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Business Ethics without Philosophers? Discussing Evidence for and Implications of the Shift from Applied Philosophers to Business Scholars in Business Ethics' Journal's Editorial Boards

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Journal Article
This article considers the relationship between business ethics and philosophy, specifically in relation to the field and persons working in it. The starting point is a grammatical one: business ethics by the rules of grammar belongs to ethics. In terms of academic disciplines, it belongs to applied ethics, which belongs to ethics, which belongs to practical philosophy, which belongs to philosophy. However, in the field of business ethics today one will seldom meet colleagues from philosophy; instead, they will come from business, applying business studies perspectives, approaches, and increasingly quantitative methods. This article provides empirical evidence that today the three top journals with “business ethics” in their titles (and “awarded” a high impact factor) are mostly run (in terms of their editorial boards) by business scholars with PhDs in business. The article compares the three journals today with their inaugural issues and finds that at their inception all three were run by a majority of philosophers. The article discusses six possible explanations for this shift and provides suggestions for how to bring business ethics back to philosophers (and vice versa).
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