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Progress in Business Ethics.docx (284.16 kB)

Issue-Driven Progress in Business Ethics: When the Responsibility to Protect Values Requires Companies to Introduce New Norms

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posted on 2021-07-21, 22:21 authored by Muel KapteinMuel Kaptein

This article is about when a company should introduce a new ethical norm. By using the Value–Belief–Norm theory, I argue that the more an ethical issue threatens an ethical value and the more a company has an ethical responsibility to protect such value against such threat, then the more desirable it is for a company to establish ethical norms to protect that particular value. The introduction of a new ethical norm then becomes more desirable when the threat from such an ethical issue increases and/or the ethical responsibility of the company increases. Distinguishing seven characteristics of an ethical issue and four conditions of a company’s ethical responsibility helps in identifying the situation in which a company should introduce a new ethical norm. The resulting framework, with corresponding guidelines, explains why and when progress in business ethics is needed.


Declaration of conflicts of interest

No conflict of interests

Corresponding author email

Lead author country

  • Netherlands

Lead author job role

  • Higher Education Researcher

Lead author institution

Erasmus University Rotterdam

Human Participants

  • No

Ethics statement

The article contains no empirical data.

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