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Learning from History – The Relevance of the History of Business Ethics for the Practice of Business Ethics

Frederick Bird

Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Unternehmensethik - Journal for Business, Economics & Ethics, 2016, vol. 17, issue 1, 8-36

Abstract: Why should those currently engaged in business ethics seek a fuller understanding of how others engaged in these practices in the past? This essay addresses this question by reviewing in broad historical strokes three typical expressions of the practices of business ethics: namely, efforts to cultivate fitting virtues, efforts to enhance the ethical problem solving capabilities of businesses, and efforts to establish publically enforceable normative standards/laws. Using seven huge, troubling contemporary ethical crises as a point of reference, the essay concludes by examining ways businesses learn from a critical review of the history of business ethics in order more responsibly to address these issues.

Keywords: History; Ethics; Business; Stakeholders; Corporate Governance; Ethics as Social Practice (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A13 A14 M14 Z10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Unternehmensethik - Journal for Business, Economics & Ethics is currently edited by Prof. Dr. Thomas Beschorner (St.Gallen, Schweiz), Dr. Markus Breuer (Berlin), Prof. Dr. Dr. Alexander Brink (Bayreuth und Witten/Herdecke), Dr. Bettina Hollstein (Erfurt), Dr. Marc C. Huebscher (Hamburg) and Dr. Olaf J. Schumann (Frankfurt a.M.)

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