Is there “no such thing as business ethics”?

Journal of Business Ethics 6 (2):81 - 88 (1987)
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What are we to make of the claim that we often hear, that there is no such thing as business ethics? This essay first examines two arguments that might be in people's minds in making such a claim — that business is a game, and hence the ordinary constraints of morality do not apply, and that one cannot survive in business if one is too ethical. The critique of these arguments begins the process of making clear what business ethics is. The paper then proceeds in a more positive vein to define and explain for the sceptic what business ethics is. Everyone must confront the question, what should I do in my business relationships? Business ethics is defined, then, as the effort to develop Socratically one's answer to this question, that is, through the critical examination of alternatives. In the process of explaining this notion, several other senses in which someone might say that there is no such thing as business ethics are explored and the basic distinction between the moral point of view and ethical egoism is introduced.



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