• Roy Mohon
Part of the Issues in Business Ethics book series (IBET, volume 12)


There has been a renewed interest in stewardship as a suitable concept for pursuing business ethics. It is mentioned, for example, in Tom Cannon (1992) Corporate Responsibility as an important concept for the investigation of corporate governance. Peter Block in Stewardship: Choosing Service Over Self-Interest (1993) has applied it to the subject of human relations within organizations. This book Stewardship Ethics in Debt Management applies it to the operational level of personal and business activity using debt management operations for this purpose. Relationships between borrowers and lenders continue to be a subject of public concern so debt management provides a topical area in which to test the application of the stewardship concept and to consider its usefulness in securing ethical improvements. Debt management is important for individuals, businesses and sovereign states. All of these participate in the financial system as savings surplus units (lenders) or savings deficit units (borrowers). Whether arrangements are direct or through intermediaries one party can benefit at the expense of others so ethical moorings are needed to maintain continued social harmony.


Business Ethic Corporate Governance Corporate Responsibility Credit Union Business Ethic Literature 
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Notes to Introduction

  1. 1.
    R. Edward Freeman (ed.) Business Ethics: The State of the Art, p. 7. This book covers: (a) societal level considerations, (b) stakeholder level questions (c) internal policy questions affecting the relationship between the organization and its management and other employees, and (d) human level questions such as boss-subordinate, peer, network and other relationships.(pp.4-6)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    T. Lucey, Management Accounting, pp. 1–2.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Alan Pizzey, Accounting and Finance: a firm foundation, p. 4.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Colin Rickwood and Andrew Thomas, An Introduction to Financial Accounting, p. 1.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    A.H. Millichamp, Foundation Accounting, p. 2.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Richard L. Daft, Organization Theory and Design, p. 490.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    J.M. Samuels and F.M. Wilkes, Management of Company Finance, p. 6.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Tom Cannon, Corporate Responsibility, p. 71.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    See Martin Sheard (1992) ‘New problems for lenders’, Banking World, September,, p. 21.For practical guides to environmental stewardship see Ruth Hillary, The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme: a Practical Guide and Christine Hemming Business Success from Seizing the Environmental Initiative.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    John Donaldson, Key Issues in Business Ethics, pp. 48–49.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kolb, Rubin and Mclntyre (1979) Organization Psychology: An Experiential Approach, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall Inc., discussed in John Gill and Phil Johnson, Research Methods for Managers, pp. 24–25.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Daniel R. Gilbert, Jr. The Twilight of Corporate Strategy: A Comparative Ethical Critique.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Ibid., pp. 52-53.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    For the scope of business ethics see William C. Frederick, James E. Post and Keith Davis, Business and Society: Corporate Strategy, Public Policy, Ethics Their book covers: (a) The corporation in society. (b) The corporation in global society. (c) The corporation and public policy. (d) The corporation and its response to stakeholders. (e) The corporation and social issues. For the search for improvement see John Donaldson in his book Key Issues in Business Ethics. He utilizes the three principles: pluralism, Golden Rule and autonomy to address the subject of business ethics. In his book Business Ethics: A European Casebook Donaldson approaches values in business through a wide variety of cases. Chapter 12 entitled, ‘Financial Services and Normal Values’ and Chapter 13, entitled, ‘The Significance of Scandals in Financial Services’ provide an introduction to ethical issues in financial institutions.(pp. 224-254) For use of business ethics literature see John E. Fleming (1987) ‘Authorities in Business Ethics’, Journal of Business Ethics 6, pp. 34-51. Fleming made a computer analysis of over 800 references from 57 articles. The top 5 most-referenced authors were, Milton Friedman, Christopher Stone, Thomas J. Donaldson, Peter French, Alasdair MacIntyre. The list also includes Norman E. Bowie (11th), Peter F. Drucker (15th), John Rawls (18th), Theodore Levitt (26th) and Clarence C. Walton (29th). The most-referenced article was Steven N. Brenner and Earl A. Molander ‘Is the Ethics of Business Changing?’ Harvard Business Review, 55, no. 1. The top four most-referenced collections were: Tom L. Beauchamp and Norman E. Bowie (eds.) Ethical Theory and Business. Thomas Donaldson and Patricia Werhane (eds.) Ethical Issues in Business. Richard T. DeGeorge and Joseph A. Pilcher (eds.) Ethics, Free Enterprise, and Public Policy. Clarence C. Walton (ed.) The Ethics of Corporate Conduct.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Daniel R. Gilbert, Jr. op. cit. Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    There is a range of recent literature that addresses the problem of debt from an economic or social point of view. Such works are primarily concerned with the dimension of the problem, its historical context, causes and remedies. They may make incidental references to moral considerations, but that is not their primary focus. A recent historical work is Hugh Barty-King, The Worst Poverty: A History of Debt and Debtors. This provides a rare insight into the social impact of debt since Norman times. An economic commentary on the debt crisis is provided by Tim Congdon The Debt Threat: The Dangers of High Real Interest Rates for the World Economy. His work raises a number of issues relevant to the ethics of debt management. There is literature assessing the social impact of debt, mainly by empirical research. (1) Janet Ford, The Indebted Society: Credit and Default in the 1980’s is sociological in its orientation and primarily focuses upon consumer debt. It is of particular value in connection with the types of problem encountered by the consumer and the causes of those problems. (2) Richard Berthoud, Credit, Debt and Poverty is an important survey report providing statistical information and comment. (3) The National Consumer Council Credit and Debt: The Consumer Interest report addresses problems arising from the marketing of credit and makes recommendations for improvements. (4) John McQueen, What to do when Someone has Debt Problems: A Practical Survival Guide. McQueen is the secretary of the Bankruptcy Association and has written this book in a popular style. It is packed with practical suggestions arising from years of experience in debt counselling. It provides a good practical perspective. (5) Geraint Howells, Ian Crow and Maureen Moroney, Aspects of Credit and Debt covers choices available to poorer consumers, the responsibilities of lenders, borrowers and regulators and credit unions. The Jack Report known officially as Banking Services: Law and Practice-Report by the Review Committee has 433 pages dealing with a wide range of bank services issues. Chapter Eleven on plastic cards and Chapter Sixteen on standards of banking practice have some relevance to lending but the report does not address borrowing and lending directly.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    See, for example, Paul Vallely, Bad Samaritans, First World Ethics and Third World Debt and Ngaire Woods, Ethics and Interests in the International Political Economy, the Management of the Mexican Debt, 1982-1989.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Andrew Hartropp (ed.), Families in Debt: The Nature, Causes and Effects of Debt Problems and Policy Proposals for Their Alleviation.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    James J. Lynch, Ethical Banking: Surviving in an age of Default.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    See for example: Sheena Carmichael and John Drummond, Good Business: A Guide to Corporate Responsibility and Business Ethics; John Donaldson, Key Issues in Business Ethics and Business Ethics: A European Casebook; and Tom Cannon, Corporate Responsibility.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    John Donaldson, Business Ethics: A European Casebook, pp. 79–80.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Immanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason: And Other Writings in Moral Philosophy, pp. 55–56.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ibid., p. 56.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roy Mohon
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SunderlandSunderlandUK

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