Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 84, Issue 3, pp 427–456 | Cite as

A Genealogy of Business Ethics: A Nietzschean Perspective

  • Skip Worden


This article approaches the field of business ethics from a Nietzschean vantage point, which means explaining the weakness of the field by means of providing an etiological account of the values esteemed by the decadent business ethicists therein. I argue that such business ethicists have wandered from their immanent philosophical ground to act as scientists, businesspersons, and preaching-moralists as a way of evading their human self-contradictions. In actuality, this fleeing exacerbates them into a sickness of self-idolatry and self-loathing. I bring in Nietzsche’s approach to the value of truth and his ascetic priest figure to get to the origin of this problem. Moreover, I attend throughout to delimiting the field of business ethics as that branch of ethics that can be taught in business schools. Indeed, the article itself is a movement in this direction, being inherently and intentionally philosophical.


Christianity egoism equality justice morality Nietzsche religion science stakeholder 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MadisonUSA

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