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Rethinking the Purpose of Business

Rethinking the Purpose of Business

Interdisciplinary Essays from the Catholic Social Tradition

Edited by S. A. Cortright and Michael J. Naughton

Rethinking the Purpose of Business challenges reigning shareholder and stakeholder management theories using philosophical and theological dimensions of the Catholic social tradition. In this useful book, the contributors, including management theorists, moral theologians, economists, ethicists, and attorneys, debate complicated issues such as the ethics of profit seeking, equity and efficiency in the firm, the shareholder value principle, social ethics of corporate management, the principle of subsidiarity, and modern contract theory.

While the contributors to this thought-provoking volume share a respect for the power of markets, they also assign value to community, common goods, and personal virtue. Essays combine organizational and management theory with philosophical and theological accounts of human purpose. A central argument of this collection is that the tradition of Catholic social thought provides principles that enable fruitful conversations across disciplines regarding the purpose of business and economic activity.

Contributors Michael Naughton, Jean-Yves Calvez, Charles Clark, S. A. Cortright, and Ernest Pierucci discuss the anthropological mplications of the current shareholder and stakeholder theories. Robert Kennedy, James Gordley, and Dennis McCann assess the communitarian and personal principles of traditional Catholic social teaching as they relate to organizational and managerial theories. Peter Koslowski, Domènec Melé, Lee Tavis, and Timothy Fort consider how Catholic social principles ought to reshape our understanding of the firm. Jeff Gates, James Murphy, and David Pyke consider how concrete practices in ownership and job design should be affected.

ISBN: 978-0-268-04008-6
360 pages
Publication Year: 2002

S. A. Cortright is associate professor of philosophy at Saint Mary’s College of California.

Michael J. Naughton is director of the John A. Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought and Alan W. Moss Endowed Chair in Catholic Social Thought at St. Thomas University, St. Paul, Minnesota.

“A selection of impressive and insightful essays by erudite authors concerning business management theories that remain in harmony with social traditions of Catholicism . . . . Rethinking the Purpose of Business is thoughtful and thought-provoking reading which is especially commended to anyone seeking to balance the requirements of faith with the demands of commerce.” — The Midwest Book Review

“At this time in America’s history, when business scandals of unimaginable proportions make regular headlines, a volume like this can serve as a starting point for changing the way business is taught in our colleges and universities.” — Research News and Opportunities in Science and Theology

“[A]n earnest collection of essays on what Catholic social teaching has to say about business and corporations and our role in them.” — Commonweal

“The main benefit of this book is that it shows how widespread the interest is among scholars and businesspeople to use the categories of Catholic social thought to understand business activity.” — Markets & Morality

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Maryknoll Catholic Mission in Peru, 1943–1989

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Susan Fitzpatrick-Behrens

Rethinking the Purpose of Business

Interdisciplinary Essays from the Catholic Social Tradition


Edited by S. A. Cortright and Michael J. Naughton

 Rethinking the Purpose of Business: Interdisciplinary Essays from the Catholic Social Tradition
Cloth Edition
Paper Edition

Rethinking the Purpose of Business challenges reigning shareholder and stakeholder management theories using philosophical and theological dimensions of the Catholic social tradition. In this useful book, the contributors, including management theorists, moral theologians, economists, ethicists, and attorneys, debate complicated issues such as the ethics of profit seeking, equity and efficiency in the firm, the shareholder value principle, social ethics of corporate management, the principle of subsidiarity, and modern contract theory.

While the contributors to this thought-provoking volume share a respect for the power of markets, they also assign value to community, common goods, and personal virtue. Essays combine organizational and management theory with philosophical and theological accounts of human purpose. A central argument of this collection is that the tradition of Catholic social thought provides principles that enable fruitful conversations across disciplines regarding the purpose of business and economic activity.

Contributors Michael Naughton, Jean-Yves Calvez, Charles Clark, S. A. Cortright, and Ernest Pierucci discuss the anthropological mplications of the current shareholder and stakeholder theories. Robert Kennedy, James Gordley, and Dennis McCann assess the communitarian and personal principles of traditional Catholic social teaching as they relate to organizational and managerial theories. Peter Koslowski, Domènec Melé, Lee Tavis, and Timothy Fort consider how Catholic social principles ought to reshape our understanding of the firm. Jeff Gates, James Murphy, and David Pyke consider how concrete practices in ownership and job design should be affected.

ISBN: 978-0-268-04008-6

360 pages

“A selection of impressive and insightful essays by erudite authors concerning business management theories that remain in harmony with social traditions of Catholicism . . . . Rethinking the Purpose of Business is thoughtful and thought-provoking reading which is especially commended to anyone seeking to balance the requirements of faith with the demands of commerce.” — The Midwest Book Review

“At this time in America’s history, when business scandals of unimaginable proportions make regular headlines, a volume like this can serve as a starting point for changing the way business is taught in our colleges and universities.” — Research News and Opportunities in Science and Theology

“[A]n earnest collection of essays on what Catholic social teaching has to say about business and corporations and our role in them.” — Commonweal

“The main benefit of this book is that it shows how widespread the interest is among scholars and businesspeople to use the categories of Catholic social thought to understand business activity.” — Markets & Morality

Catholic Social Tradition