Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 142, Issue 1, pp 83–91

Knowledge Stewardship as an Ethos-Driven Approach to Business Ethics


DOI: 10.1007/s10551-015-2710-5

Cite this article as:
Belle, S.M. J Bus Ethics (2017) 142: 83. doi:10.1007/s10551-015-2710-5


As a field spanning interests among researchers and business professionals, business ethics aims to provide guidance on what can be considered morally right, socially acceptable and legally transparent dealings in the human activity of providing goods or services for trade. Yet, cohesive theory of the ethics of business is lacking, and current ethical practices often fall victim to fluctuating business conditions and circumstances. Thus, stewardship theory is proposed as a more enduring and empowering orientation to more mindful business ethics that is borne out of organizational character, and knowledge stewardship is introduced as a set of practices that can support improved ethical behavior in organizations from an ethos-driven perspective. A definition of knowledge stewardship is provided in this article, and its associated outcomes of authenticity, authority and advocacy are highlighted. Practical recommendations are put forward to assist organizations in their development of stronger stewardship behavior, and exploratory research questions that heighten attentiveness to knowledge stewardship are presented.


Business ethics Learning organizations Knowledge stewardship Organizational ethos 



Civil society organization


Corporate and social responsibility


Knowledge management


Knowledge stewardship


Non-governmental organization


Organizational learning

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The George Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA

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