Business Ethics Scholarship

Business ethics scholarship is usefully divided into three distinct categories of research: (1) conceptual, (2) normative, and (3) descriptive. Conceptual scholarship seeks to advance understanding of certain mental concepts that inform people’s understanding of business. Normative scholarship seeks to clarify the purposes of business and the ethical constraints under which businesspeople should operate. Descriptive scholarship seeks to explain and predict business practices.

In the 1970s, philosophers working in normative ethics found that more specialized attention to the practice of business was necessary to assess the ethical status of specific business practices and provide guidance to ethical managers. This increase in specialization paralleled a similar increase in specialization by philosophers working on normative questions in bioethics and seeking to counsel physicians. Since that time, both business ethics ...

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