Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Ethis as a Key Aspecto to the Survival of the Company in Times of Crisis

Jose Luis Fernández Fernández, Cristina M. de Haro, Carlos Rubio Nieto


This research paper approaches the following question through the hypothetico-deductive model: How is it that some companies have survived the crisis while others have not? Such question is expanded on herein: How is it that a company that suffers a cyclical crisis in the broader context of a systemic crisis is able to survive? Looking into the conditions concerning the likelihood of survival in the face of a crisis, it all points to the ethical side of the issue, thus prompting a complementary and final question: To what extent can an organizational culture based on strong moral foundations foster the survival of companies in times of crisis?
The first part of this study, covering economic cycles, conducts a taxonomic analysis that recognizes and relates the different types of crisis –entropic vs. dialectic; structural vs. cyclical; system vs. company crisis– and provides an account of some of the reasons that the literature on the subject uses with the aim of explaining the current crisis.
The second part will cover a classification as well as a systematic description of the reasons and causes of the cyclical crises, so as to be able to identify the human factor, which is not only the most common root-cause of organizational crises but also the key to overcoming them.
The third part focuses on the ethical aspects of the matter at hand, and proposes some hypotheses covering the strategic conditions and cultural requirements that would be more likely to foster company survival in environments as hostile as the one we face nowadays. The article ends by offering a series of practical proposals that, in the authors’ view, may be a useful guide for companies to strengthen their defense mechanisms when faced with prospective crises and recessions.
Finally, some potential lines of research for future projects are suggested. In employing various tools such as quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods (surveys, case studies, focus groups and in-depth interviews), we sought to conduct an empiric verification of whether the hypotheses that were part of this qualitative analysis were consistent.

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