Toward Humanistic Business Ethics

Simone de Colle, R. Edward Freeman, Andrew C. Wicks

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We theorize that, in the current development of business ethics, there is a fruitful evolution that dissolves the dichotomy between the normative and behavioral research approaches developed, respectively, by philosophers and social scientists; this approach avoids many of the limitations originated by such distinction by reconnecting their two separate narratives. We call this emerging research model Humanistic Business Ethics (HBE) as it emphasizes the centrality of the human dimension of business and the importance of adopting a richer concept of humanity in business ethics research. We argue that this specific research model in business ethics emerges when scholars combine a pragmatist philosophical approach with some key ideas coming from stakeholder theory, which we summarize and connect. By leveraging collaboration across ethics, economics, psychology, and entrepreneurship, HBE can help business and society scholars undertake fruitful inquiries into the way business works (and should work) at its best.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)542-571
    Number of pages30
    JournalBusiness and Society
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Mar 2024


    • business ethics
    • fact/value dichotomy
    • humanistic business ethics
    • pragmatism
    • stakeholder theory

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


    Dive into the research topics of 'Toward Humanistic Business Ethics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this