Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society

Volume 15, 2004

Proceedings of the Fifteenth Annual Meeting

J. (Hans) van Oosterhout, Ben Wempe, Theo van Willigenburg
Pages 81-90

Contractarianism and the Project for an Integrative Organizational Ethics

This paper challenges a pervasive, if not always explicit assumption of the present state of theorising in business ethics. This is the idea that a workable theory of organizational ethics must provide a distinctive, unitary and integrative perspective on its subject matter. In this paper we will sketch the broad outlines of an alternative understanding of business ethics, which focuses on constraints on corporate conduct that cannot reasonably be rejected. These constraints stem from at least three different levels or spheres of social reality, i.e. the preconditions of a well-ordered society, the internal morality of economic activity and the preconditions of autonomous agency.

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