Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 84, Issue 1, pp 79–88 | Cite as

‘Are Strategists from Mars and Ethicists from Venus?’ – Strategizing as Ethical Reflection

  • Michael Behnam
  • Andreas Rasche


Early strategy scholars have pointed to the importance of reflecting on moral issues within the scope of strategic management. Although strategy content and context have been discussed in relation to ethical reflection, the third aspect, strategy process, has found only little or no attention with regard to ethics. We argue that by emphasizing the process perspective one can understand the related character of strategic management and ethical reflection. We discuss this relatedness along formal, functional, and procedural similarities. Whereas formal aspects refer to the conditions under which both processes occur, functional aspects look at the role that strategy process and ethical reflection fulfill. Procedural aspects account for similarities in the nature of both processes insofar as the activities that are conducted within each process phase share common characteristics. We claim that ethical reflection can be thought of as an integrative part of strategic management – either explicitly or implicitly.


ethical reflection moral agency stakeholder strategy–ethics-link strategy process 


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We would like to thank Michael Arthur, Dirk Gilbert and Tammy MacLean for their helpful comments and suggestions as well as the anonymous reviewers and the critical audience at the 2005 annual conferences of the British Academy of Management and the 2005 annual conference of the European Academy of Management where earlier versions of this article were presented.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sawyer Business SchoolSuffolk UniversityBostonU.S.A.
  2. 2.Department of Organization and LogisticsHelmut-Schmidt-UniversityHamburgGermany

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