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Ethics and OR: Operationalising Discourse Ethics

By John Mingers

Abstract

Operational researchers help managers decide what they ought to do and yet this is generally evaluated in terms of efficiency or effectiveness, not ethicality. However, the combination of the tremendous power of global corporations and the financial markets, and the problems the world faces in terms of economic and environmental sustainability, has led to a revival of interest in ethical approaches. This paper explores a relatively recent and innovative process called discourse ethics. This is very different from traditional ethical systems in taking ethical decisions away from individuals or committees and putting them in the hands of the actual people who are involved and affected through processes of debate and deliberation. The paper demonstrates that discourse ethics has strong connections to OR, especially in the areas of soft and critical systems, and that OR can actually contribute to the practical operationalisation of discourse ethics. At the same time, discourse ethics can provide a rigorous discursive framework for “ethics beyond the model".\u

Topics: H1
Publisher: Elsevier Science
Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:kar.kent.ac.uk:26083

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