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Companies as Independent Agents of Social Change: A Rawlsian Approach

Morais, Diego (2010) Companies as Independent Agents of Social Change: A Rawlsian Approach.

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Abstract:This work is dedicated to understand the possible uses of Rawls' theory to the field of Business Ethics. A literature review focussing on the main relevant concepts of the Rawlsian theory (the political liberalism, veil of ignorance, the nature of Human Beings, the principles of Justice and the reflective equilibrium) is presented. The parallelism between Rawls theory and the stakeholders perspective is the starting point for the development of an ethics tailored specifically for companies. Companies do not share purposes but their common ground is their nature. Therefore, we consider pointless to aim at an ethics that considers the purpose of companies. The only alternative is to consider the practical tip of companies. If companies’ actions are ethical, the company is ethical. We develop a model of decision-making process to guarantee ethical decision based on the three justification methods presented by Rawls' Theory (Reflective Equilibrium, veil of ignorance/principles of justice and political compliance). We defend that companies share three important features: They are independent from other agents (namely governments and individuals), they influence the world socially and they do not share a common purpose. Key words: Business Ethics, Political Liberalism, Political theory, Moral Philosophy, John Rawls. Differences in nature, Reflective Equilibrium,
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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