Repository | Book | Chapter


(2019) Systems thinking and moral imagination, Dordrecht, Springer.

Moral motivation across ethical theories

what can we learn for designing corporate ethics programs?

Patricia Werhane

pp. 85-103

In this article Werhane and Simone de Colle discuss the implications of focussing on the moral motivation accounts offered by main ethical theories for improving the design of corporate ethics programs. Virtue ethics, deontological ethics and utilitarianism offer different criteria of judgment to face moral dilemmas: Aristotle's virtues of character, Kant's categorical imperative, and Mill's greatest happiness principle each provide criteria to answer the question "What is the right thing to do?" The paper then deals with the problem of moral motivation, and points out the relation between moral motivation and the concept of rationality in the different approaches in addressing the question whether acting morally is seen as an expression of rational behavior. This analysis of moral motivation provides a useful framework to improve the understanding of the relationships between formal and informal elements of corporate ethics programs. The authors suggest that the concept of moral imagination can provide a unifying approach to enhance the effectiveness of corporate ethics programs, by providing an intangible asset that supports the implementation of their formal components into management decision making.Original publication: De Colle, Simone and Werhane, Patricia H. "Moral Motivation Across Ethical Theories: What Can We Learn for Designing Corporate Ethics Programs?" Journal of Business Ethics (2008) 81:751–764. ©2008 Reprinted with permission.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-89797-4_6

Full citation:

Werhane, P. (2019)., Moral motivation across ethical theories: what can we learn for designing corporate ethics programs?, in D. Bevan & R. W. Wolfe (eds.), Systems thinking and moral imagination, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 85-103.

This document is unfortunately not available for download at the moment.