Everyday business ethics

The fourth and final of Trinity term's R:ETRO - Reputation: Ethics, Trust, and Relationships at Oxford - seminar series.

Nien-hê Hsieh, Professor of Business Administration and Joseph L Rice, III Faculty Fellow, Harvard Business School, was the guest speaker for the seminar hosted by Alan Morrison, Professor of Law and Finance, and Rita Mota, Intesa Sanpaolo Research Fellow, as part of the R:ETRO seminar series.

In this paper, we respond to three trends in contemporary normative business ethics.

The first is to work deductively to apply a single moral theory to individual cases, an approach that has been dubbed as 'high theory.'

The second is the relative emphasis on political philosophy and questions about corporations.

The third is the view that the norms of business are separate from, and, in many cases, more permissive than the norms of everyday life.

In response, we argue that a central task of business ethics is to help practitioners determine what is the right thing to do, and that the resources of everyday morality are capacious enough to provide a framework to help guide individual actors across a wide range of commercial activity. The paper is co-authored with Rosemarie Monge, Associate Professor Ethics and Business Law, OPUS College of Business.