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JOURNAL

10.1177/1056492604268203
MANAGEMENT
/
Jacobs
AND
BUSINESS
September
INTEGRITY
/ PRAGMATISM
ETHICS
OF
2004 INQUIRY
IN

ESSAYS

A Pragmatist Approach to Integrity in Business Ethics

DAVID C. JACOBS
Hood College

Integrity is a critical concept in business ethics. Scholars and practitioners affirm its rele-
vance to the ethical fulfillment of a variety of goals in business. Integrity has been defined
in a variety of ways, sometimes emphasizing moral consistency, personal wholeness, or
honesty. Several scholars in business ethics have argued for the application of philosophi-
cal pragmatism in the construction of an ethical framework. A pragmatist interpretation
of integrity would require that individuals consider the objective social consequences
(contemporaneous and unfolding) of their actions. It would stress personal growth and
learning from experience. It would not prescribe action based on a rigid and formal code of
ethics. Nor would it sanction an ethics of expediency, driven by a narrow self-interest.
Pragmatism affirms the interdependence of means and ends and would require an itera-
tive, case-by-case inquiry as to ones moral choices and their consequences.

Keywords: pragmatism; business ethics; sweatshops; integrity

I ntegrity is a critical concept in business ethics.


Scholars and practitioners affirm its relevance
to the ethical fulfillment of a variety of goals in
business. As Becker (1998) noted, integrity has been
2002].) Integrity is apparently a virtue tested by fire.
Although critics are divided as to the proper sort of
management engagement with stakeholders, most
would agree that integrity should characterize stake-
explored in empirical research as a predictor of job holder relations.
performance, as a central trait of effective leaders, and I intend to present the case for a pragmatist
as a determinant of trust in organizations. Many cor- approach to integrity, focusing on the work of
porate codes of ethics list (but do not define) manage- philosopher John Dewey. Pragmatism is an American
rial and employee integrity as a principal element. movement in philosophy associated with C. S. Peirce,
Sometimes embattled leaders in business and govern- William James, John Dewey, and most recently, Rich-
ment are said to have the utmost integrity. (After ard Rorty. It is characterized by the perspective that
Enron executive Clifford Baxter committed suicide, truth is provisional and is tested in experience. A prag-
whistle-blower Sherron Watkins praised him for his matist ethics would require that individuals consider
utmost integrity [Freedom of Information Center, the objective social consequences (contemporaneous

JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT INQUIRY, Vol. 13 No. 3, September 2004 215-223


DOI: 10.1177/1056492604268203
2004 Sage Publications
215

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216 JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT INQUIRY / September 2004

and emergent) of their actions, exercise moral choice managers self-respect and recognition of social inter-
on this basis, and continue to learn from experience. dependence. In S ol omons vi ew, i ntegri ty
incorporates a balance between institutional loyalty
and moral autonomy and is associated with moral
INTEGRITY AS WHOLENESS humility. Although principles and policies are impor-
tant, integrity also involves a pervasive sense of
The Oxford English Dictionary presents two catego- social context and a sense of moral courage that means
ries of definitions for integrity: the physical and the standing up for others as well as oneself (Solomon,
moral. Integrity applies to the physical state of undi- 1992, p. 174).
vided wholeness, whether of a united land or unbro- Solomon did not reduce integrity to a single dimen-
ken body. Alternatively, integrity connotes an unim- sion whether it is rational self-interest or self-sacrifice.
paired moral state, characterized by innocence, He classified integrity as a supervirtue or complex of
sinlessness, uprightness, honesty, sincerity (Oxford virtues, demonstrated in thought and deed. By virtue,
English Dictionary, 1989) The latter meaning appears to Solomon meant a revealed disposition to act in certain
be the relevant one in the context of business ethics. morally appropriate ways. He found integrity to be
Many writers, however, apply the spirit of the inextricably social and even to contain a measure of
physical meaning of integrity to the ethical context. altruism (doing for others at some personal cost)
They suggest that an individual with integrity (Solomon, 1992, p. 168, 174).
respects no partitions in his or her life. They submit Carson (1995) noted that honesty and integrity are
that integrity requires that the individual respond to a linked in traditional definitions of the latter but sub-
problem without compartmentalization, and an inte- mits that they are by no means synonymous. He
grated personality is likely to blend reason and emo- argued that an unwavering commitment to acting for
tion, self-interest and social consciousness, in his or the benefit of others, standing up for those who are
her work. under attack, loyalty to people to whom we have com-
Peck (1987) wrote: mitted ourselves, acting honorably, and so on (p. 6)
would earn the designation of integrity. Yet none of
We psychologists use a verb that is the opposite of the these is necessarily a function of honesty or truth. As
verb to integrate: to compartmentalize. By it we with Solomon, a measure of altruism is implied here
refer to the remarkable capacity we human beings
(Carson, 1995, p. 16).
have to take matters that are properly related to each
other and put them in separate, airtight mental com- DeGeorge (1993) agreed that integrity requires
partments where they dont rub up against each other something beyond a self-interested consistency. He
and cause us any pain. (pp. 234-235) explained, Although integrity requires norms to be
self-imposed and self-accepted, they cannot be
From this perspective, integrity requires a conscious entirely arbitrary and self-serving (DeGeorge, 1993,
reconciliation of variables, in Pecks (1987) words, p. 6). Thus, integrity implies a realm of autonomous
that we fully experience the tension of conflicting action guided by a moral minimum of responsibility
needs, demands, and interests, that we even be emo- to others. DeGeorge sketched a model of integrity that
tionally torn apart by them (p. 235). Peck is not a busi- would suggest that managers demonstrate responsi-
ness ethicist; however, his emphasis on the tension of bility to their employees through continuous employ-
conflicting demands seems very applicable to the ment and profit sharing. He submitted that multina-
business ethics context. tional corporations can compete with integrity by
exceeding their legal obligations, respecting human
rights, fostering human development, and transcend-
INTEGRITY AS A COMPLEX OF VIRTUES ing the moral minimum (DeGeorge, 1993, p. 189).
In their integrative social contracts theory,
Contemporary business ethicists have applied vir- Donaldson and Dunfee (1999) explained that globally
tue ethics, social contract theory, and objectivism, apparent hypernorms should guide the negotiation of
among other approaches, in the consideration of microsocial contracts within which business enter-
integrity. Solomon (1992) proposed a business ethics prise is formed. In Ties That Bind (Donaldson &
founded on social virtues, in which business activity is Dunfee, 1999), they listed integrity along with fairness
embedded in larger social concerns, leading to the

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Jacobs / PRAGMATISM AND INTEGRITY IN BUSINESS ETHICS 217

and respect for others as timeless principles that fully distinguishable from the social and in their
should shape and limit social contracting: understanding of reason as an enterprise wholly of the
self.
There exist principles so fundamental that they com-
mand our allegiance. These include the principles of
fairness, of respect for other people, and of the value of CORPORATE INTEGRITY
integrity. The challenge for businesses is to be not only
faithful to timeless principles but also reflective of
Many corporations have established ethical com-
their members cultural and religious values.
(Donaldson & Dunfee, 1999, p. viii) pliance systems that cite integrity as a fundamental
principle. Consulting firm KPMG Peat Marwick has a
division focusing on integrity management, one of
Objectivism and Integrity whose stated purposes is to ensure that systems to
deliver compliance with laws, regulations, policies
Becker (1998) and Locke and Becker (1998) sought
and codes of conduct are comprehensive (KPMG,
to formulate an objectivist definition of integrity in a
2003, n.p.). In their book, Integrity Management: A
pair of Academy of Management Review essays that have
Guide to Managing Legal and Ethical Issues in the Work-
stimulated considerable debate (see Barry & Stephens,
place, LeClair, Ferrell, and Fraedrich (1998) defined
1998; Orlitzky & Jacobs, 1998). Locke and Becker
integrity management as uncompromising imple-
(1998) argued that objectivism has the virtue of being
mentation of legal and ethical principles that are
grounded in objective reality. Leading objectivists like
themselves embodied in the strategic planning pro-
Ayn Rand (1964) and Leonard Peikoff (1991) have
cess of the firm. Paine (1994) similarly wrote of organi-
defined integrity as loyalty, in action, to a morally jus-
zational integrity, which consists of a governance sys-
tifiable code of principles and values that promotes
tem for the corporation that supports ethical
the long-term survival and well-being of individuals
standards exceeding legal requirements (p. 111).
as rational beings. Objectivism embraces capitalism as
There are perils in the managerial frame of refer-
an expression of self-interest, individual rights, and
ence that underlie many of these views of integrity,
individual reason. The Locke and Becker essays pro-
particularly the corporate form last mentioned. Some
vide an articulated argument linking objectivist meta-
larger questions are easily obscured. Solomon (1992),
physics (including the axiom that there is an external
DeGeorge (1993), and Donaldson and Dunfee (1999)
reality), epistemology (individual reason is the only
stressed autonomous choice by managers. The auton-
valid source of knowledge), and ethics (founded on
omous choices of managers, however modulated,
rational self-interest).
ordinarily presuppose that the enterprise is a higher
Objectivist integrity is an interesting contrast to the
end to which managerial choices are means.
other interpretations advanced above because it
Although corporate or organizational integrity
rejects the social, possibly altruistic, dimension of
may impose significant moral constraints on the
integrity. In most of the other views, integrity is funda-
behavior of corporate officers and employees, it still
mentally social in that it demands certain qualities of
takes the enterprise as a given. It potentially compart-
social relations. DeGeorge (1993), Solomon (1992),
mentalizes a corporate self limited in moral reach.
Carson (1995), and Donaldson and Dunfee (1999)
There are likely to be corporate practices that escape
linked integrity with an altruism that exceeds a calcu-
sufficient scrutiny from within such a system. Note
lated and strategic benevolence. Objectivists tend to
the parallel with ombuds procedures that simulate but
dismiss altruism as a form of capitulation to others
do not guarantee independence from the official
and find human relations better understood as con-
hierarchy.
tracts among individuals. Within the objectivist
There also is confusion in the assumption that the
framework, individuals may choose to practice a lim-
corporation is an entity that can embrace integrity.
ited benevolence toward others in accord with
Despite the bizarre legal conception of the corporation
rational self-interest.
as a legal person with unlimited life, it is not a human
Objectivism ultimately fails as a philosophical basis
actor. When managers formulate an integrity program
for integrity because of its fundamentally flawed con-
and instruct subordinates to comply, they may pre-
ception of human nature. Objectivists err in their
empt the deliberations among employees that
unfounded concept of the individual as prior to and

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218 JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT INQUIRY / September 2004

advance integrity. Integrity applies best to individuals native theory of the firm in society that fuses the mar-
and groups rather than organizations. ket and public policy, that overcomes the traditional
dichotomies between business and government, eco-
Ethics codes do not themselves constitute or imple- nomic and social, public and private. (Buchholz &
ment integrity. They are products of prior decisions Rosenthal, 1997, p. 199)
that may have embodied integrity; however, they are
mere mechanisms without continued socially con-
scious judgment by living people. Pragmatist Metaphysics
Donaldson and Dunfees (1999) integrative social
contracts theory leaves hypernorms and concepts Pragmatism rests on the assumption that there is a
such as integrity largely undefined. Their fictional larger world outside the self. Each individual strives
contracting process trivializes the role of consent in to understand the surrounding world. Dewey rejected
justifying existing business systems, even if it belongs any notion of a transcendent reality removed from
to a noble philosophical tradition. The individuals experience or visible only to pure reason. He denied
right of exit and dissent is close to a hollow one when it any mind/body dichotomy and argued instead that
comes to inertial business practice as captured in mind and body are equally manifestations of nature.
microsocial norms. The opportunity to change jobs or The existence of a shared reality places individual
leave the country does not ensure that existing prac- actors on a common plane in which communication
tices have the consent of subordinates. Moral free space, and cooperation (and ultimately business practice) are
defined as a realm of discretion in which individuals possible (Dewey, 1958, p. 74).
and groups negotiate the context and outlines of busi-
ness enterprise, is more fiction than reality for Pragmatist Epistemology
employees.
A defensible approach to integrity in business eth- According to Dewey and fellow pragmatists Peirce
ics should simultaneously provide practical guidance and James, truth cannot be absolute; it is always provi-
to managers as well as reach unethical practices sional and instrumental. It is a useful view of the
embedded in the corporation and management hier- world. A truth may be superseded when a new truth is
archy. The corporate structure should not be accepted better validated by experience. Science represents an
as given if it generates an unethical result as the man- experimental method from which to infer causal rela-
ager conducts business as usual. The pragmatism of tionships among external events and to develop an
John Dewey may provide a fruitful approach. understanding of the environment. Humans formu-
late interpretations of these causal relationships
(Wicks & Freeman, 1998, p. 126).
PRAGMATISM AND BUSINESS ETHICS Deweyan pragmatism finds science to be within the
capacity of every individual. Although professional
Several scholars have suggested that philosophical scientists practice experimentation with rigor, ordi-
pragmatism would be an appropriate framework for nary individuals learn from experiments as well. Chil-
business ethics. For example, Margolis (1998) (sec- dren cannot learn to speak or walk without trying
onded by Frederick, 2000) wrote: To foster ethical sounds and exploring movement.
conduct that is possible, in real business organiza- Pragmatism overcomes the traditional dichotomy
tions, our task is to help people in those organizations between the individual and society, stressing the indi-
figure out how to do better. It is a call for Deweyan viduals development within rather than independ-
meliorism (p. 414). ence from society. No one can express himself or her-
Buchholz and Rosenthal (1997) argued that prag- self and communicate ideas to others without
matism offers a fruitful way to view the corporation reference to the groups in which his or her identity has
and its relationship to society. They dispute the rele- evolved, arising from some mixture of social experi-
vance of traditional economic models based on ences. Ones very name is a blend of familial, cultural,
atomistic individualism. They wrote: and religious elements that define the individual in
social terms. Ones ideas result from interaction with
Pragmatic philosophy based on different assump- social stimuli and depend on language learned from
tions opens up the possibility of developing an alter- the community.

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Jacobs / PRAGMATISM AND INTEGRITY IN BUSINESS ETHICS 219

Pragmatism rejects the positivist dichotomy quences. Rather, it calls for judgment. Moreover, social
between describing and prescribing and therefore consequences extend to social and institutional details
fails to quarantine and marginalize ethics as is the case of differentiated impacts. Dewey inquired as to the
with positivistic philosophies. Dewey (1920) wrote: specific circumstances of peoples lives, hesitating to
When all is said and done in criticism of present generalize about a generic public.
social deficiencies, one may well wonder whether the Dewey (1920) particularly deplored ends justify
root difficulty does not lie in the separation of natural the means arguments. He dismissed the notion that
and moral science (p. 173). any end could be so elevated that destructive means
would be tolerated: But now the doctrine of higher
ends gives aid, comfort and support to every socially
Pragmatist Ethics
isolated and socially irresponsible scholar, specialist,
Dewey argued that experience is at the root of eth- esthete and religionist (Dewey, 1920, p. 172).
ics. He proposed a pragmatic ethical science based on In his description of a moral situation, Dewey (1920)
the testing of hypotheses. Individuals construct hypo- provided a sketch of decision making according to a
thetical judgments about their prospective behaviors. pragmatist ethic:
They anticipate how the proposed behaviors may
interact with the social and physical environment and A moral situation is one in which judgment and choice
are required antecedently to overt action. The practi-
determine their own character. Experience provides a
cal meaning of the situationthat is to say the action
sequence of tests. Individuals practice moral agency, needed to satisfy itis not self-evident. It has to be
choosing between inconsistent paths and deliberating searched for. There are conflicting desires and alter-
in anticipation of consequences. nate apparent goods. What is needed is to find the
Dewey rejected any conception of so-called duty as right course of action, the right good. Hence, inquiry is
inhering in the individual; duty is to be experientially exacted: observation of the detailed makeup of the sit-
uation; analysis into its diverse factors; clarification of
and socially determined. He disputed the underlying
what is obscure; discounting of the more insistent and
logic of Kants categorical imperative: that new moral vivid traits; tracing the consequences of the various
situations can be judged according to a preformed set modes of action that suggest themselves; regarding
of rules. Dewey found merit in the utilitarians focus the decision reached as hypothetical and tentative
on consequences but challenged the mechanical and until the anticipated or supposed consequences that
led to its adoption have been squared with actual con-
quantitative manner in which Bentham assessed con-
sequences. This inquiry is intelligence. (Dewey, 1920,
sequences (through counting units of happiness). He pp. 163-164)
conceded that pleasure often accompanies certain
social outcomes but argued that this reflects an under- Superficially, this sketch of moral choice may resem-
lying valuation of these outcomes and does not vali- ble rational decision making as codified by Simon
date Benthams choice of pleasure as the measure of (1979). In reality, Deweys approach is different
action. because it addresses a moral situation, not a technical
Deweys approach to ethics calls for careful and problem, because it legitimates emotions, and because
deliberate case-by-case analysis. One does, however, it is iterative.
learn from this exercise, and there are economies of A contemporary problem, the continuing crisis
effort; that is, the individual can consider a situation with Iraq, may better illustrate pragmatist ethics. The
and place it in an instructive context that suggests a Bush administrations deliberations about Iraq have
possible response. Sometimes one chooses an inap- seemed devoid of pragmatist insights. Pragmatism
propriate analogy and learns from the consequences. would direct that the judgment to go to war and other
In the years since the war in Vietnam, foreign policy policy decisions be based on an assessment of likely
debate in the United States has revolved around the consequences. (A pragmatist analysis of the Iraqi situ-
question of whether a given crisis more resembled ation would consist of a set of carefully constructed
World War II or Vietnam because the proper analogy hypothetical judgments involving alternative courses
would suggest the military or diplomatic character of of action, reflecting new developments in each itera-
the U.S. response. tion.) It now appears that the Bush administration
Pragmatism does not require the use of a specific operated on the basis of a priori judgments as to the
algorithm for the assessment of experience and conse- virtue of U.S. military intervention and the preroga-

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220 JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT INQUIRY / September 2004

tives of U.S. power and that there was little evaluation helpful in its illumination of the false view of business
of alternative scenarios. Although the consequences as an extension of the individual. It should be noted
of any military intervention or other initiative cannot that pragmatism is equally hostile to an individualism
be fully predicted, they must be considered without that denies social context and a socialist or statist phi-
rigid preconceptions, whether pacifist or militarist. losophy that denies all claims of the individual.
Pragmatism may remind one of contingency theory
in management scholarship (particularly Folletts
Growth
variety, see Wren & Greenwood, 1998, pp. 194-198);
however, the latter departs in essential ways from Dewey emphasized personal change and develop-
Deweyan pragmatism. Contingency theories recom- ment in his pragmatist philosophy. He believed that
mend specific management approaches that are in engagement with the world of experience and moral
accord with the details of a given organizational real- decision necessarily alters the individual.
ity (what Follett called the law of the situation);
however, the framework is narrowly managerial. The choice at stake in a moral deliberation or valua-
Contingency theory may justify democratic or dictato- tion is worth of this and that kind of character and dis-
rial styles of management. Vecchio (1988) argued, If position. . . . In committing oneself to a particular
you are in charge of a band of fascists, your subordi- course, a person gives a lasting set to his own being.
Consequently, it is proper to say that in picking this
nates may well expect and desire that you rule with an
object rather than that, one is in reality choosing what
iron fist (p. 19). kind of person or self one is going to be. (Dewey, 1985,
On the other hand, pragmatism requires a broader p. 274, 287)
consciousness of social consequences and thus would In short, the thing actually at stake in any serious
not provide provisional approval for dictatorial deliberation is not difference of quantity, but what
behavior. Through a pragmatist lens, integrity kind of person one is to become, what sort of self is in
the making, what kind of a world is making. (Dewey,
extends the sweep of problem solving, so that one 1983, p. 150)
seeks the solution to larger problems that afflict soci-
ety, not merely solutions for ones immediate prob-
Thus, we can construct a pragmatist approach to
lems or those of the organization.
integrity. Pragmatist ethics require that individuals
Deweys focus on emergent experience (and social
consider the objective social consequences (immedi-
consequences) requires attention to the conditions of ate and emergent) of their actions. It would stress per-
others and invites their perspectives even if they are sonal growth, learning from experience, and an inte-
low in station. Dewey (1939) wrote: The individuals grated personality. Pragmatist integrity is the subset
of the submerged mass may not be very wise. But of pragmatist ethics that applies to the manager or
there is one thing they are wiser about than anybody leader who seeks to behave ethically but faces the
else can be, and that is where the shoe pinches, the challenges of office. This is an arbitrary classification.
troubles they suffer from (p. 401). Dewey would deny that ethics applies in different
Thus, Deweys pragmatism requires a larger view ways to managers and workers. However, within the
of the social reality including the condition of the least universe of ethics, a subset concerns managerial deci-
well off and attention to their voices. This has much in sions; for the sake of this inquiry, integrity is focused
common with various formulations of stakeholder on this specialized subset. Pragmatist integrity allows
theory. What distinguishes the pragmatist approach is a manager to be in the business world but not of it, as
the critical approach to office and organization as he or she explores the world of social consequences
means not ends in themselves. The pragmatist avoids conscious of but unblinded by his or her position.
ethical compartmentalization as he or she works
within the organization, seeking to improve the social
reality (from which complete separation is never PRAGMATIST INTEGRITY
possible for the individual). AND BUSINESS PRACTICE
The individual and the collective are often con-
flated in the consideration of business. The corpora- What would Deweyan integrity mean for business
tion is a collective instrument and yet is treated in the practice? Managers would seek to be less myopic
law as a person and is sometimes accorded the person- about the consequences of their decisions. For exam-
ality of an individual. Pragmatism is particularly ple, they would not merely assert that downsizing sat-

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Jacobs / PRAGMATISM AND INTEGRITY IN BUSINESS ETHICS 221

isfies the rigors of the marketplace. They would exer- those thereby employed; however, there are more
cise restraint, consult with employees, and consider humane alternatives to sweatshops. A reasonable pre-
alternatives. They would examine the evidence as to requisite for U.S. firms contracts with suppliers in
the experience and consequences of downsizing as an developing nations would be that the consequences
enterprise strategy. Pragmatist integrity departs from and opportunity costs for workers in both nations be
so-called enlightened self-interest; the former directs jointly considered. There would be no assumption
the manager to consider the underlying problems of that market transactions necessarily leave everyone
the enterprise and economy. A pragmatist regards an better off.
organization as a means to human ends, not as a pos- Pragmatist ethics do not dictate the imposition of
session to be defended. He would consider coordi- any one nations institutions or practices on another.
nated strategies with government and nonprofit Rather, they demand inquiry as to the local and global
groups to lessen the pain of reorganizing. effects of human decisions. No one, regardless of his
Managers would be more aware of the interdepen- or her position or national identity, is exempt from this
dence of means and ends. They would not justify low responsibility. In the many instances of injustice in the
wages and poor working conditions by their firms world of multinational business, probably local and
need to be competitive and profitable. The so-called foreign managers are implicated. (For example, the
sweatshop (with wages low relative to basic needs 1985 Bhopal chemical disaster could not have hap-
and hours of work an obstacle to family obligations) pened without lax safety standards at the local and
would not be tolerated as a legitimate means to the corporate levels.) Obversely, the correction of injustice
end of organizational competitiveness. Firm competi- will require the collaboration of managers (among
tiveness would be an intermediate end, and others) across national borders.
approaches to it would be compared with regard to Pragmatist integrity would alter management
social consequences. responses to union organizing. There is considerable
Objectivists and utilitarians whose conception of evidence of employee interest in union representa-
integrity is individualistic in character would not be tion. Freeman and Rogers (1999) found that most
inclined to perceive the problem of worker exploita- unorganized workers would like some form of repre-
tion in sweatshops. The fact of individual employ- sentation with independence from management.
ment in a workshop under assumed conditions of free Freeman and Medoff (1984) observed a productivity
choice would ensure them that the employment rela- advantage in unionized enterprises. Other economists
tionship satisfies the rational self-interests of the par- have noted that unions win wage-and-benefit
ties. However, the physical and sexual abuse of increases desired by employees. These factors should
employees and the military-style security alleged to militate against a reflexive antiunion stance among
characterize sweatshops challenge the assumption of managers. Managers practicing pragmatist integrity
a workplace free from coercion. Pragmatism would would not seek to suppress unionism. If employees
require that employment bargains be examined with were to provide authoritative evidence of their sup-
respect to the objective conditions of the workers. An port for unionization (so-called card-check), their
employer who contracts with suppliers who deny managers would be willing to recognize the relevant
their employees reasonable expectations of wages unions.
exceeding subsistence levels and a healthy and safe Of course, managers must maintain the profitabil-
working environment fails to demonstrate integrity. ity of their firms. This cannot, however, be a higher
Wages and the cost of living in a community can be end that justifies poor treatment of employees. Man-
compared to establish whether wages are adequate. agers ideally should seek the input of their employees
Although this is not an entirely mechanical exercise, in the selection of strategies that maintain profitability
and it requires judgments, it is far cry from consider- and adequate labor standards.
ing integrity as a matter of process in contracting.
The pragmatist manager would consider the social
Pragmatist Exemplars
consequences of multinational siting of suppliers. U.S.
disinvestment from domestic manufacturing has Filene (1924), the founder of Filenes Department
reduced the employment base of many American cit- Store and the Twentieth Century Fund, described his
ies and regions. U.S. investment in production facili- notion of proper business leadership in this way:
ties abroad enhances economic opportunities for

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222 JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT INQUIRY / September 2004

The sort of business man who broadly speaking, is the Pragmatist integrity is a demanding but not impos-
opposite of the reactionary, the sort of business man sible standard. The experiences of Filene and Hawken
who faces fresh problems with a fresh mind, who is
provide some guidance as to the struggle required to
more interested in creating a better order of things
than in defending the existing order of things, who bring pragmatist integrity to business. Although they
realizes that a private business is a public trust, and attained prosperity as individuals, their critical stance
who has a greater reverence for scientific method than toward business as usual brought them into conflict
for the traditions and majority opinion of his class. with many of their colleagues. Their achievements are
(pp. 284-285)
evident in a pattern of experimentation that tran-
scends the individual enterprise. Given the global
Filene endured much criticism from fellow busi- economy, in which corporate leaders continue to
ness executives for his sharing of power within his exhibit insularity and insensitivity as to the treatment
store with his workers and his increasing sympathy of stakeholders in distant realms, Filene and Hawken
for the labor movement. He was ultimately removed provided some indication of another way.
from his position at Filenes as a result of his demo-
cratic experimentation. In his willingness to experi-
ment in the leadership of his business while consider- REFERENCES
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objectivist approach to integrity. Academy of Management
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Review, 23(1), 162-169.
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posal: The brave new world of objectivism. Academy of DAVID C. JACOBS is a professor of management at Hood College in
Frederick, Maryland. He previously taught at Kansas State University, the
Management Review, 23, 656-658.
University of Michigan-Flint, and American University. Jacobs is author
Oxford English Dictionary. (1989). Integrity. Retrieved Sep-
of Collective Bargaining as an Instrument of Social Change and Busi-
tember 8, 2003, from http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/ ness and the Power Structure in America as well as coauthor, with Joel
display/00118587?keytype=ref&ijkey=4mZl6edyr1Wz2 Yudken, of The Internet, Organizational Change, and Labor. He has
Paine, L. S. (1994). Managing for organizational integrity. Har- written several essays about altruism and self-interest as they relate to
vard Business Review, 72(2), 106-117. union and business decision making in academic and professional journals.
Peck, M. S. (1987). The different drum: Community making and
peace. New York: Simon & Schuster.

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