The practical wisdom of the Catholic social teachings

Eric Cornuel, André Habisch, Pierre Kletz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: This paper aims to focus on business education, which should not exclude strains of religious ethical traditions, e.g. Catholic social thought, and the practical wisdom embodied in them. Design/methodology/approach: Recent traditions of social Catholicism starting from the Papal Social Message Rerum Novarum (1891) are summarized. Consequences for management development are drawn. Findings: The recent tradition of social Catholicism developed as a result of a broad cultural process of adaptation of Christians to the emerging social context of a modern society. New types of ethical orientation have been developed, sometimes in strong opposition to contemporary ideological concepts such as socialism, materialism, or elitist capitalism. Even in the globalized environment of the twenty-first century these orientations are of continuing relevance, e.g. in organizational behavior, in business and society relations, and in basic concepts of corporate responsibility. Practical implications: Religious ethical traditions embody elements of "practical wisdom" that are threatened by extinction in the global practice of management development. The current financial and economic crisis - also addressed in a recent document of Pope Benedict XVI - should also be perceived in that perspective. Originality/value: A business ethics evaluation of Social Catholicism and its practical wisdom is executed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)747-754
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Management Development
Issue number7
StatePublished - 11 Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Business studies
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Ethics
  • Financial management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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