In Italian studies on management, the ethical and social nature of businesses has been emerging as one of the main aspects around which businesses strategies are planned. Pressures both external and internal to businesses, make the introduction of strong ethical values in management a necessary step rather than simply a business option. The result is a particular attention for all the conditions which assure a steady balance between, on one hand, the economic situation guaranteeing the existence of the business, and, on the other hand, its social function.The aim of the paper is to rebuild, on the basis of the analysis of Italian literature on business management, the main perspectives for setting the ethical and social nature within the strategic project of businesses. Such analysis highlights that, despite a necessarily utilitarian setting of issues regarding business ethics, the reading given to the ethical aspect of businesses’ choices has not to be interpreted in terms of simplistic instrumentality as to business economic goals, but it has to be found, instead, within business finalism through a more complex union between economic and ethical aspects.[...]
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