Management and Business Ethics: A Critique and Integration of Ethical Decision-Making Models

13 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2003

See all articles by Dean Bartlett

Dean Bartlett

London Metropolitan Business School


This paper critically reviews the literature relating to the management of ethics within organizations and identifies, in line with other authors, a gap between theory and practice in the area. It highlights the role of management (both as an academic discipline and from a practitioner perspective) in bridging this gap and views managers, with their sense of individual ethical agency, as a key locus of ethics within organizations. The paper aims to address the theory-practice gap by surveying the business ethics literature in order to identify, draw together and integrate existing theory and research, with a particular emphasis upon models of ethical decision-making and their relationship to work values. Such an endeavour is necessary, not only because of the relative neglect of management practice by business ethics researchers, but also because of the current lack of integration in the field of business ethics itself. The paper outlines some of the main methodological challenges in the area and suggests how some of these may be overcome. Finally, it concludes with a number of suggestions as to how the theory-practice gap can be addressed through the development of a research agenda, based upon the previous work reviewed.

Suggested Citation

Bartlett, Dean, Management and Business Ethics: A Critique and Integration of Ethical Decision-Making Models. British Journal of Management, Vol. 14, pp. 223-235, September 2003. Available at SSRN:

Dean Bartlett (Contact Author)

London Metropolitan Business School ( email )

277-281, Holloway Road,
London, N7 8HN
United Kingdom

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