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Moral Competence in Business Sphere Essay (Book Review)

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Updated: Jul 22nd, 2021

Corporate business is facing more pressure in modern times than ever before to practice ethical behavior, demonstrate moral leadership, and act in accordance with corporate social responsibility. These values have become more than slogans and in our capitalist society, it is businesses that are expected to pave the way for moral competence, economic integrity, and responsible leadership, all while being under the constant scrutiny of the public eye and regulators.

Introduction to Moral Intelligence 2.0 by Doug Lennick and Fred Kiel is the second edition of their highly successful bestseller. Coming 6 years after the original’s publication, the new edition takes the vital lessons of the first version and builds upon them in the context of sweeping changes that have occurred in the economy and business world post-2008 financial crisis. The authors emphasize that moral competence has become an element that is necessary not only for personal leadership success and a thriving business but for the survival of the global economy and social stability. Recessions, social unrest, and environmental issues are all aspects influenced by the moral decision-making of businesses, both large and small. Morality is no longer a luxury or a choice, but a necessity to avoid catastrophic economic outcomes.

Lennick and Kiel understood and outlined the issues that underpinned the 2008 financial crisis, and many of them were of the moral nature – power, corruption, greed, and turning a blind eye to the systemic moral failures that ended up hurting the most vulnerable, average workers and households. This book’s primary message is that one can still have a successful business, profit, and competitive innovation while having morally intelligent leadership and decision-making. In any industry or company, the moral values of leadership reflect on its practices corporate values, and in turn the products or services they offer. Some examples of such values include acting with integrity, encouraging openness and inclusivity, fostering an entrepreneurial spirit and giving back, and delivering excellent quality.

Collectively, these and other values are ingredients to high performance for leaders, business executives, and companies that drive business success in the long-term, able to withstand scrutiny, economic slumps, and regulatory pressures. There is a whole section of the book dedicated to discussing how organizations can institutionalize the principle of moral intelligence.

However, the main focus of Introduction to Moral Intelligence 2.0 is on the individual and qualities that a manager should possess for moral leadership. Lennick and Kiel place a strong emphasis on the concept of emotional intelligence which leads to moral intelligence. The two are strongly intertwined in the context of moral decision-making and the 21st-century workplace and creating value-based enterprises. Leaders must hold accountability for actions, admit and learn from errors, and be responsible for their employees and followers.

In the face of tough decisions, such leaders demonstrate morality by showing integrity and consistency of values, even when it is possible to avoid responsibility and easier to be dishonest. At the same time, moral leaders are good people, demonstrating compassion and forgiveness, supportive. The authors believe these and other values are key to refining the moral inventory of leaders which can then be applied to business practices through moral conduct.

Since their introduction of the first edition of this book in 2005, which was practically groundbreaking in the field of moral leadership in business, much has happened both historically and in academic research to further develop these important concepts. Moral intelligence and leadership are complex topics that encompass aspects of sociology, philosophy, psychology, cultural anthropology, ethics, and other fields alongside the basic abilities of human connection and integrity. The authors go on to describe a variety of scenarios, using inputs from tens of CEOs where moral decision-making is viable and integral. Mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, downsizings, and employee management are all situations where business decisions have moral implications and require an understanding of consequences.

Introduction to Moral Intelligence 2.0 is a must-read title for any business owner and entrepreneur as well as experienced CEOs. It is also interesting to study for business students and academics or any reader inspired to learn the inner workings of the business world and the minds of great leaders. It offers highly innovational ideas on management and emotional intelligence, with described values of integrity, compassion, and responsibility that are often overlooked in theoretical MBAs as well as real-world management.

The authors devise and decipher the sensible moral approach to business management, provide significant examples, offer insights from successful business CEOs, and list the key features of morally and emotionally intelligent leaders. Most iconic business leaders such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Elon Musk, and others consistently demonstrate the qualities that this book emphasizes, making their companies highly respected and socially valuable.

It is the hope that more leaders choose to take on this approach of self-development and management in order to provide quality and value to the economy. The book is an authentic take on the most challenging moral situations of the business world and provides the theory, examples, and frameworks in which both leaders and regular people can apply their knowledge.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Moral Competence in Business Sphere." July 22, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/moral-competence-in-business-sphere/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Moral Competence in Business Sphere'. 22 July.

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