Dignity is an important concept in ethics. Human rights organizations justify rights by appealing to human dignity. Prominent politicians have cited the need to protect human dignity and urged the founding of international institutions. The concept of human dignity is often used to evaluate and critique the ethics of select practices. In addition, the idea of dignity is used as a universal principle to ground universalist business ethics. This paper argues that there are substantial differences between the ways in which the West and China construe human dignity. Having documented these major differences, we consider two cases to show how the differences might "cash out" in actual business practice. Instead of relying upon a nonexistent universal concept of human dignity, we suggest that it is respectful and sound to seek to identify the many goods (teamwork, initiative, autonomy, respect for elders) that differing parties see at play in the case at hand and then to try to come up with ways to realize as many of these goods as possible.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Business and International Management
- Industrial relations
- Sociology and Political Science
- Strategy and Management