Corporate Ethics and Management Theory
CONTEMPORARY ECONOMIC ETHICS AND BUSINESS ETHICS: STUDIES IN ECONOMIC ETHICS AND PHILOSOPHY, Peter Koslowski, ed., pp. 148-192, Berlin/Heidelberg/New York: Springer, 2000
38 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2008 Last revised: 30 Oct 2010
In what follows we try to develop a concise line of reasoning concerning a conceptual clarification of the relationship between corporate ethics and management. Our proposal will draw from philosophical considerations developed by philosophers of the methodical constructivism of the so-called Erlangen-School of German philosophy. We use the term "corporate ethics" instead of (the more fuzzy term) "business ethics" to stress that the focus of our paper is the firm and not the economy as a whole. The word "management" denotes all actions which are directed towards the (purposeful) coordination of corporate activities by which the transformation of goods and services is accomplished (i.e., procurement, operations, logistics, marketing etc.). These actions are traditionally grouped in five "managerial functions" under the headings of (1) planning, (2) organizing, (3) staffing, (4) leading (directing), and (5) control. Management theory then is the body of knowledge about managerial functions developed to describe, understand (or explain) and improve management practice. Note that this definition implies an approach to the field of management which is guided by the theory of action (instead, e.g., by systems theory). The arguments of this paper are thus developed within the framework of a means-end-relationship: Managerial functions are regarded as means to the end of fulfilling the firm's objectives.
Keywords: Corporate ethics, management theory, constructivism
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