A Nietzschean re-evaluation of values as a way of re-imagining business ethics

Payman Tajalli*, Steven Segal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Whereas a range of business and management scholars have argued that business is in an ethical crisis, Nietzsche makes it possible to see that it is ethics itself that is in crisis, and that only as the crisis in ethics is dealt with can ethics in specific areas such as business be addressed. Nihilism is the name that Nietzsche gives to the crisis in ethics. The failure to fully appreciate nihilism and its pervasiveness as the root cause of the problem, as evident in the perpetual quest to obliterate nihilism through the creation of ethical frameworks and foundations, has plunged business and ethics scholarship in the field, ever deeper in the quagmire of nihilism. In response to nihilism, Nietzsche offers a re-evaluation of all values. To re-evaluate all values means to accept nihilism and see it as a basis for questioning taken for granted assumptions that have supported the notion of ethics or values in order to re-imagine an ethics which is responsive to the crisis of nihilism. The paper thus proposes that rather than trying to invent new ethics or ethical foundations, or figuring out “how” to be ethical, we need to turn our attention on the “why to be” of ethics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-242
Number of pages9
JournalBusiness Ethics
Issue number2
Early online date15 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


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