Journal: Business Ethics
Author: Bastiaan van der Linden, R. Edward Freeman
Publication Date/Info: Volume 27, Issue 3
Profit maximizers have reasons to agree with stakeholder theorists that managers may need to consider different values simultaneously in decision making. However, it remains unclear how maximizing a single value can be reconciled with simultaneously considering different values. A solution can neither be found in substantive normative philosophical theories, nor in postulating the maximization of profit. Managers make sense of the values in a situation by means of the many thick value concepts of ordinary language. Thick evaluation involves the simultaneous consideration of different values: making sense of a value always involves knowing how to engage with it given the other values in the situation. This also goes for profit: maximization is only one way of engaging with the value of profit, and grasping whether maximization is appropriate involves considering other values. We discuss some consequences of our approach for stakeholder theorists and profit maximizers.