Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 117, Issue 4, pp 695–706 | Cite as

A Constructivist Approach to Business Ethics

  • Michael BuckleyEmail author


A recurrent challenge in applied ethics concerns the development of principles that are both suitably general to cover various cases and sufficiently exact to guide behavior in particular instances. In business ethics, two central approaches—stockholder and stakeholder—often fail by one or the other requirement. The author argues that the failure is precipitated by their reliance upon “universal” theory, which views the justification of principles as both independent of their context of application and universally appropriate to all contexts. The author develops a contextual interpretation of “constructivism” as an alternative approach, and argues that this alternative meets the above challenge.


Constructivism Contextualism Universalism Manager responsibility Pharmaceuticals Health impact fund 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentLehman College, CUNYBronxUSA

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