Volume 6, Issue 1, January 1996
Towards Business Ethics as an Academic Discipline
Recalling several profound disagreements about business ethics as it is currently discussed in Western societies, I emphasize the need for business ethics as an academic discipline that consfitutes the “backbone” for both teaching business ethics and improving business practice (section I). Then I outline a conceptual framework of business ethics that promotes a “bottom..up” approach (section 2). This “problem-and action-oriented” conception appears to be fruitful in terms of both practical relevance and theoretical understanding. Finally, I argue for (section 3) the relevance of discussing goals at all levels of human action (i.e., individuals, organizations, systems) as weil as the indispensability of human rights, and propose Amartya Sen’s “goal-rights-system” approach as a normative-ethical framework for business ethics that integrates these two fundamental aspects.
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