A Human Dignity Approach to Business Ethics for Executives

  • William J. Mea
  • Richard J. Wall


This chapter introduces an approach to business ethics for executives that centers on the concept of human dignity.The ideas discussed in this chapter are drawn largely from Catholic social doctrine as applied to the economic sphere.Catholic social doctrine, however, is not primarily the product of theological speculation.It instead finds a foundational source in philosophical ethics and the natural law, subjects that antedate Christianity by many centuries.As a result, people of other faith traditions or of no religion can profitably access both its wisdom and the many practical applications found therein.They are part of “real life” as actually experienced by business executives.Rightly ordered, ethical business leaders’ guiding decisions shape a positive corporate environment, one in which creativity is fostered and workers serve both the community and each other.Affirming each individual’s dignity in the business enterprise does not lead to lack of control or strategic focus.It contributes on the contrary to the success of a viable business model from which long-term profit can flow.(Foley, 2015).It also helps the enterprise play a role as a responsible contributor to the surrounding society.