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Title: Contrasting the Behavioural Business Ethics Approach and the Institutional Economic Approach to Business Ethics: Insights From the Study of Quaker Employers
Authors: Wagner-Tsukamoto, Sigmund
First Published: 1-Nov-2008
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Citation: Journal of Business Ethics, 2008, 82 (4), pp. 835-850 (16)
Abstract: The article suggests that in a modern context, where value pluralism is a prevailing and possibly, even ethically desirable interaction condition, institutional economics provides a more viable business ethics than behavioural business ethics, such as Kantianism or religious ethics. The article explains how the institutional economic approach to business ethics analyses morality with regard to an interaction process, and favours non-behavioural, situational intervention with incentive structures and with capital exchange. The article argues that this approach may have to be prioritised over behavioural business ethics, which tends to analyse morality at the level of the individual and favours behavioural intervention with the individual's value, norm and belief system, e.g. through ethical pedagogy, communicative techniques, etc. Quaker ethics is taken as an example of behavioural ethics. The article concludes that through the conceptual grounding of behavioural ethics in the economic approach, theoretical and practical limitations of behavioural ethics, as encountered in a modern context, can be relaxed. Probably only then can behavioural ethics still contribute to raising moral standards in interactions amongst the members (stakeholders) of a single firm, and equally, amongst (the stakeholders of) different firms.
DOI Link: 10.1007/s10551-007-9596-9
ISSN: 0167-4544
eISSN: 1573-0697
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2007 Springer. Deposited with reference to the publisher's archiving policy available on the SHERPA/RoMEO website. The original publication is available at
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Management

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