Ambiguities of justice in a global marketplace: How are ethical and theological considerations relevant to policymakers?

Donald Gates, Peter Steane*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to address questions policymakers, working in a global marketplace, might ask about ethical and theological considerations of ambiguities or uncertainties of justice issues in the global markets in which they operate. Design/methodology/approach - The paper draws on earlier research and published works in examining four specific questions about ambiguities of justice, from ethical and theological perspectives, and their relevance for policymakers in the global marketplace. Findings - Justice, including social justice, is a significant value impacting on decision and policymakers in government and other types of organizations in a global marketplace. However, the value "justice" exhibits ambiguity or uncertainty. Even if a claim that economic policies developed through prudential judgement are not subject to the moral or ethical code is accepted, it does not absolve individual participants in the policymaking and administrative processes from ethical and moral responsibility if the outcomes of the policies are deemed to be selfish and unjust. Research limitations/implications - This paper is limited by the ability to examine all the literature in the field at a greater depth. However, this has been ameliorated by examining a sufficient sample of theological and social scientific literature and relating these to the writings of the theologian, Paul Tillich, on questions about the four ambiguities of justice. Practical implications - This paper provides a useful appraisal of the various social justice issues that might be encountered by managers working in a global marketplace. It provides some definitive alternatives from which policymakers may select a course of action for their organizations in individual and collective markets throughout the world. Originality/value - An identified need is fulfilled in this paper in that it supports executives and managers who may have doubts about ethical and theological justice issues that arise through the policies adopted and processes employed in their operations in the global marketplace.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1146-1165
Number of pages20
JournalManagement Decision
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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