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Economics, Management Ethics, and Business History: Adam Smith – Then and Now
journal contributionposted on 02.08.2017, 11:06 by Sigmund Wagner-Tsukamoto
The paper interrelates economics, business history research and management ethics. It analyses Smith as a pioneering economic contributor to debate on management ethics. It does so in three regards: regarding unintentional ethical agency of managers that yields public good outcomes for society; regarding passive intentional ethical agency that reflects law-following of managers; and regarding active ethical agency of managers inside capital exchange processes. Smith seemed to have relegated the latter from his program. In this respect, I update Smith’s historic contribution to debate on management ethics, with a view to contemporary developments on many markets where we can witness management ethics inside the market process. I connect to economic theory, i.e. Smith’s Wealth of Nations but not behavioural ethical theory, which may see itself put in opposition to Smith from the outset. I view economic reconstruction and economic updates of Smith’s management ethics as essential to set out viable routes for contemporary management ethics programs. On this basis, the paper suggests a solution to Goodpaster's stakeholder paradox.