The existence of a plurality of communities, a diversity of norms, and the ultimate contingency of all decisions in modern societies complicates the task of academics and practitioners who wish to be ethical. In this paper, we envisage and articulate a dialogical, communitarian approach to embedding business ethics that requires business ethicists to more reflexively engage with practitioners in working on and representing the normative criteria that people in organisations use to deal with moral dilemmas in business. We promote the idea that business ethicists should not only cross the divide between normative ethics and empirical research, but also take a step beyond the empirical to become more active change agents. As potential exemplars of this approach in practice, we explore how self-critique and cross-disciplinary collaboration in education and teaching might be used by academics to engage current and future business ethicists, as well as managers, in dialogic partnership. In an organisational context, we also propose a three-part approach to embedding reflexive ethics in practice, through dialogic research, debate, and re-presentation of ideas. We contend that our approach has more efficacy than the traditional grand theories of ethics or more focused theories of business ethics, such as Integrated Social Contract Theory; it has the potential to provide more grounded, and therefore more practical, advice to academics, current and future business ethicists, and business practitioners.
communitarian business ethics, dialogue, ethics education, integrated social contract theory, normative business ethics