Good try. This popularly written handbook asks some intelligent questions, but never quite answers the big one: does an...

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FULL VALUE: Cases in Christian Business Ethics

Good try. This popularly written handbook asks some intelligent questions, but never quite answers the big one: does an explicitly Christian business ethic actually exist? Williams and Houck teach at Notre Dame (theology and management, respectively), and their book seems designed for group discussion in a classroom setting. It begins with the notion of Christianity as a tremendous revolutionary ""story,"" and then attempts to ""put together the Christian story and the business story"" through a series of exercises. Ten anecdotes present individuals in the middle of a dilemma (should a young M.B.A. take a job with ITT? should a couple sell their stock in Gulf & Western, given its dubious behavior in the Dominican Republic? etc.) which the reader has to resolve. Some of the cases are challenging, some distinctly ho-hum, but they're all set in real-life situations with enough rough edges and ambiguities to make them problems rather than pious examples. The authors are earnest, but realistic, liberals in both religion and politics, and they mount a spirited assault against the so-called Christian businessmen who check their faith at the office door. Still, the awkward fact remains that most if not all the issues here could be handled with no reference to Jesus whatsoever. Christians may reach decisions by consciously adverting to certain religious symbols, but how would these decisions differ in the end from those of any other moral person? Significantly, the most dramatic case offered by Houck and Williams concerns an ordained rabbi, Eli Black, who was also the brilliant president of United Brands. (Black, unfortunately, couldn't reconcile his career with his social conscience, and committed suicide.) Flawed, but thought-provoking.

Pub Date: Dec. 13, 1978

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1978