Ethical Sourcing and Moral Responsibility in Global Business: Is ‘the Common Good’ the Missing Factor? The Case of the Cut Flower Industry in Kenya
The cut flower industry is one of Kenya’s four most important foreign exchange earners, along with tea, coffee and tourism. Earnings from this industry are controversial, however, with some reports indicating that the ordinary Kenyan benefits little from it. Despite being one of the industries most audited for ethical sourcing, the Kenyan cut flower business sector continues to be associated with various ethical malpractices, such as exploitation of the environment and the violation of some basic rights of some of its more vulnerable stakeholders. This chapter is a theoretical attempt to identify the missing factor in the management models on which the codes used to audit the industry for ‘ethical sourcing’ are based. After an overview of floriculture in global business, the chapter highlights the paradoxical situation where, despite being a lucrative global business, the Kenyan cut flower industry appears to add no value to the lives of the Kenyan people. This is followed by an analysis of the concept of ‘ethical sourcing’ in the two major theories of business management, with the aim of identifying the possible moral deficit in their application to the Kenyan situation. The chapter identifies the ‘common good’ as the missing factor and proposes it as the requisite overarching model that can add value to management in a pluralistic society concerned with multi-stakeholder welfare.
KeywordsMoral Responsibility Global Business Positive Duty Negative Duty Stakeholder Model
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