Pledging integrity: Oaths as forms of business management

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Abstract

The global financial crisis has led to a surprising interest in professional oaths in business. Examples are the MBA Oath (Harvard Business School), the Economist’s Oath (George DeMartino) and the Dutch Banker’s Oath, which senior executives in the financial services industry in the Netherlands have been obliged to swear since 2010. This paper is among the first to consider oaths from the perspective of business ethics. A framework is presented for analysing oaths in terms of their form, their content and the specific contribution they make to business ethics management: oaths may foster professionalism, facilitate moral deliberation and enhance compliance. This framework is used to analyse and evaluate the MBA Oath, the Economist’s Oath and the Banker’s Oath as well as various other similar initiatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-42
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Volume136
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2016

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