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Journal of Business Ethics Education

Volume 11, 2014

Ruud Welten
Pages 303-316

Case Studies in Business Ethics: A Hermeneutical Approach

Business ethics exists only because people do business—hence applied ethics—and like other forms of applied ethics, it is based on two poles: (ethical) theory and (entrepreneurial) practice. But what is their exact relationship? And what about the role of the case itself, which is always a narrative? Case studies are neither merely practical nor purely theoretical. Education and training as well as academic and popular debate regarding business ethics often involve the use of case studies. This contribution is a hermeneutically oriented exploration of the role case studies play in business ethics training. To that end, I will introduce an interpretative concept Paul Ricoeur developed in his 1986 Du texte à l’action and his 1965 study of Freud De l’interprétation.

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