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

Horst Steinmann

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg-Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen Nürnberg

Andreas Georg Scherer

University of Zurich - IBW Department of Business Administration

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Steinmann, Horst and Scherer, Andreas Georg, 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. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1289192 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1289192

Horst Steinmann

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg-Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen Nürnberg ( email )

Schloßplatz 4
Erlangen, Bavaria 91054
Germany

Andreas Georg Scherer (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - IBW Department of Business Administration ( email )

Universitätsstrasse 84
Zurich, 8006
Switzerland
+41 44-63 45302 (Phone)
+41 44-63 45301 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.business.uzh.ch/professorships/as.html

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