Skip to main content Accessibility help

Guest Editors’ Introduction: Human Dignity and Business

  • Michael Pirson (a1), Kenneth Goodpaster (a2) and Claus Dierksmeier (a3)


After a brief historical introduction, three interpretations of dignity in relation to management theory and business ethics are elaborated: Dignity as a general category, Human Dignity as Inherent and Universal, and Human Dignity as Earned and Contingent. Next, two literature reviews are presented under the headings of “Dignity and Business Research” and “Dignity and Business Ethics Research.” The latter discussion identifies three subcategories of business ethics research involving human dignity: the role of dignity as a cornerstone for paradigmatic shifts, the role of dignity as the ‘ultima ratio’ for the protection of human rights, and the role of dignity in organizing business practices. The article concludes with summaries of the three articles chosen for this special section.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Guest Editors’ Introduction: Human Dignity and Business
      Available formats

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Guest Editors’ Introduction: Human Dignity and Business
      Available formats

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Guest Editors’ Introduction: Human Dignity and Business
      Available formats



Hide All
Aguinis, H., & Pierce, C. A. 2008. Enhancing the relevance of organizational behavior by embracing performance management research. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 29: 139145.
Anderson, N. 1998. The incubator: The people make the paradigm. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 19(4): 323328.
Arnold, D. G. 2013. Global justice and international business. Business Ethics Quarterly, 23(1): 125143.
Arnold, D. G., & Bowie, N. E. 2003. Sweatshops and respect for persons. Business Ethics Quarterly, 13(2): 221242.
Arnold, D. G., & Bowie, N. E. 2007. Respect for workers in global supply chains: Advancing the debate over sweatshops. Business Ethics Quarterly, 17(1): 135145.
Bolton, S. 2007. Dimensions of dignity at work. London: Routledge.
Bowie, N. E. 1998. A Kantian theory of capitalism. Business Ethics Quarterly, (Ruffin Series): 3760.
Cameron, K. S., Dutton, J. E., & Quinn, R. E. 2003. Positive organizational scholarship: Foundations of a new discipline. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.
Cassel, D. 2001. Human rights and business responsibilities in the global marketplace. Business Ethics Quarterly, 11(2): 261274.
Chichilnisky, G. 1996. An axiomatic approach to sustainable development. Social Choice and Welfare, 13(2): 231257.
Cicero, D. O., & Keyes, C. W. 1928. On duties. Vol. 1(9), 29: Loeb Classical Library. Volume XXI.
de Colle, S., Freeman, R. E., Parmar, B., & de Colle, L. 2016. Practicing human dignity: Ethical lessons from Commedia dell’Arte and Theater. Journal of Business Ethics: 112.
Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. 1995. Human autonomy: The basis for true self-esteem. In Kernis, M. H. (Ed.), Efficacy, agency, and self-esteem. Plenum series in social/clinical psychology: 3149. New York: Plenum Press.
Dierksmeier, C. 2015. Human dignity and the business of business. Human Systems Management, 34(1): 3342.
Dierksmeier, C. 2011. Reorienting management education: From homo oeconomicus to human dignity. In Humanistic Management Network (Ed.), Business schools under fire. New York: Palgrave McMillan.
Donaldson, T., & Walsh, J. P. 2015. Toward a theory of business. Research in Organizational Behavior, 29(35): 181207.
Forschner, M. 1981. Die stoische Ethik : über den Zusammenhang von Natur-, Sprach- und Moralphilosophie im altstoischen System. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta.
Forschner, M. 2011. Stoic humanism. In Dierksmeier, C., Amann, W., Von Kimakowitz, E., Spitzeck, H., & Pirson, M. (Eds.), Humanistic ethics in the age of globality: 4959. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Fromm, E. 2000. Art of loving. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group.
Fromm, E. 2001. The sane society. London: Routledge.
Ghoshal, S. 2005. Bad management theories are destroying good management practices. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 4(1): 7591.
Hamel, G. 2000. Reinvent your company. Fortune, 98118.
Harter, S. 1983. Developmental perspectives on the self-system. In Mussen, P. H. (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology: 275385. New York: Wiley.
Hartman, L. P., Shaw, B., & Stevenson, R. 2003. Exploring the ethics and economics of global labor standards: A challenge to integrated social contract theory. Business Ethics Quarterly, 13(2): 193220.
Haslam, N. 2006. Dehumanization: An integrative review. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 10(3): 252264.
Henrich, J., Boyd, R., Bowles, S., Camerer, C., Fehr, E., Gintis, H., & McElreath, R. 2001. In search of homo economicus: Behavioral experiments in 15 small-scale societies. American Economic Review, 91(2): 7378.
Hersey, P., & Blanchard, K. H. 1993. Management of organizational behavior: Utilizing human resources. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Herzberg, F. 1976. The managerial choice: to be efficient and to be human. Homewood: Dow Jones-Irwin.
Herzberg, F. 1993. The motivation to work. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
Hodson, R. 2001. Dignity at work. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Hollander, E. P. 1995. Ethical challenges in the leader-follower relationship. Business Ethics Quarterly, 5(1): 5565.
Hosmer, L. T. 1994. Why be moral? A different rationale for managers. Business Ethics Quarterly, 4(2): 191204.
Hurka, T. 2010. The best things in life: A guide to what really matters. New York:Oxford University Press.
Huselid, M. A., Jackson, S. E., & Schuler, R. S. 1997. Technical and strategic human resources management effectiveness as determinants of firm performance. Academy of Management Journal, 40(1): 171188.
Jensen, M. C., & Meckling, W. H. 1994. The nature of man. The Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Summer: 419.
Kant, I. 1785. Groundwork of the metaphysic of morals . Koenigsberg.
Kateb, G. 2011. Human dignity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Kennedy, J.A., Kim, T. W., & Strudler, A. 2016. Hierarchies and dignity: A Confucian communitarian approach. Business Ethics Quarterly, 26(4): 479502.
Khurana, A. 2009. Scientific management: A management idea to reach a mass audience. New Delhi: Global India Publications Pvt Ltd.
Kobrin, S. J. 2009. Private political authority and public responsibility: Transnational politics, transnational firms, and human rights. Business Ethics Quarterly, 19(3): 349374.
Kostera, M., & Pirson, M. (Eds.). 2016. Dignity and organization (Humanism in Business Series). New York/ London: Palgrave McMillan.
Küng, H. 1997. A global ethic in an age of globalization. Business Ethics Quarterly, 7(3): 1732.
Logsdon, J. M., & Wood, D. J. 2002. Business citizenship: From domestic to global level of analysis. Business Ethics Quarterly, 12(2): 155187.
Lucas, K., Kang, D., & Li, Z. 2013. Workplace dignity in a total institution: Examining the experiences of Foxconn’s migrant workforce. Journal of Business Ethics, 114(1): 91106.
Luthans, F. 2002. The need for and meaning of positive organizational behavior. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 23: 695706.
Margolis, J. D. 1998. Psychological pragmatism and the imperative of aims: A new approach for business ethics. Business Ethics Quarterly, 8(3): 409430.
Margolis, J. D. 2001. Responsibility in organizational context. Business Ethics Quarterly, 11(3): 431454.
Marks, S. R. 1974. Durkheim’s theory of anomie. American Journal of Sociology, 80(2): 329363.
Marx, K. 1906. Capital. Engels, F. (Ed.). New York: The Modern Library.
Maslow, A. H. 1954. Motivation and personality. New York: Harper & Brothers.
Mayo, E. 1933. The human problems of an industrial civilization. New York: Macmillan.
Mayo, E. 1946. The social problems of an industrial civilization. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.
McCall, J. J. 2001. Employee voice in corporate governance: A defense of strong participation rights. Business Ethics Quarterly, 11(1): 195213.
McCloskey, D. 2010. Bourgeois dignity: Why economics can’t explain the modern world. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
McCrudden, C. 2013a. In pursuit of human dignity: An introduction to current debates. In McCrudden, C. (Ed.), Understanding human dignity. Vol. 192. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
McCrudden, C. (Ed.). 2013b. Understanding humandDignity. Vol. 192. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
McDermott, J. J. 1977. The writings of William James. Chicago: Chicago University Press.
Mele, D. 2003. The challenge of humanistic management. Journal of Business Ethics, 44(1): 7788.
Mele, D. 2009. Current trends of humanism in business. In Spitzeck, H., Pirson, M., Amann, W., Khan, S., & von Kimakowitz, E. (Eds.), Humanism in business: Perspectives on the development of a responsible business society: 170184. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Meyer, M. J., & Parent, W. A. 1992. The constitution of rights: Human dignity and American values. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Mintzberg, H., Simons, R., & Basu, K. 2002. Beyond selfishness. Sloan Management Review, 44(1): 6774.
Moore, G. 2005. Corporate character: Modern virtue ethics and the virtuous corporation. Business Ethics Quarterly, 15(4): 659685.
Nida-Ruemelin, J. 2009. Philosophical grounds of humanism in economics. In Spitzeck, H., Pirson, M., Amann, W., Khan, S., & von Kimakowitz, E. (Eds.), Humanism in business: Perspectives on the development of a responsible business society: 1525. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Nussbaum, M. 1998a. Political animals: Luck, love and dignity. Metaphilosophy, 29(4): 273287.
Nussbaum, M. 2003. Capabilities as fundamental entitlements: Sen and social justice. Feminist Economics, 9(2–3): 3359.
Nussbaum, M. 1998b. Plato’s Republic: The good society and the deformation of desire, A Bradley lecture series publication. Washington, DC: Library of Congress.
Nussbaum, M. C. 2007. Constitutions and capabilities: Perception against lofty formalism. Harvard Law Review, 121(4).
Phillips, R. A., & Margolis, J. D. 1999. Toward an ethics of organizations. Business Ethics Quarterly, 9(4): 619638.
Pirson, M. 2016. Humanistic management: Protecting dignity and promoting well being. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Pirson, M. A., & Dierksmeier, C. 2014. Reconnecting management theory and social welfare: A humanistic perspective. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2014(1): 12245.
Pirson, M., Dierksmeier, C., & Goodpaster, K. E. 2015. Human dignity and business. Business Ethics Quarterly, 24(3): 501503.
Rogers, C. 1995. On becoming a person: A therapist’s view of psychotherapy. New York: Mariner Books.
Rosen, C. 2012. Dignity: Its history and meaning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Rosenthal, C. 2014. From slavery to scientific management. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Schilling, M. A. 2000. Decades ahead of her time: Advancing stakeholder theory through the ideas of Mary Parker Follett. Journal of Management History, 6(5): 224242.
Schudt, K. 2000. Taming the corporate monster: An Aristotelian approach to corporate virtue. Business Ethics Quarterly, 10(3): 711723.
Seligman, M., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. 2000. Positive psychology: An introduction. American Psychologist, 55(1): 514.
Sen, A. 1999. Development as freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Sen, A. 2001. Development as freedom. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.
Sen, A. 2002. Rationality and freedom. Cambridge, MA/ London: Harvard University Press.
Sison, A., Ferrero, I., & Guitian, G. 2016. Human dignity and the dignity of work: Insights from Catholic social teaching. Business Ethics Quarterly, 26(4): 503528.
Solow, R. 1985. Economic history and economics. American Economic Review, 75(2): 328331.
Stephens, J. P., & Kanov, J.. 2016. Stories as artworks: Giving form to felt dignity in connections at work. Journal of Business Ethics .
Taylor, F. W. 1914. The principles of scientific management. New York: Harper.
Waldron, J. 2013. Citizenship and dignity. In McCrudden, C. (Ed.), Understanding human dignity. New York: Oxford University Press.
Waldron, J., & Dan-Cohen, M. 2012. Dignity, rank, and rights. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Walsh, J. P., Weber, K., & Margolis, J. D. 2003. Social issues and management: Our lost cause found. Journal of Management, 29(6): 859881.
Weber, M., & Andreski, S. 1983. Max Weber on capitalism, bureaucracy, and religion : A selection of texts. London/Boston: Allen & Unwin.
Westermann-Behaylo, M., van Buren, H., & Berman, S. L. 2016. Stakeholder capability enhancement as a path to promote human dignity and cooperative advantage. Business Ethics Quarterly, 26(4): 529555.
Wettstein, F. 2012. CSR and the debate on business and human rights: Bridging the great divide. Business Ethics Quarterly, 22(4): 737770.
Wexley, K.N., & Latham, G. P. 2001. Developing And training human resources in organizations (3 rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed