Changing the corporate mind : a Buddhist perspective on business morality

  • M.A.S. Howes

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis is concerned with establishing where the Buddhist tradition, founded in India some 2500 years ago, can make a contribution to the new and growing discipline of business ethics. Part One: From the growing body of business ethics literature it seems that business managers increasingly have a problem of learning how to respond to public and political pressure on business to behave more ethically while, at the same time, continuing to run their affairs profitably in an increasingly complex and uncertain business environment. Part One first looks at the evidence for this growing interest and at the nature of the `business ethics problem', and then reviews the contribution of Western theory to solving it. Part Two: In Part Two a possible solution which overcomes some of the limitations of Western theory is described. This is based on a Buddhist analysis of individual morality, and of the moral relationship between the individual and the group. From this a general theoretical framework is proposed. To show how it can be practically applied to the needs of business a description is then given of how the framework was used to design and test a pilot `moral audit' of Windhorse Trading, a Buddhist company based in Cambridge, England. From the results of this pilot study it is concluded that, given some additional research, it would be possible to take the theoretical framework further and use it as the basis for developing operational guidelines to help businesses to make detailed ethical decisions.
Date of Award1993
Original languageEnglish


  • Change
  • corporate mind
  • Buddhist perspective
  • business morality

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