Interdisciplinary convergences from diverse fields are discussed with the aim of building bridges between social neuroscience, social psychology, philosophy and ethics to deepen our understanding of empathy and its possible contributions in business ethics. First, we review and synthetize knowledge on emotional and cognitive empathy and on the role of empathy in ethical decision-making, with a focus on the insights offered by recent research on the neuroscience of morality. Second, we discuss the contributions of the neuroscience of empathy and ethical decision-making to business ethics, and propose five levels of significance: 1) empathy allows for a more informed decision-making in contexts of complexity; 2) empathy is a skill of ethical managers; 3) empathy is a prerequisite to moral engagement; 4) empathy is a rampart against a cold, impersonal, and dehumanized business; and 5) empathy is an essential aspect of efficient organizations. Implications for practice and education are also discussed.
Martineau JT, Racine E. Interdisciplinary perspectives on the role and significance of empathy and emotions in business ethics. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2016; 1, 16437