Sartrean existentialism and ethical decision-making in business

West, Andrew (2008) Sartrean existentialism and ethical decision-making in business. Journal of Business Ethics, 81(1), pp. 15-25.

View at publisher


A wide range of decision-making models have been offered to assist in making ethical decisions in the workplace. Those that are based on normative moral frameworks typically include elements of traditional moral philosophy such as consequentialist and/or deontological␣ethics. This paper suggests an alternative model drawing on Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialism. Accordingly, the model focuses on making decisions in full awareness of one’s freedom and responsibility. The steps of the model are intended to encourage reflection of one’s projects and one’s situation and the possibility of refusing the expectations of others. A case study involving affirmative action in South Africa is used to demonstrate the workings of the model and a number of strengths and weaknesses are identified. Despite several weaknesses that can be raised regarding existential ethics, the model’s success lies in the way that it reframes ethical dilemmas in terms of individual freedom and responsibility, and in its acceptance and analysis of subjective experiences and personal situations

Impact and interest:

6 citations in Scopus
Search Google Scholar™
5 citations in Web of Science®

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

ID Code: 84417
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: authenticity, decision-making model, ethical decision-making, existentialism, freedom, Jean-Paul Sartre, moral decision-making, responsibility
DOI: 10.1007/s10551-007-9477-2
ISSN: 0167-4544
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Accountancy
Deposited On: 24 May 2015 23:16
Last Modified: 27 May 2015 06:09

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page