The University of
Virginia Darden School of Business announced the release of a new book
published by Edward Elgar Publishing Limited. Kantian
Business Ethics: Critical Perspectives was co-edited by Jared
Harris, Darden professor
and senior fellow in the Olsson
Center for Applied Ethics at
should arise from a consideration of principles and duties, according to
Kantian ethics. Kantian Business Ethics:
Critical Perspectives explores this
philosophy as it pertains to ethics in business and management. The book features original essays by a number of distinguished scholars,
using the Kantian-based ethics of influential professor Norman E. Bowie.
As one of the foundational figures in
business ethics, Norman E. Bowie, Olsson Center senior fellow and University
of Minnesota Carlson School of Business professor emeritus, has argued that a Kantian
moral philosophy is good for employees and for business. Eighteenth century German
philosopher Immanuel Kant believed
that moral requirements are based on a standard of reasoned rationality, and
Bowie built upon these ideas to develop a Kantian approach to business ethics.
Contributors to Kantian Business Ethics: Critical Perspectives augment Bowie’s extensive
body of writing by extending or challenging his core ideas.
“My co-editor and I gathered a number of respected experts in
the field to create a dialogue about the work of Norman Bowie, one of the top
scholars in business ethics and management. It was gratifying to assemble many
of my academic heroes for this collection. The dialogue between the scholars is
what makes the book special,” Harris said. “And as a former student of Norm’s,
it was a privilege to help spearhead the project in his honor.”
Darden Professor R.
Edward Freeman contributed an essay in which he
argues that Bowie’s Kantian capitalism concept is pragmatic. “Norm Bowie is one
of the intellectual leaders in business ethics. He has demonstrated over many
years how to combine scholarship in philosophy and managerial theory.”
Bowie’s body of work argues
that a myriad of principles beyond economic values — such as human dignity and
rational consistency — should inform business practice and influence managerial
decision-making. He also shows that business practices that include these
additional values are consistent with sound management theory and that such
businesses often are financially successful.
In addition to Freeman, the book features essays by other scholars
affiliated with the Olsson Center for Applied Ethics. Olsson Center Senior Fellow
professor emeritus at the American College, contributes an essay entitled
“Revisiting the Egoism Question in Business.” Patricia
H. Werhane, an Olsson Center senior fellow and Darden professor emeritus,
wrote the chapter “Norman Bowie’s Kingdom of Worldly Satisficers,” which examines
the intended and unintended effects of Bowie’s arguments. A satisficer chooses
options that are acceptable rather than those that are optimal. The authors touch on a number of contemporary themes in business,
including topics such as foundations of capitalism, virtue ethics, pragmatism
in business ethics, managerial ethics, ethics of high-leverage finance
capitalism, corporate social responsibility and sustainability.
Regarding Darden’s role in the world of business ethics,
Harris added, “There is no better place than Darden to put together an academic
project like this one. Business ethics is a key priority here, and there is a
lot of institutional support for it.”
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About the Darden School of Business
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business is one of the
world's leading business schools, offering MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Education
programs. The unique Darden experience combines the case study method, the
highest-ranked faculty whose research advances global managerial practice and
business education, and a tight-knit learning environment to develop principled
and complete leaders who are ready to make an impact.