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Rethinking Business Management

Princeton, New Jersey | May 17-19, 2007

Effective business management is grounded in good business science and robust ethical and anthropological conceptions of human flourishing

A business is, above all, a social institution and a community of people who work and serve society through the production and distribution of goods and services, thereby creating jobs and wealth and contributing to human progress. Businesses contribute to the common good when they carry out their mission in a sustainable and conscientious relationship with those who are touched by the activity: shareholders, employees, clients, consumers, local communities, etc.

The thesis that was presented for discussion at the conference maintained that effective business management is grounded in good business science and robust ethical and anthropological conceptions of human flourishing. Because ethics are affirmative and not only prohibitive, it is not enough to consider ethics only in connection to fraud, misconduct, or other pitfalls. Because there is only one human ethic that can be applied to different areas of human existence, a general approach to ethics should be applied to business, rather than dividing ethics into subdivisions like “business ethics” or “family ethics.”

The conference papers were originally published with a preface by Carlos Cavallé in Rethinking Business Management: Examining the Foundations of Business Education, and republished with an introduction by John Haldane as Profit, Prudence and Virtue:  Essays in Ethics, Business and Management.

Principal Inquiries

  • Are values being taught in business schools?  Is there an objective moral commitment in business decision-making?
  • Is capitalism compatible with a compassionate society?
  • Is the social responsibility of business limited to the pursuit of shareholder interests (or profits), or should businesses have enough information to pursue the interests of other stakeholders or the common good?

Speakers

Anthony Daniels - Writer, Physician and Psychiatrist
Management and the Corporate State: Private Enterprise without Enterprise and the Public Service without Service?
 
Edwin Hartman - Stern School of New York University
Flourishing in the Organization: Why Do It; How to do It; How to Teach It
 
R. Edward Freeman - University of Virginia Darden School of Business

Wilfred M. McClay - University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Invisible Hand to Glad hand: Workplace Community and the Problem of False Personalization

Ian Mitroff - University of Southern California Business School
The Moral Contemptibility of Modern Management

David Newkirk - University of Virginia Darden School of Business
Management as a Human Activity Implications for Education

David Novak - University of Toronto
Natural Law, Human Dignity, and the Protection of Human Property

James O'Toole - University of Southern California
Aristotelian Virtue and The MBA: The Odd Couple

Roger Scruton - Princeton University
Profit as By-product, Versus Profit as Goal

Robin Fretwell Wilson - University of Maryland School of Law
Keeping Women in Business: Examining the Business School Education and Workplace Practices

Discussants

Antonio Argandoña - IESE Business School
Wesley Cragg  - Schulich School of Business, York University
Michael Crofton - Philadelphia Trust Company
Aine Donovan -  Tuck School of Business
Samuel Gregg - The Acton Institute
Harold James - Princeton University
Daryl Koehn - University of St. Thomas - Houston
Michael C. Maibach - European-American Business Council
John D. Mueller - Ethics and Public Policy Center
Douglas Puffert - University of Leeds Business School

Moderator: James R. Stoner, Jr. - Louisiana State University

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