Business and Society Review 117 (3):329-356 (2012)

Julian Friedland
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Research into the proper mission of business falls within the context of theoretical and applied ethics. And ethics is fast becoming a part of required business school curricula. However, while business ethics research occasionally appears in high‐profile venues, it does not yet enjoy a regular place within any top management journal. I offer a partial explanation of this paradox and suggestions for resolving it. I begin by discussing the standard conception of human nature given by neoclassical economics as disseminated in business schools; showing it is a significant obstacle to an accurate conception of ethics and how this limits consideration of sustainability and corporate social responsibility. I then examine the scope of the top management journals, showing how their empirical and descriptive focus leaves little room for ethics, which is an essentially conceptual and prescriptive discipline. Finally, I suggest avenues for research into the ethical mission of business, generally—and sustainability and CSR, in particular—by appeal to the precepts of Harvard Business School’s Master’s in Business Administration ethics oath modeled on the medical and legal professions
Keywords Professional ethics  Business ethics  Oaths  Management research
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-8594.2012.00409.x
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References found in this work BETA

The Theory of Moral Sentiments.Adam Smith - 1759 - Dover Publications.
The Methods of Ethics.Henry Sidgwick - 1871 - Thoemmes Press.
Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - Philosophy 52 (199):102-105.

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