Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 106, Issue 1, pp 103–116 | Cite as

The Italian Economia Aziendale and Catholic Social Teaching: How to Apply the Common Good Principle at the Managerial Level



The ongoing global economic and financial crisis has exposed the risks of considering market and business organizations only as instruments for creating economic wealth while paying little heed to their role in ethics and values. Catholic Social Teaching (CST) could provide a useful contribution in rethinking the role of values in business organizations and markets because CST puts forward an anthropological view that involves thinking of the marketplace as a community of persons with the aim of participating in the Common Good (CG) of society. In the light of the CST tradition, and in particular Caritas in Veritate, this article investigates the thinking of some of the historical scholars of the Italian Economia Aziendale (EA), by focusing on the concept of azienda, in order to reinterpret in a more humanistic way the role of business organizations in society. By linking CST and EA, the dichotomy between for-profit and not-for-profit organizations and the stereotype of the so-called business amorality that has, for a long time, driven business managers can be transcended. The conclusions imply a forward-looking application of the ethical concepts embedded in the Italian science of EA.


Azienda Catholic Social Thought Common Good Economia Aziendale For-profit and not-for-profit organizations 



Common Good


Economia Aziendale


Catholic Social Teaching


Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church


Caritas in Veritate


Centesimus Annus



Comments received from colleagues at the 16th International Symposium on Ethics, Business and Society (13–15 May 2010, Barcelona, Spain), Eben Research Conference 2010 (14–16 June, Tampere, Finland), and 23rd Eben Annual Conference 2010 (9–11 September, Trento, Italy) are gratefully acknowledged. Thanks go to the guest editors of the JBE special issue Michele Andreaus, Antonino Vaccaro, and Michael Asslaender and the three anonymous referees for their constructive comments on earlier versions of this article.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer and Management SciencesUniversity of TrentoTrentoItaly
  2. 2.University of BergamoBergamoItaly

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