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On the (Im)Possibility of Business Ethics

Critical Complexity, Deconstruction, and Implications for Understanding the Ethics of Business

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  • © 2013


  • Presents an in depth engagement with post structural thought – particularly that of Jacques Derrida
  • Systematically unpacks the rich interplay between complexity theory and deconstruction
  • Shows why a complex notion of ethics introduces new categories for thinking about business ethics
  • Demonstrates the implications that a complex ethics holds for our understanding of prominent business ethics

Part of the book series: Issues in Business Ethics (IBET, volume 37)

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About this book

Corporations, and the environments in which they operate, are complex, with changing multiple dimensions, and an inherent capacity to evolve qualitatively. A central premise of this study is that a postmodern reading of ethics represents an expression of, and an engagement with, the ethical complexities that define the business landscape. In particular, the deconstructive philosophy of Jacques Derrida offers a non-trivial reading of a complex notion of ethics, and thereby helps us to develop the skills necessary to critique and intervene in our practices, and to develop robust strategies for living in the absence of prescriptive ethical frameworks. Although a central premise of this study is that substantive ethical claims can only be generated within a given context, the study nevertheless presents readers with a meta-position that illustrates the type of considerations that should inform ethical reflection from a complexity perspective. In order to illustrate the value that this meta-position holds for business ethics, these considerations are explored in terms of the implications that they hold for our understanding of corporate social responsibility, for the practice of responsible management and leadership practices, and for teaching business ethics.

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Table of contents (7 chapters)

  1. Theoretical Foundation

  2. Theoretical foundation

  3. Practical Application

Authors and Affiliations

  • , Department of Philosophy, Stellenbosch University, Matieland, South Africa

    Minka Woermann

Bibliographic Information

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