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Ethics as a catalyst for change in business education?

Matthias P Huehn (Management Philosophy at the Univeristy of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 7 March 2016




The purpose of this paper is to hypothesise that business theory and education suffer from having been systematically de-philosophised over the last 200 years. Viewed through this lens the economistic narrative can be understood and new and integrated solutions to theoretical and pedagogical problems can be debated.


This paper is a theoretical exploration based on a literature review and philosophical analysis.


Going back to a social science philosophy would fundamentally affect how management is conceptualised, done and taught. The paper focuses on outlining the impact a re-philosophisation would have on management education.

Practical implications

If one agrees that philosophy plays a too small role in management, it would change how scholarship is currently defined and how management education functions. Business schools would have to fundamentally change in every respect.


Current criticism of the management mainstream focuses on either the political/ethical or the epistemic level. The paper argues that the epistemic and the ethical are connected and by making an integrated argument the debate can be re-energised and solution strategies become obvious. I am not aware of any other contribution making this argument. Ghoshal (unwittingly) used the same reasoning but without using the clear frame of reference (philosophy) that this paper proposes.



Huehn, M.P. (2016), "Ethics as a catalyst for change in business education?", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 35 No. 2, pp. 170-189.



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