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Publication - Professor Martin Parker

    Business ethics and social theory

    Postmodernizing the ethical


    Parker, M, 1998, ‘Business ethics and social theory: Postmodernizing the ethical’. British Journal of Management, vol 9.


    This exploratory paper is concerned with the conditions of possibility of business ethics from the viewpoint of social theory. The paper begins with a description of the tensions between moral philosophy and pragmatic managerialism that largely constitute the field of business ethics. It then explores some of the elements of this field - focusing particularly on the identity of ethics, the difference between ethics and morals and the tension between stories of nostalgia and modernization. The following section frames the problem of ethics in terms of modern and postmodern epistemologies which then leads into a (postmodern) attempt to undermine the notions of 'decision' and 'judgement' that must be central to any (modern) conception of ethics. The paper concludes with some speculations on the relevance and irrelevance of contributions like this to thinking, teaching and writing business ethics.

    Full details in the University publications repository