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This thought-provoking history of corporate responsibility in the USA is a landmark publication documenting the story of corporate power and business behavior from the mid-eighteenth century to the modern day. It shows how the idea of corporate responsibility has evolved over time, with the roles, responsibilities and performance of corporations coming increasingly under the spotlight as new norms of transparency and accountability emerge. Today, it is expected that a corporation will be transparent in its operations; that it will reflect ethical values that are broadly shared by others in society; and that companies will enable society to achieve environmental sustainability as well as a high standard of living. As we enter the second decade of the twenty-first century, the social, political and economic landscape is once again shifting: the need for an informed public conversation about what is expected of the modern corporation has never been greater.
In commerce, many moral failures are due to narrow mindsets that preclude taking into account the moral dimensions of a decision or action. In turn, sometimes these mindsets are caused by failing to question managerial decisions from a moral point of view, because of a perceived authority of management. In the 1960s, Stanley Milgram conducted controversial experiments to investigate just how far obedience to an authority figure could subvert his subjects' moral beliefs. In this thought-provoking work, the authors examine the prevalence of narrow mental models and the phenomenon of obedience to an authority to analyse and understand the challenges which business professionals encounter in making ethical decisions. Obstacles to Ethical Decision-Making proposes processes - including collaborative input and critique - by which individuals may reduce or overcome these challenges. It provides decision-makers at all levels in an organisation with the means to place ethical considerations at the heart of managerial decision-making.