Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 109, Issue 4, pp 391–410

When Ethics are Compromised by Ideology: The Global Competitiveness Report

Authors

  • Harald Bergsteiner
    • Institute for Sustainable Leadership & Australian Catholic University
    • Institute for Sustainable Leadership & MGSM, Macquarie University
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10551-011-1136-y

Cite this article as:
Bergsteiner, H. & Avery, G.C. J Bus Ethics (2012) 109: 391. doi:10.1007/s10551-011-1136-y

Abstract

The Global Competitiveness Report raises ethical issues on multiple levels. The traditional high ranking accorded the US is largely attributable to fallacies, poor science and ideology. The ideological bias finds expression in two ways: the inclusion of indices that do not provide competitive advantage, but that fit the Anglo/US ideology; and the exclusion of indices that are known to offer competitive advantage, but that do not fit the Anglo/US ideology. This flaw is compounded by methodological problems that raise further doubt as to the reliability and validity of the survey results. The resultant false high ranking of the US, a strong proponent of Anglo/US capitalism, pseudo-legitimizes the propensity of US-dominated institutions and entities to persuade, coerce and, in the worst-case force other countries and their constituents to adopt Anglo/US practices and behaviours. This is ethically reprehensible because research shows that these practices and behaviours, when compared with other approaches, are sub-optimal in the results they produce for individuals, corporations and nations. The report also unjustly and unnecessarily stigmatizes entire groups of countries with little conceivable benefit to anyone. Given the report’s gravitas through the profound global influence it exerts on the decisions of top government and business leaders, these are serious ethical and economic issues.

Keywords

Competitiveness Corporate social responsibility Ethics Ideology National rankings Organizational performance Research methodology

Abbreviations

ACR

Arms-length contractual relations

BMW

Bayerische Motoren Werke

CEO

Chief executive officer

CSR

Corporate social responsibility

DAX

Deutscher Aktien Index (German stock market index)

GCR

Global competitiveness report

GDP

Gross domestic product

GFC

Global financial crisis

GM

General Motors

IMF

International Monetary Fund

IT

Information technology

OCR

Obligational contractual relations

OECD

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

R&D

Research and Development

S&P

Standard & Poor’s

UK

United Kingdom

US

United States

WEF

World Economic Forum

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011