Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 109, Issue 4, pp 391–410 | Cite as

When Ethics are Compromised by Ideology: The Global Competitiveness Report



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.


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



Arms-length contractual relations


Bayerische Motoren Werke


Chief executive officer


Corporate social responsibility


Deutscher Aktien Index (German stock market index)


Global competitiveness report


Gross domestic product


Global financial crisis


General Motors


International Monetary Fund


Information technology


Obligational contractual relations


Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development


Research and Development


Standard & Poor’s


United Kingdom


United States


World Economic Forum


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Sustainable Leadership & Australian Catholic UniversityNorth SydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Institute for Sustainable Leadership & MGSM, Macquarie UniversityMacquarie ParkAustralia

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