A Model of Business Ethics

Abstract

It appears that in the 30 years that business ethics has been a discipline in its own right a model of business ethics has not been proffered. No one appears to have tried to explain the phenomenon known as ‚business ethics’ and the ways that we as a society interact with the concept, therefore, the authors have addressed this gap in the literature by proposing a model of business ethics that the authors hope will stimulate debate. The business ethics model consists of three principal components (i.e. expectations, perceptions and evaluations) that are interconnected by five sub-components (i.e. society expects; organizational values, norms and beliefs; outcomes; society evaluates; and reconnection). The introduced model makes a contribution to the creation of a conceptual framework for business ethics. A few tentative conclusions may be drawn from the introduced model of business ethics. The model aspires to be highly dynamic. The ultimate outcome is dependent upon the evolution of time and contexts. It is also dependent upon and provides reference to the behaviours and perceptions of people. The model proposes business ethics to be a continuous and an iterative process. There is no actual end of the process, but a constant reconnection to the initiation of successive process iterations of the business ethics model. The principals and sub-components of the model construct the dynamics of this continuous process. They provide guidance on what and how to explore our common efforts to understand the phenomenon known as business ethics. The model provides opportunities for further research in the field of business ethics.

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Correspondence to Göran Svensson.

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Göran Svensson is a Professor at the Osla School of Management in Norway. He holds a Ph.D. at the School of Economics and Commerical Law, Göteborg University, Sweden. He is the editor of European Business Review (Emerald) and the regional editor for Europe of Management Decision (Emerald). He is also a member of numerous editorial boards of other academic journals. During the 1980s he was an entrepreneur in South America. He has published in areas such as Business Ethics, Business Logistics, Supply Chain Management, Services Marketing, Industrial Marketing, Leadership, Quality Management, Human Resource Management, Public Sector Management, Higher Education, History of Management/Marketing, Academic Publishing/Journals, Cause Related Marketing and General Management.

Greg Wood is an Associate Professor in the Bowater School of Management and Marketing at Deakin University, in Warrnambool, Australia. He holds a Ph.D. from Deakin University in the area of Management. His thesis was in the field of Business Ethics. His work experience has been in Business and in Education. In the 1980s, he worked for a large multinational energy and resources company in national and international roles. These roles included commercial marketing management, national marketing training and general management of an international green fields operation. His main focus for research is in the field of Business Ethics. He has published also in the area of Services Marketing, Leadership, Human Resource Management, Public Sector Management, Higher Education, Academic Publishing/Journals, Cause Related Marketing and General Management.

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Svensson, G., Wood, G. A Model of Business Ethics. J Bus Ethics 77, 303–322 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-007-9351-2

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Keywords

  • model of business ethics
  • conceptual framework