Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sternberg on Business Ethics

"There is, consequently, still a need to combat what can most appropriately be called the 'oxymoronic approach' to business ethics. In the early 1990s, this view was commonly associated with social responsibility; now it is more often described in terms of stakeholding. In whatever form it is expressed, however, the oxymoronic view holds that being ethical in business means replacing the pursuit of owner value with the pursuit of some other end -- social welfare, environmental protection or stakeholder interests, for example. Since, however, the essence of business is maximising owner value by selling goods or services, this view of business ethics is literally absurd: it makes refraining from business the condition of being ethical in business."

Elaine Sternberg, Just Business: Business Ethics in Action

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