Business Ethics in International Business Contexts: A Constructivist Approach with a Focus on Values

Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

This doctoral thesis aims to scrutinise and develop the understanding of (un)ethical practices of managers engaged in social interaction in business relationships and networks within the specific context of international business markets. The Industrial marketing and purchasing (IMP) approach (Håkansson & Snehota, 1989; 2006) is adopted to conceptually frame the study. First, this study shows how business ethics are understood and what ethical values can be involved in international business relationships and networks. Second, it explores how ethical values differ in international business-to-business (B2B) contexts. Third, it specifically explores trust in business relationships and networks as a significant value of business ethics. Finally, it provides insight into the dissemination of knowledge on business ethics and emphasises the role of higher education institutions and instructors in this process.
The study is based on four empirical research papers. Three of the papers represent different individual perspectives of managers and entrepreneurs in small companies on their business activities, ethics, and moral concerns. The empirical data are interpreted with the help of established theoretical frameworks in the international business marketing literature and expand this literature by shedding light on the role of business ethics in B2B relationships and networks. The fourth paper is dedicated to pedagogic issues and addresses the teaching of business ethics and sustainable development to future managers and entrepreneurs.
This thesis is grounded on the ontological premises of constructivism and an interpretivist approach to knowledge development. Conceptually and methodologically, the studies completing this doctoral project contribute to the business marketing literature by extending the understanding of IMP approaches regarding business ethics. Particularly, the project contributes to the conceptualisation of how business ethics are embedded in B2B relationships and networks. This study also contributes to the business ethics literature by addressing concepts of ethical relativism and trust in different B2B contexts. The study furthermore contributes to university pedagogics with implications for educators drawing on constructivist perspectives to develop teaching methods. In terms of managerial implications, this study helps to explore and evaluate business actors’ (un)ethical behaviours in relation to other actors involved in business and social interactions. Generally, the findings highlight that business ethics and ethical values have varying meanings and roles in international business relationships and networks.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Barner-Rasmussen, Wilhelm, Supervisor
  • Törnroos, Jan-Åke, Supervisor
Award date10 Dec 2021
Place of PublicationÅbo
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-952-12-4130-7
Electronic ISBNs978-952-12-4131-4
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2021
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Keywords

  • Business ethics
  • industrial marketing
  • sustainable development
  • B2B marketing
  • business marketing
  • constructivism

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