Spheres of influence : A Walzerian approach to business ethics
Michael Walzer is one of the most distinguished political philosophers and social critics of this century. His ideas have had great import and influence in political philosophy and political discussion, yet very few of his ideas have been incorporated explicitly into the business ethics literature. We argue that Walzer’s work provides an important conceptual canvas for business ethics scholars that has not been adequately explored. Scholars in business ethics often borrow from political theory and philosophy to generate new insights and develop new substantive contributions. Many valuable theoretical resources are already used extensively—particularly Aristotle, Kant, Marx and a variety of utilitarian philosophers. Walzer offers another set of resources to bring to the conversation of what business ethics is and how business ethicists add value. This paper provides an opportunity to delve further into Walzer’s writings, particularly themes that are tied to business ethics, and to illustrate how his ideas can be extended to reshape our understanding of the field and develop new perspectives on ethical issues in commerce.