A Theory of Business Eunomics: The Means–Ends Relation in Business Ethics

  • Åsbjørn MelkevikEmail author
Original Paper


This article indicates a new direction for business ethics, which Lon Fuller pioneered with his work on social architecture. “Eunomics”, as Fuller called it, is “the theory or study of good order and workable arrangements”. How should we appraise the effects of the various ways of organizing and running a corporation, for example, with regard to the different structures and basic plans it can espouse? We should reject the “doctrine of the infinite pliability of social arrangements”, as some forms of organization are unsound. They cannot be implemented in a proper fashion given the boundaries and the rules of the market established. A theory of business eunomics explains why each kind of legal process, including managerial direction, is better suited for the pursuit of a limited number of ends, and thus why we should not force a single institution to solve all ethical problems.


Business ethics Eunomics Industrial organization Lon Fuller Market capitalism Value 



I presented this chapter at the Zicklin Center Workshop on Normative Business Ethics, Department of Legal Studies and Business Ethics, Wharton School, 1 December 2017, University of Pennsylvania. I am grateful to faculty members Thomas Donaldson, Robert Hughes, Brian Berkey, and Josephine Nelson, as well as to Eric Palmer and Kenneth Silver who both presented a paper at the same session. I also wish to thank for their comments Malcolm Salter from the Harvard Business School and Pedro Francés-Gómez from the Universidad de Granada.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Edmond J. Safra Center for EthicsHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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