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Madhumita Chatterje & Laszlo Zsolnai (Eds.): Ethical Leadership: Indian and European Spiritual Approaches. (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2016).

The book addresses issues of human values, ethics, spirituality and leadership in business the authors of this volume create a dialogue and interchange between Indian and European cultural traditions. Topics include spiritual orientations to business in Hindu, Buddhist and Christian traditions; the effect of spirituality upon contemporary leadership theories; sustainable business models in India and Europe and a comparison between Indian and European philosophies of leadership. In exploring what India and Europe can offer to one another in the development of ethical business leadership, the book aims to demonstrate ways to achieve sustainability, peace and well-being.

Webpage of the book:

Zsolt Boda & Laszlo Zsolnai: „The Failure of Business Ethics” Society and Business Review 2016, vol.11, no. 1, pp. 93-104.

This paper investigates the systemic causes of the failure of business ethics (BE) and suggest some possible remedies. The discipline and the movement of BE has at least three decades of history. BE has developed concepts and theories, and provided empirical evidences. However, BE as a movement and as a practice has failed to deliver the expected results. The paper uses results from management ethics, moral psychology and corporate governance to analyze the underlying causes of corporate unethical behavior. It is argued that the failure of BE is deeply rooted in today’s corporation-ruled business world. BE has failed to realize systemic features of modern business and therefore missed its target. The social, ethical and environmental problems caused by corporations may require a different kind of treatment based on law, politics and social institutions. The paper uses models outside ethics to help business organizations to become more ethical in their functioning.


Laszlo Zsolnai & Doirean Wilson: ”Art-based Business” Journal of Cleaner Production, 2016, vol. 135, pp. 1534-1538.

The paper argues that with its exclusive focus on profit-making, modern-day businesses tend to violate the integrity and diversity of natural ecosystems, the autonomy and culture of local communities and the chance that future generations will lead a decent life. The core of the metaphysics of modern-day business is what Martin Heidegger calls “calculative thinking”. It is contrasted with poetic thinking represented by genuine art. To preserve nature and to satisfy human needs, gentle, careful ways of undertaking economic activities are needed. The paper analyses the cases of Illy Café and Brunello Cucinelli as art-based companies to show that art can inspire business to become more aesthetic organization engaged in socio-ecological value creation and the enrichment of the quality of life.


Peter Kardos, Bernhard Leidner, Laszlo Zsolnai & Emanuele Castano: “The Effect of the Belief in Free Market Ideology on Redressing Corporate Injustice” in European Journal of Social Psychology (2016,

Many people in the major Western economies (e.g., United States, UK, and Germany) subscribe to free market ideology (FMI),which claims that institutional oversight of the market is unnecessary for public reaction can force corporations to regulate their own behavior. The question then becomes how people’s belief in FMI affects their reactions to corporate transgressions. Given its ingroup-centered values, we hypothesized that FMI beliefs would bias reactions to corporate transgressions. We report results of a pilot study showing that FMI beliefs are predicted by selfishness, tradition, conformity, and lack of universalism. We then report three experiments, which showed that stronger FMI beliefs predict weaker demands to redress corporate injustices committed by ingroup (but not outgroup) corporations (Studies 1–3), especially when victims of corporate wrongdoings belong to an outgroup (rather than the ingroup; Study 3). The findings inform our conceptual understanding of FMI and give insights about its implications for market justice.

Laszlo Zsolnai: “Buddhism and Economic Development” in Todd Lewis and Gary DeAngelis (Eds.): Teaching Buddhism. (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2016. pp. 344-360.)

Buddhist Economics is not the same as Economics of Buddhism. The former is a modern discourse that utilizes elements of Buddhist thought to construct an alternative model of the economy and the latter is a study of how Buddhists organize their economic life in real-world social settings, past or present. Buddhist Economics is essentially a normative enterprise while Economics of Buddhism is a descriptive endeavor.

Also Buddhist Economics is not synonymous with traditional Buddhist thought, interpretation, or practice. It is a construct developed by Western economists and Buddhist thinkers inspired by Buddhist ethics and the Buddhist monastic ideal. It represents an alternative approach to economic life, which is radically different from what mainstream Western economics offer. Buddhist Economics promotes want negation and selfless service for achieving happiness, peace and permanence. These ideas might seem irrational or at least naïve for the Western economic mind which is preoccupied by cultivating desires and the maximization of profit or utility. However, the deep ecological and financial crisis of our era renders alternative solutions worthy for consideration


Attila Bartha and Zsolt Boda: „Tax-compliance motivations in Hungary during corruption scandals” Közgazdasági Szemle Vol 63. (2016. October) pp 1021-1045. (In Hungarian)

The paper analyses the change of trusting attitudes and tax compliance between 2013 and 2015, a period marked by a serious corruption scandal of the National Tax Authority. Data reveal that voluntary tax compliance is related to trusting attitudes and the perception of corruption. Since both of them deteriorated during the period in question, the paper’s conclusion is that the corruption scandal undermined voluntary tax compliance and the tax morale in Hungary.


Laszlo Zsolnai: Post-Materialist Business: Spiritual Value-Orientation in Renewing Management. (Palgrave, 2015)

The book presents a spiritual-based approach to business and management. It uses pluralistic view of spirituality and provides a number of inspiring cases of alternative organizations which go beyond the materialistic mindset of business and serve the common good of society, nature, and future generations. The cases cover different spiritual traditions (Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Anthroposophy, and Buddhism), different industries (banking, agriculture, health care, education) and regions (Europe, Latin America, North America, Africa, and Asia). Post-materialistic business models activate the intrinsic motivation of the economic actors for serving the common good and suggest measuring success in a more holistic, multidimensional way. In these models profit and growth are not final ends any more but only elements of a broader set of material and non-material goals. Similarly, cost-benefit calculations are not the only means of business decisions but integrated into a more comprehensive scheme of wisdom-based management.


Knut Ims, Ove Jakobsen & Laszlo Zsolnai: “Product as Process: Commodities in Mechanic and Organic Ontology” (Ecological Economics 2015. Vol 110, pp. 11-14)

This article explores and interprets the product concept in two different ontologies: mechanistic and organic. A required shift in the ontology for understanding commodities has crucial implications for economic theory and practice. In mainstream economics the product is understood in terms of mechanistic ontology: as a fixed and atomized commodity, to be exhibited in the shelves of a supermarket. In the organic ontology of ecological economics the product is part of a dynamic network of relations involving the fields of economy, ecology and society. We argue that it is necessary to move beyond the product concept of mainstream economics in order to realize that economic actors share responsibility for the societal and environmental impact of what is produced, how the commodities are produced and (re)distributed, how profit is shared between the actors in the production, and the (re)distribution network, and that “waste” is recycled as a resource. We use the social labels “Fair trade” and “Rugmark” to illustrate the product as a process.


Gabor Kovács & Andras Ócsai: "The Spirit of Non-violence and Peace in Business" in Luk Bouckaert & Manas Chatterji (Eds.): Business, Ethics and Peace. (Emerald, 2015. pp. 231-245)

The paper discusses the role of nonviolence and peace in socio-economic context. The authors present the peace-oriented spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi and the non-violent political fight and reforms of Gandhi. They show the intricate relationship between peace and non-violence and recall working examples from business on how to realize peace and non-violence as a response to ecological and social challenges of today.


Last modified: 2019.03.11.