The Ethics of Cooperation in Business

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As cooperative ventures and strategic alliances have increased in numbers, there is need for an analysis which does not proceed from presumption that singular-person action is the only form of action. When doing things with others, certain wrongs become possible that solo activity does not recognize. Moreover, such an alternative might help identify explanations and ways firms might better manage cooperative ventures. Philosophers in the field of business ethics can contribute to this discussion by bringing insight to a concept that is now at the focus of the business and academic community. This paper aims to clarify the concept of cooperation and more specifically the notions of cooperative action. At least some obligations seem to arise out of the very fact that we are in some activity together. The questions posed in connection with it are such as, “What exactly do we mean by cooperation? What are the key characteristics of cooperation? Is it possible to delineate a generic typology of various kinds of cooperation?” Initially the paper fleshes out the formal features of the concept. Next, the paper considers the types of cooperation likely to exist in the business world, offering four schemes of cooperation that progress from the more limited to the more advanced forms of cooperation. Consequently, it discusses the idea of cooperation in business from an ethical perspective.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)166-175
Number of pages10
JournalOpen Journal of Philosophy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016


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