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date: 20 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

What do corporate morals entail? Since Émile Durkheim’s assertion that in the business world, no professional morals prevail several scholars have tried to debunk his assertion by specifying such morals. This chapter reviews these efforts from the middle of the twentieth century with the consolidation of management as a profession to recent developments in the making of corporate cultures. The chapter shows that these scholarly efforts have led to a better understanding of certain aspects of corporate morals, but also notes that a defining feature of corporate morals seems to be their elusive quality. It argues that scholars’ difficulty in pinpointing the contents of corporate morals might tell us a lot about those morals themselves. More specifically, the author proposes that manager under-specification of morals suggests an underlying commitment to moral relativism. Thus the elusiveness of corporate morals might be an artefact of the morals themselves.

Keywords: corporate morality, corporate morals, moral relativism, corporate culture, management as a profession

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