• Bent Meier SørensenEmail author
  • Sverre Spoelstra
Reference work entry


In this chapter we explore the relationship between business ethics and faith. We show how business ethics is largely motivated by a now shattered faith in the capitalist entrepreneur. But this does not mean that business ethics is faithless. The shattered faith in the capitalist entrepreneur has made way for a number of newly created figures and concepts, including social entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility, and responsible leadership. The belief is that these figures and concepts are capable of correcting business’ dark sides, without disrupting the faith in business itself.


Business scandals Capitalism Continental philosophy Entrepreneurship Faith Giorgio Agamben Messianism Redemption Religion Responsible leadership Secularization Slavoj Žižek Social entrepreneurship Theology Walter Benjamin 


  1. 1.
    Agamben G (2011) The kingdom and the glory: for a theological genealogy of economy and government. Stanford University Press, StanfordGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Badiou A (2003) Saint Paul: the foundation of universalism. Stanford University Press, StanfordGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bass BM, Steidlmeier P (1999) Ethics, character, and authentic transformational leadership behavior. The Leadersh Q 10:181–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Benedictus, Habermas J (2006) Dialectics of secularization: on reason and religion. Ignatius Press, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Benjamin W (1999) Illuminations. Pimlico, LondonGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Benjamin W (1996) Capitalism as religion. In: Benjamin W, Bullock M, Jennings MW (eds) Selected writings, vol 1. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Buckingham M, Coffman C (1999) First, break all the rules: what the world’s greatest managers do differently. Simon and Schuster, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Carr P (2003) Revisiting the protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism: understanding the relationship between ethics and enterprise. J Bus Ethics 47(1):7–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Clarke J, Holt R (2010) Reflective judgement: understanding entrepreneurship as ethical practice., J Bus Ethics, 94:317–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Critchley S (2012) The faith of the faithless. Experiments in Political Theology. Verso, LondonGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Derrida J, Anidjar G (2002) Acts of religion. Routledge, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Girard R (2000) A theater of envy: William Shakespeare. Gracewing, LondonGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Murtola A-M (2008) Redeeming entrepreneurship. Scand J Manag 24(2):127–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Nietzsche F (2000) The antichrist. Prometheus Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Painter-Morland M, ten Bos R (2011) Business ethics and continental philosophy. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Parker M (2009) Angelic organization: hierarchy and the tyranny of heaven. Org Stud 30(11):1281–1299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Post JE (2002) Global corporate citizenship: principles to live and work by. Bus Ethics Q 2:143–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Schmitt C (1985) Political theology: four chapters on the concept of sovereignty. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Sloterdijk P (2009) God’s zeal: the battle of the three monotheisms. Polity, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Smith A (1937/1776) An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations. Random House, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Sørensen BM (2008) “Behold, I am making all things new”: the entrepreneur as savior in the age of creativity. Scand J Manag 24(2):85–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Sørensen BM, Spoelstra S, Höpfl H, Critchley S (eds) (2012) Theology and organization. Organization 19(3)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Teal EJ, Carroll AB (1999) Moral reasoning skills: are entrepreneurs different? J Bus Ethics 19:229–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Vattimo G (2002) After Christianity. Columbia University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Weber M (1985/1930) The Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism. Unwin Paperbacks, LondonGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Yunus M (2006) Nobel lecture. Oslo, 10 Dec 2006. Available at: Last accessed on 10 Feb 2012
  27. 27.
    Žižek S (2003) The puppet and the dwarf: the perverse core of Christianity. MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Management, Politics and PhilosophyCopenhagen Business SchoolFrederiksbergDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Business AdministrationLund UniversityLundSweden

Personalised recommendations