Ethics Perspective on Entrepreneurship

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Based upon the writings of Arendt, Butler and Bakhtin we propose an ethics of entrepreneurship in which the concepts of precarity, action and answerability to the world are central. We argue that the governing condition of entrepreneurship is precarity, which is described as a situation of insecurity, uncertainty and exposure. This condition is more outspoken for entrepreneurs as they act situations where they—more than other people—have to establish or change relations and alliances in order to persist and establish a sustainable business. Entrepreneurs are the embodied characters of new beginners, which for Arendt were so important for transformation and change. But new beginnings are always fragile and rely on the support from others in order to persist. Hence entrepreneurial ethics cannot simply be a question of the entrepreneur’s relationship to herself but instead how she relates and acts together with others. This also means that entrepreneurial ethics also relies on the space for ethics that others create for entrepreneurs. This play between the entrepreneur and context is important but has largely been overlooked by prevalent approaches to ethics. The entrepreneurial ethics framework we propose is thus useful in two ways. First, we seek to provide some signposts within which we can locate the question of entrepreneurial ethics. Second, we construct an ethics of answerability to the world based on Arendt’s notion of action. Through this move we focus attention on the relations, alliances and networks that entrepreneurs must build up or enter into as the locus of ethics.
Translated title of the contributionEtik i iværksætteri : Handling og ansvarlighed i iværksætteres sårbare liv
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Entrepreneurship
EditorsRomeo V. Turcan, Norman M. Fraser
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication date24 Aug 2018
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-91611-8, 978-3-319-91610-1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2018
SeriesPalgrave Handbook of Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Entrepreneurship

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