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How Do Managers Think about Market Economies and Morality? Empirical Enquiries into Business-ethical Thinking Patterns

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abstract How do managers think about the relationship between the pursuit of economic success on the one hand and ethical demands on the other? This paper presents the main results of a qualitative-empirical study (Ulrich/Thielemann 1992). The range of thinking patterns displayed by Swiss managers in this field of tension is elucidated and typologized. The results are then compared with those yielded by other studies on managerial ethics. Although the comparisons reveal essential parallels, the findings of previous investigations are interpreted in a considerably different manner. In particular it is shown that, on the strength of a systematic conception of the fundamental problem of business ethics, the frequently heard assertion that the vast majority of managers are ethical opportunists must be revised. The internationally prevailing thinking pattern among managers does not prove to be ethical opportunism or even cynicism but economism, i.e. the ethical conviction that economically "appropriate" action in itself is ethically good as such.
   
type journal paper
   
keywords
   
language English
kind of paper journal article
date of appearance 1-11-1993
journal Journal of Business Ethics
publisher Reidel (Dordrecht)
ISSN 0167-4544
number of issue 12
page(s) 879-898
review double-blind review
   
citation Ulrich, P., & Thielemann, U. (1993). How Do Managers Think about Market Economies and Morality? Empirical Enquiries into Business-ethical Thinking Patterns. Journal of Business Ethics(12), 879-898.