Skip to main content
Log in

Toward a foundational normative method in business ethics

  • Religious Studies & Business Ethics
  • New Directions In An Emerging Field
  • Published:
Journal of Business Ethics Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Business ethics as an applied inquiry requires an expanded normative method which allows both philosophical and religious ethical considerations to be employed in resolving complex issues or cases. The proposed foundational normative method provides a comprehensive framework composed of major philosophical and religious ethical theories. An extensive rationale from the current trends in business ethics and metaethical considerations supports the development of this method which is illustrated in several case studies. By using this method, scholars and business persons gain greater certitude about the ethical quality of their deliberations and decision making than what may be achieved with current nonsystematic or nascent normative methods.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Ayer, A. J.: 1936, Language, Truth, and Logic (Victor Gollancz, London).

    Google Scholar 

  • Baier, Kurt.: 1958, The Moral Point of View (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY).

    Google Scholar 

  • Baumhart, S. J., Raymond.: 1968, An Honest Profit; What Businessmen Say About Ethics in Business (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York).

    Google Scholar 

  • Bentham, Jeremy.: 1823, An Introduction to the Principles of Moral and Legislation (E. Wilson and W. Pickering, London).

    Google Scholar 

  • Brenner, Steven N. and Molander, Earl A.: 1977, ‘Is the Ethics of Business Changing?’, Harvard Business Review 55 (January–February), 57–71.

    Google Scholar 

  • Curran, Charles E.: 1975, ‘Paul Ramsey and Tradition and Roman Catholic National Law Theory’, Ongoing Revision in Moral Theology (Fides Publishers, Inc., Notre Dame, IN).

    Google Scholar 

  • Davis, Scott.: 1983, ‘Ethical Properties and Divine Commands’, The Journal of Religious Ethics 11 (Fall), 280–300.

    Google Scholar 

  • De George, Richard T.: 1982, Business Ethics (Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., New York).

    Google Scholar 

  • Donaldson, Thomas.: 1982, Corporations and Morality (Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ).

    Google Scholar 

  • Frankena, William K.: 1964/1973a, Ethics 1st/2nd ed., (Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ).

    Google Scholar 

  • 1966, ‘On Saying the Ethical Thing’, Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 39, 21–42.

    Google Scholar 

  • 1973b, ‘The Ethics of Love Conceived as an Ethics of Virtue’, The Journal of Religious Ethics 1 (Fall), 21–36.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fuchs, Josef, S. J.: 1965, Natural Law: A Theological Investigation (Sheed and Ward, New York).

    Google Scholar 

  • Garrett, Thomas.: 1966, Business Ethics (Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ).

    Google Scholar 

  • Goodpaster, Kenneth E.: 1982, ‘Managing Responsible Advertising’, Teaching note 5-383-011, Harvard Business School.

  • Goodpaster, Kenneth E. 1983, ‘Ethical Frameworks for Management’, Teaching note 0-384-105, Harvard Business School.

  • Green, Ronald.: 1973, ‘Jewish Ethics and the Virtue of Humility’, The Journal of Religious Ethics 1 (Fall), 53–63.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gustafson, James M.: 1975, Can Ethics Be Christian? (University of Chicago Press, Chicago).

    Google Scholar 

  • 1978, Protestant and Roman Catholic Ethics: Prospects for Rapprochement (University of Chicago Press, Chicago).

    Google Scholar 

  • 1981, Ethics from a Theocentric Perspective: Theology and Ethics (University of Chicago Press, Chicago).

    Google Scholar 

  • Hancock, David.: 1974, Twentieth Century Ethics (Columbia University Press, New York).

    Google Scholar 

  • Harman, Gilbert.: 1977, The Nature of Morality: An Introduction to Ethics (Oxford University Press, New York).

    Google Scholar 

  • Hauerwas, Stanley.: 1974, Vision and Virtue: Essays in Christian Ethical Reflection (Fides Publishers, Inc., Notre Dame, IN).

    Google Scholar 

  • Helm, Paul, ed.: 1981, Divine Commands and Morality, Oxford Readings in Philosophy (Oxford University Press, Oxford.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kant, Immanuel: 1785/1969, The Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, Translated by Lewis White Beck (Bobbs-Merrill Co., Indianapolis).

    Google Scholar 

  • Lehmann, Paul L.: 1963, Ethics in a Christian Context Harper & Row, Publishers, New York).

    Google Scholar 

  • Levine, Aaron: 1980, Free Enterprise and Jewish Law: Aspects of Jewish Business Ethics (Yeshiva University Press, New York).

    Google Scholar 

  • Luthans, Fred and Hodgetts, Richard: 1967, Social Issues in Business (Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., New York).

    Google Scholar 

  • MacIntyre, Alasdair: 1966, A Short History of Ethics (Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., New York).

    Google Scholar 

  • Mitchell, Jr., John E.: 1962, The Christian in Business (Fleming H. Revell Co., Westwood, NJ).

    Google Scholar 

  • Moore, G. E.: 1903, Principia Ethica (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge).

    Google Scholar 

  • Nickel, Herman: 1980, ‘The Corporate Haters’, Fortune 101 (June 16), 126–136.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nielsen, Kai and Abelson, Raziel: 1967, ‘Ethics of History’, in Enclyclopedia of Philosophy, 81–117.

  • Novak, Michael: 1981, Toward a Theology of the Corporation (American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Washington, D.C.).

    Google Scholar 

  • 1982, ‘atCan a Christian Work for a Corporation?’, ‘The Theology of the Corporation’, in (eds.) O. Williams and John Houck, The Judeo-Christian Vision and the Modern Corporation (University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, IN), 170–204.

    Google Scholar 

  • Oldenquist, Andrew: 1966, ‘Rules and Consequences’, Mind 75 (April), 180–192.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ramsey, Ian T.: 1966, ‘Moral Judgments and God's Commands’, in Christian Ethics and Contemporary Philosophy (SCM Press, London), 152–172.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ramsey, Paul: 1950, Basic Christian Ethics (Charles Scribner's Sons, New York).

    Google Scholar 

  • Rawls, John: 1971, A Theory of Justice (Harvard University Press, Cambridge).

    Google Scholar 

  • Ross, W. David: 1930, The Right and the Good (Clarendon Press, Oxford).

    Google Scholar 

  • Schatz, Willie: 1983, ‘Can CRTs Kill?’, Datamation 29 (July), 56–57.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sidgwick, Henry: 1891, The Methods of Ethics (Macmillan and Co., London).

    Google Scholar 

  • Sidorsky, David: 1975, ‘The Antonomy of Moral Objectivity’, in (ed.) Marvin Fox, Modern Jewish Ethics (Ohio State University Press, Columbus, OH).

    Google Scholar 

  • Sparshott, F. E.: 1958, An Enquiry Into Goodness (University of Chicago Press, Chicago).

    Google Scholar 

  • Spurrier, William A.: 1962, Ethics and Business (Charles Scribner's Sons, New York).

    Google Scholar 

  • Stevens, Edward: 1979, Business Ethics (Paulist Press, New York).

    Google Scholar 

  • Toulmin, Stephen: 1950, An Examination of the Place of Reason in Ethics (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge).

    Google Scholar 

  • Towle, Joseph W., ed.: 1964, Ethics and Standards in American Business (Houghton Mifflin, Boston).

    Google Scholar 

  • Turnbull, Colin M.: 1961, The Forest People (Simon and Schuster, New York).

    Google Scholar 

  • 1972, The Mountain People (Simon and Schuster, New York).

    Google Scholar 

  • Velasquez, Manuel G.: 1982, Business Ethics: Concepts and Cases (Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ).

    Google Scholar 

  • Van Doren, William H.: 1852, Mercantile Morals; or, Thoughts for Young Men Entering Mercantile Life (Charles Scribner, New York).

    Google Scholar 

  • Wallace, G. and Walker, A. D. M.: 1970, The Definition of Morality (Methuen & Co., Ltd., London).

    Google Scholar 

  • Wellman, Carl: 1971, Challenge and Response: Justification in Ethics (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale).

    Google Scholar 

  • Williams, Oliver F. and Houck, John: 1978, Full Value: Cases in Christian Business Ethics (University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, IN).

    Google Scholar 

  • 1982, The Judeo-Christian Vision and the Modern Corporation (University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, IN).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Additional information

Lester F. Goodchild teaches business ethics, religious studies, and history in the School for New Learning at DePaul University. His business experience includes management and consulting in several regional and international corporations. He received his doctorate from the Department of Education at the University of Chicago in 1986. His dissertation described how strategic policy decisions created the missions of three Catholic universities in the midwestern United States from 1842 to 1980.

An earlier version of this paper was delivered at the Midwest American Academy of Religion Meeting at George Williams College, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin on April 8, 1983. I would like to thank William K. Frankena, Dennis McCann, Robert Cooke, Thomas McMahon, C. S. V., Patricia H. Werhane, and James A. O'Donohoe for their helpful comments in its revision.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Goodchild, L.F. Toward a foundational normative method in business ethics. Journal of Business Ethics 5, 485–499 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00380755

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00380755

Keywords

Navigation