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The Moral Capital of Leaders
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The Moral Capital of Leaders

Why Virtue Matters

9781843769262 Edward Elgar Publishing
Alejo José G. Sison, Professor, University of Navarre, Spain
Publication Date: 2004 ISBN: 978 1 84376 926 2 Extent: 192 pp
Sison studies a wide range of recent management cases from the viewpoint of moral capital: the sorry state of US airport screeners before 9-11, the Ford Explorer rollovers and Firestone tire failures, the battle for the ‘HP way’ between Carly Fiorina and the heirs of the founding families, the dynamics of Microsoft’s serial monopolistic behavior, the pitfalls of Enron’s senior executives, the sincerity of Howard Lutnick’s commitment to Cantor Fitzgerald families, how Andersen’s loss of reputation proved mortal and a fresh look at Jack Welch’s purported achievements during his tenure at GE.

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Contents
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Solidly grounded on Aristotelian anthropology, moral capital develops a set of principles, practices and metrics useful to business leaders and managers, while eliminating the ambiguity of social capital and allowing for the integration of business ethics initiatives into a robust corporate culture.

Sison studies a wide range of recent management cases from the viewpoint of moral capital: the sorry state of US airport screeners before 9-11, the Ford Explorer rollovers and Firestone tire failures, the battle for the ‘HP way’ between Carly Fiorina and the heirs of the founding families, the dynamics of Microsoft’s serial monopolistic behavior, the pitfalls of Enron’s senior executives, the sincerity of Howard Lutnick’s commitment to Cantor Fitzgerald families, how Andersen’s loss of reputation proved mortal and a fresh look at Jack Welch’s purported achievements during his tenure at GE.

He explains the relationship between different structural and operational levels in the human being (actions, habits, character and lifestyle) and in the firm (products, protocols, corporate culture and corporate history). These levels are later associated with different institutions of moral capital (basic currency, interests, investment bonds, estates or legacies). Strategies for measuring, developing and managing moral capital on both a personal and an organizational plane are also discussed.

This engaging and provocative study is a must-read for professors, students, and practitioners of business ethics, general management, human resource management and economic theory.
Critical Acclaim
‘Sison offers an ambitious approach for tackling the ever-present concern of corporate ethical behavior. In this timely work, he introduces and defines the concepts of moral and social capital, creating analogies with commonly used financial terminology (e.g. currency and compound interest). Drawing on many examples of contemporary moral behavior in corporations, he carefully crafts an engaging explanation of human-corporate interactions and then connects them with his analogous "institutions" of moral capital. His concluding chapter offers ways to measure and manage moral capital. Chapter references and an index add value for scholars. . . many complexities are simplified in the well-written discussion. . . Recommended.’
– L.J. Cumbo, Choice

‘In this book, Alejo Sison takes the notion of "social capital" very seriously and gives us an "Aristotelian" analysis of its importance in modern business life. He also gives us diagnoses of some of the worst recent abuses of trust and their terrible cost. It is a timely work, to be recommended.’
– Robert C. Solomon, University of Texas, Austin, US

‘[This book is] an illuminating and sophisticated exploration of virtues and values, with important implications for leadership and followership in both the economic and political marketplaces. [It is] a major contribution to the growing field of leadership.’
– James MacGregor Burns, William College, US
Contents
Contents: Foreword Introduction 1. Understanding Labor: From Manpower to Social Capital 2. Moral Capital and Leadership 3. Actions, Moral Capital’s Basic Currency 4. Habits, Moral Capital’s Compound Interest 5. Character, Moral Capital’s Investment Bond 6. Lifestyles and Moral Capital Estates 7. Measuring and Managing Moral Capital Index
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