamating with human resource management processes. Furthermore, in an Inventory of best practices encompassing 70 ethics practices, this study outlines nine functional subprocesses as key aspects of ethics management’s practical implementation. As the research was conducted in Slovakia, this study provides unique information on the recent developments in ethics management in one of the post‐transitional countries in the region of Central and Eastern Europe.

  • How Norway’s sovereign wealth fund negative screening affects firms’ value and behaviour

    This paper examines the impact of negative screening by responsible sovereign wealth funds on the value of excluded firms. We focus on the main sovereign wealth fund, the Government Pension Fund Global of Norway, which excluded 149 firms from its portfolio during the period 2006–2018. Using an event study methodology, we document a significant decrease in excluded firms’ stock prices. Moreover, we find that the nature of screening matters: norm‐based exclusions suffer from a significant and permanent decrease in their stock value, suggesting that market participants reacted to the Government Pension Fund Global of Norway exclusions. Overall, it can be asserted that the Norwegian fund has a strong signalling effect on financial markets, in terms of social and environmental information. We conclude that sovereign wealth funds could be used by governments as investment vehicles in order to promote responsible investments on a large scale.

  • The digital transformation of work: A relational view

    Conversation about the current and potential effects of digital technologies on the nature of work is raging within scholarly and practitioner communities. Artificial intelligence, robotics, data analytics, digital platforms, and automation, among other technologies, are prompting a swift and profound transformation of work. Building on Pierpaolo Donati's relational sociology, we examine the changes these technologies are likely to bring about in work as a human relation. Despite the very real threats of unemployment, job insecurity, precariousness, and surveillance, technology may also encourage the emergence of a work culture that shifts the scales toward a relational realm rather than a transactional one. To this end, we argue that work should be understood as a social relation with four dimensions: exchange value, intrinsic extra‐economic purpose, communication for reciprocal services, and correspondence with primary human needs according to use values. Understanding the digital transformation of work from this point of view requires comprehending the differentiation and integration of these four dimensions.

  • The ethical consequences of “going dark”

    The adoption of hyper‐strong encryption for mobile devices, such as the iPhone, has reignited debate about the need for exceptional access and the relative priority of privacy rights. Many software programs and algorithms are not neutral but “value‐laden,” and unbreakable encryption software virtually absolutizes the right to privacy, though it has justified limits in ethics and law. High tech companies have resisted any exceptional access solutions and generally opposed cooperation with law enforcement agencies for the sake of protecting the data of their customers. We argue that this strategy is ethically flawed based on the priority of the right to physical security over the right to privacy along with the need to ensure peace and order in the name of the common good. To support this line of reasoning we amplify the undifferentiated conception of the common good presented in the literature and sketch out the grounds for limiting rights based on the need to conform to the just requirements of the public order in a democratic society. The discussion culminates in a proposal for an exceptional access scheme that has the potential to minimize risk to innocent users.

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  • Personality and balanced psychological contracts: The mediating roles of epistemic curiosity and rule‐following behavior

    This study extends prior research on the relationships between personality constructs and types of psychological contracts by exploring how the Big Five traits predict balanced psychological contracts. Further, we determine whether epistemic curiosity and rule‐following behavior are key mediators of the proposed relationships. We tested our proposed hypotheses using three‐wave time‐lagged data from 469 respondents. The results indicated that openness to experience was positively associated and both conscientiousness and neuroticism were negatively associated with balanced contracts. Extraversion and agreeableness were not associated with balanced contracts. We also established the mediating role of epistemic curiosity in the relationships between personality traits and balanced contracts, but there was no support for the mediating role of rule‐following behavior in the present study. These findings have important implications for managers and organizations in terms of selecting the right person for a job (person‐job fit) and ensuring employee retention (person‐organization fit), hence having a bottom‐line effect on firm performance. Future research directions are also discussed.

  • Responsibility of the University in Employability: Development and validation of a measurement scale across five studies

    This paper develops and validates, at a confirmatory level, a second‐order scale to measure Responsibility of the University in Employability (RUE). First, the literature on the components of RUE is explored and a formative conceptual model is proposed to underpin its measurement using extant research in the field of organisational responsibility and employability. At the empirical level, the second‐order RUE model considers the reputation of the university, the teaching staff, and the matching activities with employers as components of RUE. This model is based on five empirical studies. The first is a small‐sample study based on the opinions of experts (n = 5) and the rest are based on representative samples of university students (n = 816, n = 1,082, n = 1,088, and n = 1,203). A very good fit between model and data were revealed (CFI = 0.975; RMSEA = 0.039; standardised X2 = 2.676). The results indicate that matching activities with employers and teaching staff generate more RUE than university reputation. Guidelines are offered for managing the responsibility of the university in employability.

  • The effect of formalism on unethical decision making: The mediating effect of moral disengagement and moderating effect of moral attentiveness

    This study examined the relationship between formalism and unethical decision making among Chinese working adults. A total of 316 Chinese adult employees completed measures of ethical predispositions, unethical decision making, moral disengagement, and moral attentiveness. The results showed that formalism was related to a weaker propensity to morally disengage. Moral disengagement positively predicted unethical decision making and mediated the relationship between formalism and unethical decision making. Further, perceptual moral attentiveness negatively moderated the relationship between formalism and moral disengagement. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are presented.

  • An integrative ethical approach to leader favoritism

    Relationship building is one of the most important aspects of leadership; however, it can pose ethical challenges. Though particularistic treatment of employees by leaders, that is, leader favoritism, commonly occurs, it is conventionally regarded negatively as fairness norms require leaders to treat followers equally. In this conceptual study, we explore different views on leader favoritism based on different ethical principles. We develop an alternative to the conventional view and suggest that leader favoritism may not necessarily lead to negative outcomes when empathy‐based favoritism is applied. In this vein, we recommend drawing on the ethical principles of a utilitarian approach by balancing particularism and universalism, which is also helpful to build organizational social capital. We contribute to leadership theory by developing an early concept of an integrative ethical approach to leader favoritism.

  • Who really cares about the environment? CEOs’ military service experience and firms’ investment in environmental protection

    Prior literature suggests that the chief executive officer (CEO) plays a significant role in a firm's environmental performance or voluntary pro‐environmental behaviors; we extend this line of research to examine the effect of CEOs’ military service experience on firms’ investment in environmental protection. Drawing upon the insights of imprinting theory, we argue that military service experience may instill in CEOs pro‐environmental values such as duty, self‐discipline, self‐sacrifice, and sense of community, which motivate them to adopt pro‐environmental behaviors such as investing more resources in environmental protection. However, we argue that the effects of pro‐environmental values imprinted on CEOs through military service are likely to vary across regions. In regions where the market is more developed and the local value system has experienced greater exposure to the impact of foreign values, and in regions where firms are more concerned about profit, this effect is likely to be attenuated. An analysis of three waves of a nationwide survey of private firms in China using the Tobit regression model supports these predictions. This study makes a unique contribution to the existing literature by linking a firm's pro‐environmental behaviors (i.e., environmental protection investment) to its CEO’s experiences in early life (i.e., military service experience).

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