Too many employees out there have experienced participating in group interventions and teamwork where the mission, vision and values of the company or organization were to be articulated, and the end result became a handful of empty words. Here, a philosopher may intervene to question, bring clarity, and help bring forth what was to be or should have been clearly formulated. Often ignored in the process of articulating value statements is that these different statements may come in conflict, whereby moral dilemmas will arise, and neglecting moral dilemmas may cause serious harm. Further, short-term and long-term consequences may stand in conflict to each other. What is to be optimized? Fast economical growth? The minimization of risks? Long-term sustainability? If so, what is to be sustained?
H&M’s vision is: "that all our operations are run in a way that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable."
How to prioritize when the economical, social and environmental sustainability comes in conflict? Further, H&M states that “We believe that quality, affordable fashion can be made and sold in a way that’s also good for people and the environment“. To allow for honest communication there are reasons to make clear the relationship between this belief and reality. Is the stated belief true?
IKEA´s vision is: "to create a better everyday life for the many people."
This is meant to happen through bringing low priced home furnishing products to as many as possible. But what really makes everyday life better for people? Statistics point to a cut-off where material wealth above a basic level adds little to people’s well-being. Should many people buy less and work less to live better?
The vision of Telia Sonera is: "to contribute to a world with better opportunities."
Which opportunities should be provided and to whom? Should the company support the building of schools in order to provide education to more people in the world?
Articualting core values takes awareness of common issues in business ethics. A philosopher may point to potential conflicts between different values or between long-term and short-term goals, as well as provide guidance in how to prioritize.
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