The Honest Businessperson: Cosmopolitan Theory and Cultural Praxis (The Example of Denmark and Scandinavia)

  • Jacob Dahl Rendtorff
Part of the Ethical Economy book series (SEEP, volume 56)


This paper discusses the relationship between a Kantian, cosmopolitan economic ethics and business ethics and the theory and practice of the honest businessperson in Scandinavia. A cosmopolitan business ethics is the prerequisite for accountability, ethics and legitimacy of companies in the global social and economic system. Accordingly, the need for a cosmopolitan business ethics in a complex and hypermodern society is considered as a basis for the theory and practice of the honest businessperson and merchant. Consequently, it is possible to formulate a philosophical theory of corporate governance in the global context of economic business. This raises the question of how such an idea of the cosmopolitan economics ethics and business ethics is expressed in the different cultural practices of the ideals of the respectable businessperson in different countries and regions in the world. In the present article, the author discusses the example of Denmark and Scandinavia. With this investigation, we can see that cosmopolitan business ethics is realized with the concepts of trust, transparency and integrity through corporate governance and with a focus on integration of accountability into corporate strategy of business firms. The values of the Protestant ethics of equality and asceticism are important aspects of this institutionalization business ethics. The economic ethics of the Scandinavian economy is very closely connected to the values of sustainability and corporate social responsibility in Denmark and Scandinavia.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Sciences and BusinessUniversity of RoskildeRoskildeDenmark

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