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Managing Without Blame? Insights from the Philosophy of Blame

Lupton, Benjamin and Warren, R (2016) Managing Without Blame? Insights from the Philosophy of Blame. Journal of Business Ethics. ISSN 0167-4544


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This article explores the concept of blame in organizations. Existing work suggests that ‘no-blame’ approaches (or cultures) may be conducive to organizational learning and may foster innovation. However, both the apparently strong public appetite for blaming, and research into no-blame approaches, suggest that wider application of ‘no-blame’ in organizations may not be straightforward. The article explores the contribution of the rich philosophical literature on blame to this debate, and considers the implications of philosophical ideas for the no-blame idea. In doing so, it identifies conceptual and practical issues, sheds light on why the benefits of ‘no-blame’ may be difficult to realize, and offers the basis for an alternative approach. The article also contributes by providing foundations for future research, and identifies some fruitful lines of enquiry.

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