Can more business ethics teaching halt corruption in companies?

Van Niekerk A.A. (2003)


This article deals with the question of whether an increased teaching of business ethics can/will have a positive effect on the fight against corruption in companies. It is written from a (South) African perspective. Statistics about the alarming state of corruption in South African businesses are provided in the beginning. A Hegelian approach to the problem, in terms of which theory can and does influence practice, is compared to a Marxist approach, in terms of which theory is only a reflection of practice. The author chooses a position that mediates between these two extremes. In the end, he develops a model that relies heavily on the idea of an ethics of responsibility that draws on Aristotle's idea of phronesis (practical wisdom based on deliberation). The practical implications of these ideas for the utilization of business ethics teaching in companies are consequently spelt out. While more teaching of this discipline cannot guarantee better morals in a company, it can better equip all involved to deal with the ever-increasing moral problems that business people have to deal with.

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