Leadership

Business Ethics From A Historical Perspective

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Executive Summary

This paper proposes three periodisations in the history of business ethics. Different styles and kinds of discourse were produced in each of the periods. The first includes the broader social critiques of the period of industrialisation. The Fordist era, on the other hand, produced the first attempts to describe the social responsibilities of business and standards of business conduct. The last, the post-Fordist period, saw the application of ethical theory to business matters. Business ethics seems to have no history. It is one of the stranger aspects of a discipline that routinely invokes the names of long-dead philosophers that its history seems murky, unresolved.

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