Article Information

The Moral Muteness of Managers
Bird, Frederick B., and James A. Waters
32/1  (Fall 1989): 73-88

This article examines the pervasive reluctance of managers to talk about moral issues of business in ethical terms. It examines several factors that give rise to this avoidance of moral talk, or "moral muteness." Moral talk is perceived by many business people as constituting threats to organizational harmony, to managerial effectiveness, and to their own images of power. Moral muteness, in turn, creates several long-term costs for managers, including moral amnesia about ethical dimensions of business practice, moral stress for individual managers, neglect of moral abuses, and decreased authority for ethical standards. This article concludes with a series of recommended interventions to reduce these problems.


California Management Review

Berkeley-Haas's Premier Management Journal

Published at the University of California for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

Learn more
Follow Us