Compliance, Global Ethos and Corporate Wisdom: Values Strategies as an Increasingly Critical Competitive Advantage

  • Friedrich GlaunerEmail author
Part of the Ethical Economy book series (SEEP, volume 51)


Values and corporate cultures will be the key drivers guiding the development of tomorrow’s competitive advantages. They help solve the paradox of modern management, leadership and business strategy, of staying highly flexible yet at the same time unmistakably distinct. This requires the ability to build high performance teams in which diversity is channelled in a manner which reduces rather than increases complexity. It is precisely this task of reducing complexity by raising diversity where ethical values enter the scene, evidenced by the socio-psychological downsides of the phenomenon of compliance. Biologists, psychologists, sociologists, historians and philosophers as diverse as Hannah Arendt, Solmon Asch, Joachim Bauer, Sönke Neitzel, Harald Welzer and Paul Watzlawick have observed that humans frequently tend to comply with the habits and opinions of the groups they inhabit (Arendt, Elemente und Ursprünge totalitärer Herrschaft. Piper, München 1986, 1951; Eichmann in Jerusalem. Ein Bericht von der banalität des Bösen. Piper, München 9. Aufl. 2011, 1964; Asch, Sci Am 193:31–35, 1955; Psychological Monographs 70, Nr. 416, 1956; Bauer, Prinzip Menschlichkeit: Warum wir von Natur aus kooperieren. Heyne, München/Zürich, 2006; Das kooperative Gen. Abschied vom Darwinismus. Hoffmann & Campe, Hamburg behavior in business, 2008; Neitzel and Welzer, Soldaten. Protokolle vom Kämpfen, Töten und Sterben. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main, 2011, Watzlawick, Wie wirklich ist die Wirklichkeit. Wahn – Täuschung – Verstehen. Piper, München, 1976).

This triggers a dialectical development in which compliant behaviour, organized according to alleged expectations of what the system and the individuals within it expect from us, leads to a leveling of diversity and vice versa. To avoid this leveling of diversity, corporate cultures must focus on two continuous tasks: first they need to address the challenge of keeping diverse perspectives alive while secondly channeling diversity in ways that minimize complexity and conflicts. To accomplish this double task corporations ought to draw on a set of values which go beyond those typically included in discussions of corporate cultures, corporate ethics and corporate values. This set of values is embodied in the concept of the global ethos (Küng, Handbuch Weltethos. Eine Vision und ihre Umsetzung. Pieper, München, 2012) which is based on the principles of humanity and the golden rule. If implemented within corporations by way of the instrument of the ethical truth table (Glauner, Future viability. Values strategies to the competitive advantages of tomorrow. Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg/New York, 2016a; Values cockpits. On measuring and steering corporate cultures. Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg/New York, 2016b), corporations can harness these values to build strategies of excellence which will give them a critical competitive advantage in tomorrow’s increasingly challenging and rapidly evolving business environment.


Corporate Social Responsibility Business Ethic Competitive Advantage Business Model Corporate Culture 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Weltethos InstitutUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany

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