The Impossibility of the Separation Thesis

Business Ethics Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 541-548

Darden Business School Working Paper No. 174778

13 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2008 Last revised: 28 Apr 2009

See all articles by Jared D. Harris

Jared D. Harris

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

R. Edward Freeman

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Date Written: July 21, 2008

Abstract

Distinguishing "business" concerns from "ethical" values is not only an unfruitful and meaningless task, it is also an impossible endeavor. Nevertheless, fruitless attempts to separate facts from values produce detrimental second-order effects, both for theory and practice, and should therefore be abandoned. We highlight examples of exemplary research that integrate economic and moral considerations, and point the way to a business ethics discipline that breaks new ground by putting ideas and narratives about business together with ideas and narratives about ethics.

Keywords: Business, Ethics, Separation Thesis, Competing Values

JEL Classification: A13, H32, L21

Suggested Citation

Harris, Jared D. and Freeman, R. Edward, The Impossibility of the Separation Thesis (July 21, 2008). Business Ethics Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 541-548, Darden Business School Working Paper No. 174778, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1174778

Jared D. Harris (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.darden.virginia.edu/harrisj

R. Edward Freeman

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
804-924-0935 (Phone)
804-924-6378 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/freeman.htm

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