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Title: Business ethics and the corporate manipulation of expressions
Author: Song, Ji-Hwan
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1996
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The thesis examines how morality is corporately appropriated in the context of new managerial discourses. The theoretical argument focuses on the relations between the fashion for business ethics in the academy and current attempts to reconstruct 'corporate culture' within companies. The argument begins with questioning the notion of "shared values" as a tenet of corporate culturism. This scepticism over values being shared arises from the epistemological difficulties of researchers, or anyone else, going beyond the position that expressions are shared. The argument suggests that if a sharing of expressions can be directed and narrowed, then this is a condition of possibility for the social manipulation of morality. The importance of this argument is that it allows for power effects to be asymmetrical and stabilised without recourse to assumptions of a totalitarian state. Indeed, in the present analysis, forms of resistance to "values" may become power effects, provided expressions are monitored and directed. The thesis argues that the shared expressions are appropriated for the imperatives of corporate strategy. Entrapped in the mixed messages of corporate strategy, managers become engaged in a complicity to mobilise and narrow the circulation of shared expressions. The thesis suggests that the managerial work to re-present the imperatives of corporate strategy is dominated by a corporate manipulation of expressions. The thesis concludes that a current status of most of business ethics discourse remains an 'apology' for a new managerialism. The moral prescriptions are peripherally directed at the "other", rather than centrally internalised into the moral subjects' subjectivity. The tenet of shared moral values is fractured as is implied in a very meaning of 'share': unite and divide. Managers, as employees, also partake in a complicity to exploit morality through the medium of shared expressions such that they become trapped in a vicious circle of moral cynicism and dependence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available