Beyond the Economic Value Creation of Enterprises: A Conceptualization of Ethical Value Creation

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In the economic and business literature, the conceptualization of ‘value’, ‘value creation’, and ‘value- added’ always has had a strong connotation with ‘economic value’. This perspective was expanded with notions toward social and environmental value. We posit that the recent debates in the literature focusing on purpose-giving, grand challenges and global sustainability, and social justice through economic action can be facilitated by introducing the definition of ‘ethical value creation’ from a deontological perspective. Thus, we differentiate ethical value from environmental and social value and develop a literature-based definition. Ethical value can be seen as the maximization of all the other values, that replace the profit as the final business purpose. It is the result of business processes that aim at the greatest enhancement of individual and collective human rights, freedoms, equity, development, good citizenship. We conclude with a discussion of necessary future theoretical developments and initial implications for management practice.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2021
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event16th Vaasa Conference on International Business - University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland
Duration: 17 Aug 202118 Aug 2021
Conference number: 16


Conference16th Vaasa Conference on International Business
LocationUniversity of Vaasa
Internet address


  • Ethical value-added
  • Ethical value creation
  • Social impact
  • Business ethics
  • Management studies

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