Business & Entrepreneurship Journal

Ethics from the Start: Embracing Professional Moral Courage in Entrepreneurial Decision-Making

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  • Abstract 

    If entrepreneurs want to create ethical organizations, moral considerations need to be embedded within the decisions they make from the onset of project creation. Prior to an ethical issue surfacing the startup founder needs to cultivate a desire to be ethical and to develop and demonstrate the requisite skills that support an ability to engage in right and/or moral behavior. Our suggested proactive approach to ethical entrepreneurship leverages extant scholarship in the areas of moral decision making theory and positive organizational ethics. We apply these concepts by offering a process to depict how the elements of professional moral courage (PMC) can be applied as competencies to fortify a path of moral action as entrepreneurs face financial decisions. The implications of this effort underscore how the moral identity of the organizationís creator helps to form the identity of their nascent company. We conclude this article with an affirmation that scholars, practitioners, and educators must help entrepreneurs think as deeply about ethics as they do about the creation and growth of their projects, along with money and markets. 

    JEL classification numbers: M13, L26. 

    Keywords: Ethical entrepreneurship, Professional moral courage, Ethical decision making, Positive organizational ethics, Organizational identity, Moral identity.