Business Ethics, Philosophy of Management, and Theory of Leadership

  • Jacob Dahl RendtorffEmail author
Part of the Ethical Economy book series (SEEP, volume 51)


This article presents the background of the discussions of the relation between business ethics and philosophy of management. The reason for the need for rethinking business ethics and philosophy of management is the many scandals and the crisis of business in contemporary society. The question is whether it is possible to overcome the oxymoron between ethics and business with the point of view that “good ethics is good business”. In order to answer this question we need to rethink business ethics with philosophy of management. From this perspective, the paper addresses the problem of moral blindness in organizations. The extended elements of moral blindness in organizations represent the basis for our need for business ethics. The state of the art of business ethics with utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics, discourse ethics and recent approaches to philosophy of management within the analytical and continental traditions need to be aware of this need to rethink business ethics from the perspective of philosophy of management. On this basis the paper proposes a global philosophy of management with cosmopolitan business ethics as a foundation of the concept of the balanced company in international business. A case-study approach based on care evaluation of ethical decision-making and ethical dilemmas in particular companies may help to advance this approach.


Corporate Social Responsibility Business Ethic Ethical Dilemma Virtue Ethic Stakeholder Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Arendt, Hannah. 1963. Eichmann in Jerusalem: A report on the banality of evil. New York: Viking Press.Google Scholar
  2. Arnold, Denis G., and Jared D. Harris. 2012. Kantian business ethics, Critical perspectives. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bird, Frederick Bruce. 1996. Muted conscience: Moral silence and the practice of ethics in business. Westport: Quorum Books.Google Scholar
  4. Bonnafous-Boucher, Maria, and Jacob Dahl Rendtorff. 2014. La théorie des parties prenantes, La Collection Repères, vol. 627. Paris: Editions La Découverte.Google Scholar
  5. Bowie, Norman E. 1999. Business ethics: A Kantian perspective. New York: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  6. Crane, Andrew, and Dirk Matten. 2016. Business ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Frederick, Robert E. (ed.). 2002. A companion to business ethics. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
  8. Habermas, Jürgen. 1981. Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns. (Bd.1: Handlungsrationalität und gesellschaftliche Rationalisierung, Bd. 2: Zur Kritik der funktionalistischen Vernunft). Frankfurt am Main.Google Scholar
  9. Habermas, Jürgen. 1992. Faktizität und Geltung. Beiträge zur Diskurstheorie des Rechts und des demokratischen Rechtsstaates. Frankfurt am Main.Google Scholar
  10. Ims, Knut J., and Lars Jacob Tynes Pedersen. 2015. Business ethics and the greater good. Rethinking business ethics in an age of crisis, Studies in transatlantic business ethics. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.Google Scholar
  11. Jensen, Inger, John Damm Scheuer and Jacob Dahl Rendtorff. 2013. The balanced company: Organizing for the 21st century, Corporate social responsibility. Farnham: Gower Publishing Ltd.Google Scholar
  12. Koslowski, Peter. 2001. Principles of ethical economy (2000, paperback edition 2001). German original: Prinzipien der Ethischen Ökonomie (1988, 2nd ed. 1994), Issues in Business Ethics, Springer.Google Scholar
  13. Koslowski, Peter (ed.). 2010. Elements of a philosophy of management and organization, Studies in economic ethics and philosophy, 19–47. Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  14. Luetge, Christoph (ed.). 2013. Handbook of the philosophical foundations of business ethics, Dordrecht/Heidelberg/New York/London: Springer.Google Scholar
  15. Luhmann, Niklas. 1993. “Wirtschaftsethik – als Ethik?”. In Wirtschaftsethik und Theorie der Gesellschaft, hg. von Josef Wieland, 134–147, hier S. 134. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, S.Google Scholar
  16. Mintzberg, Henry. 1983. The case for corporate social responsibility. Journal of Business Strategy Fall 1983: 4.Google Scholar
  17. Philips, Robert A. 2003. Stakeholder theory and organizational ethics. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.Google Scholar
  18. Philips, Robert A. (ed.). 2011. Stakeholder theory: Impact and prospects, Collection of original essays in honor of the 25 anniversary of R. Edward Freeman’s strategic management: A stakeholder approach. Cheltenham Glos: Edward Elgar Publishing.Google Scholar
  19. Porter, Michael E., and Mark R. Kramer. 2011, January–February. The big idea: Creating shared value, rethinking capitalism. Harvard Business Review.Google Scholar
  20. Rendtorff, Jacob Dahl. 2009. Responsibility, ethics and legitimacy of corporations. Copenhagen: Copenhagen Business School Press.Google Scholar
  21. Rendtorff, Jacob Dahl (ed.). 2010. Power and principle in the market place: On ethics and economics. London: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  22. Rendtorff, Jacob Dahl. 2011. Institutionalization of corporate ethics and social responsibility programs in firms. In Corporate social and human rights responsibilities: Global, legal and management perspectives, ed. Karin Buhmann, Lynn Roseberry, and Mette Morsing, 244–266. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  23. Rendtorff, Jacob Dahl. 2012. Business ethics. In Encyclopedia of applied ethics, red. Ruth Chadwick, vol. 12, 365–372. Edition. San Diego: Academic Press, Incorporated.Google Scholar
  24. Rendtorff, Jacob Dahl. 2013a. Basic concepts of philosophy of management and corporations. In Handbook of the philosophical foundations of business ethics, ed. Christoph Luetge, 1361–1386. Dordrecht/Heidelberg/New York/London: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Rendtorff, Jacob Dahl. 2013b. The history of the philosophy of management and corporations. In Handbook of the philosophical foundations of business ethics, ed. Christoph Luetge, 1387–1408. Dordrecht/Heidelberg/New York/London: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rendtorff, Jacob Dahl. 2013c. Philosophical theories of management and corporations. In Handbook of the philosophical foundations of business ethics, ed. Christoph Luetge, 1409–1432. Dordrecht/Heidelberg/New York/London: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rendtorff, Jacob Dahl. 2013d. Recent debates in philosophy of management. In Handbook of the philosophical foundations of business ethics, ed. Christoph Luetge, 1433–1457. Dordrecht/Heidelberg/New York/London: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rendtorff, Jacob Dahl. 2013e. Corporate citizenship and republican business ethics: Towards a general framework for corporate social responsibility and human rights in business. In Corporate goals & responsibilities: Economic, social and human rights, red. Bishwajit Okram, 7–22. LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing.Google Scholar
  29. Rendtorff, Jacob Dahl. 2014a. Risk management, banality of evil and moral blindness in organizations and corporations. In Business ethics and risk management, Ethical economy, vol. 43, ed. Christoph Luetge and Johanna Jauernig, 45–71. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  30. Rendtorff, Jacob Dahl. 2014b. French philosophy and social theory: A perspective for ethics and philosophy of management, Ethical economy, vol. 49, 315 p. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  31. Rendtorff, Jacob Dahl. 2014c. Ethics after Fukushima! Reflections on institutional decision-making in complex organizational systems. In Nature and culture in our time. Nature et culture de notre temps (Ecoethica Volume 3 2014): With a second part on Paul Ricoeur and an unpublished text by Paul Ricoeur.ed../Peter Kemp; Noriko Hashimoto, vol. 3, s. 59–75 (Ecoethica). Berlin: LIT Verlag.Google Scholar
  32. Rendtorff, Jacob Dahl. 2015a. The need for a theoretical reexamination of sustainability in economics and business. In Sustainable markets for sustainable business: A global perspective for business and financial markets, Finance, governance and sustainability: Challenges to theory and practice, ed. Güler Aras, 41–58. Farnham: Gower Publishing Ltd.Google Scholar
  33. Rendtorff, Jacob Dahl. 2015b. Case studies, ethics, philosophy and liberal learning for the management profession. Journal of Management Education 39(1): 36–55.Google Scholar
  34. Rendtorff, Jacob Dahl. 2015c. Business ethics, strategy, and organizational integrity: The importance of integrity as a basic principle of business ethics that contributes to better economic performance. In Handbook of research on business ethics and corporate responsibilities, Advances in business strategy and competitive advantage (ABSCA), red. Daniel E. Palmer, s. 91–105. Herschey: IGI global.Google Scholar
  35. Ricoeur, Paul. 1955. Histoire et vérité. Paris: Le Seuil.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rorty, Richard. 2006. Is philosophy relevant to applied ethics? Invited address to the society of business ethics annual meeting, August 2005. Business Ethics Quarterly 16(3, July): 369–380.Google Scholar
  37. Scherer, Andreas Georg, and Guido Palazzo. 2011. The new political role of business in a globalized world – A review of a new perspective on CSR and its implications for the firm, governance, and democracy. Journal of Management Studies 48(4): 899–931.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Solomon, Robert C. 1992. Ethics and excellence: Cooperation and integrity in business. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Velasquez, Manuel G. 2011. Business ethics: Concepts & cases, 7th ed. International ed. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Sciences & BusinessRoskilde UniversityRoskildeDenmark

Personalised recommendations