Can Corporations Be Citizens

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25 What is business ethics? ). Typically this may include minor infringements of laws which are intended as administrational or where arbitrary limits have been set. This is not to say that such laws can be broken but that extensive ethical analysis may not be useful. Some non-deontological approaches to ethics relate to character development or to maximising social benefit which are simply not addressed by the law, except as they relate to resulting actions. It is not illegal to wish someone harm unless you do (or perhaps say) something about it, though this does not show a high level of moral development!

It has even been argued that particular approaches, and the technical languages in which they are expressed, will reflect the historical circumstances in which they were written. Indeed the meaning of words such as ‘ethical’ and ‘moral’ are hard if not impossible to pin down outside a given context. This argument can also be used to support the idea that a market-based business system is a unique social construction and therefore business ethics may produce different rules for behaviour than other contexts.

Norman, R. (1998), The Moral Philosophers: An Introduction to Ethics (2nd edn), OUP, Oxford. G. (1999), Jurisprudence (2nd edn), Butterworths, London. Singer, P. ) (1993), A Companion to Ethics, Blackwell, Oxford. Singer, P. (1997), How are We to Live: Ethics in an Age of Self-interest, OUP, Oxford. Thompson, M. (1999), Ethical Theory, Hodder and Stoughton, London. Vardy, P. and Grosch, P. (1994), The Puzzle of Ethics, HarperCollins, London. 31 3 Stakeholders and Corporate Social Responsibility Purpose and learning outcomes The purpose of this chapter is to introduce two key concepts in business ethics.

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