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The role of existentialism in ethical business decision‐making

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This paper presents an integrated model of ethical decision‐making in business that incorporates teleological, deontological and existential theory. Existentialism has been curiously overlooked by many scholars in the field despite the fact that it is so fundamentally a theory of choice. We argue that it is possible to seek good organisational ends (teleology), through the use of right means (deontology), and enable the decision‐maker to do so authentically (existentialism). More specifically, we provide a framework that will enable the decision‐maker to integrate the various ethical schools of thought available to them and to apply this framework in the ethical decision‐making process. The model presented makes explicit the existential position of choice and takes into account other contextual moderating factors. Negative Option Marketing is used as a running application to illustrate the role of existentialism in the decision‐making process.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Associate Professor of Marketing in the Faculty of Administration, University of Regina, Saskatchewan, 2: Associate Professor of Ethics in the Faculty of Physical Activity Studies, University of Regina, Saskatchewan

Publication date: July 1, 2000


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