Research Social and Behavioral Sciences

EBEN Annual Conference 2018: Re-inventing Capitalism

The 2018 Annual Conference will take place June 27-29 in Tilburg University, the Netherlands, with the theme "Reinventing Capitalism – Business Ethics and its contribution to the “Doux Commmerce”". EBEN has a long tradition of organizing their Annual Conferences where both academics and practitioners network, share their experiences and learn from each other.

The conference will be hosted by the Tilburg Sustainability Center (TSC) in collaboration with the Department of Organization Studies and the Dutch Business Ethics Network (Netwerk Bedrijfsethiek Nederland, NBN), and is sponsored by The Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc.

On June 26, young scholars (PhD students) are invited to participate in the paper development workshop. Website PhD workshop

Key Dates

  • 01.04.2018: Submission of abstract/proposed workshop topic
  • 15.04.2018: Notification of acceptance
  • 31.05 2018: Full paper submission
  • 26.06.2018: Paper development workshop for young scholars
  • 27.-29.06 2018: EBEN Annual Conference

Call for papers

We seek contributions that discuss aspects of business ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility from different theoretical perspectives, research approaches and in different empirical contexts. Besides, we invite practitioners to present current cases of challenges as well as best practices of business life.

Potential contributions may include, but are not limited to, the following research areas:

  1. The thesis of the "doux commerce" (see call for papers, special issue in BEER);
  2. Capitalism, Virtues and Well-being (see Templeton Track);
  3. Catholic Social Theory and Capitalism (see special Track);
  4. Tilburg Ethics Case Studies Workshop;
  5. New strategies for empirical research on CSR;
  6. Risk and uncertainty in CSR;
  7. The relationship between formal and informal aspects of CSR;
  8. Tensions, conflicts and paradoxes in CSR;
  9. Ethics and Compliance;
  10. Challenges for CSR dealing with wicked problems;
  11. Practitioner's contribution (special issue in Business and Professional Ethics Journal).

Theme main conference

Reinventing Capitalism – Business Ethics and its contribution to the “Doux Commmerce”

Business Ethics often focuses on possibilities of businesses to contribute to societal welfare. A wealth of literature discusses the business consequences of reactions of stakeholders to organizations‘ actions (Freeman, 1984). For example, organizations relate to their customers on consumer and service markets (Crane & Matten, 2016; Pivato et al., 2008), they manage their shareholder relations (Moore, 1999) and depend on their reputation on the labor market to be able to attract talented work force (Collier & Esteban 2007). This discussion is crucially embedded in market relations and conditions of modern capitalism. Modern capitalism differs significantly from market conditions described in classic capitalist theories (Smith, 1927; cf. Chomsky, 1997 Such concepts have, amongst others, described the functioning of competition on markets and its importance for market participants, the role of entrepreneurs as responsible employers, on the one hand, and member of societies, on the other. The “Doux Commerce” thesis states that the capitalist spirit and the drive to efficiency and profit will eventually contribute to peace, justice and morality (Montesquieu, 1748; Graafland, 2010). This is valid if competitors perceive markets as contributing to societal benefit (Bruni & Sugden, 2013).

Large formal organizations dominate certain sectors, some corporations have outgrown many nation states in size and economic capacities, organizations are in the meantime perceived as political actors, which means, that they rather make or influence the laws than being object to those (Marvell, 2004).The entrepreneur as a market actor has lost part of its importance, whereas, at the same time, the function of the salaried manager has gained influence and power. At the same time, rather recent phenomena tend to change market conditions. Certain international corporations, especially in the new market, have developed into platforms that almost give monopolistic status to the respective companies. For example, Google, Über, AirBnB, ebay or Amazon are globally active companies that are almost without severe competition within field of business (de Leeuw and Gössling, 2017; Sigala, 2018). On the other hand and partially as a consequence of that phenomenon, many formally self-employed individuals work for such companies. They are largely dependent on a single contract partner without having any job security. In other words, especially for rather low-skilled workforce, the labor market conditions have changed significantly.

Business ethics needs to reflect these developments in the economy as well as their consequences for businesses, societies and individuals.

We invite contributions to this debate that deal, amongst others, with the following issues:

  • A capitalist critique on the new economy
  • Labor market consequences of the new economy
  • Individual and societal consequences of new forms of labor (including work-life balance)
  • Regulations of markets on the global level
  • The role of organizations as market regulators


  • Bruni, L., & Sugden, R. (2013). Reclaiming virtue ethics for economics. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 27(4), 141-163.
  • Chomsky, N. (2011). The Legitimacy of the Financial System and State Capitalism. In Global financial crisis: The ethical issues (pp. 52-62). Palgrave Macmillan UK.
  • Collier, J., & Esteban, R. (2007). Corporate social responsibility and employee commitment. Business ethics: A European review, 16(1), 19-33.
  • Crane, A., & Matten, D. (2016). Business ethics: Managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization. Oxford University Press.
  • de Leeuw, T., & Gössling, T. (2016). Theorizing change revisited: An amended process model of institutional innovations and changes in institutional fields. Journal of Cleaner Production, 135, 435-448.
  • de Montesquieu, C. L. D. S. (1867). Esprit des lois. Libr. de F. Didot Frères.
  • Graafland, J. J. (2010). Do markets crowd out virtues? An Aristotelian framework. Journal of Business Ethics, 91(1), 1-19.
  • Marwell, N. P. (2004). Privatizing the welfare state: Nonprofit community-based organizations as political actors. American sociological review, 69(2), 265-291.
  • Moore, G. (1999). Tinged shareholder theory: or what’s so special about stakeholders?. Business Ethics: A European Review, 8(2), 117-127.
  • Pivato, S., Misani, N., & Tencati, A. (2008). The impact of corporate social responsibility on consumer trust: the case of organic food. Business ethics: A European review, 17(1), 3-12.
  • Smith, A. (1827). An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (No. 25202). Printed at the University Press for T. Nelson and P. Brown.
  • Sigala, M. (2018). Market Formation in the Sharing Economy: Findings and Implications from the Sub-economies of Airbnb. In Social Dynamics in a Systems Perspective (pp. 159-174). Springer, Cham.


Tobias Gößling, Tilburg University

Björn Fasterling, EDHEC Business School

Call for practitioner contributions to Business & Professional Ethics Journal

The editors of Business & Professional Ethics Journal invite practitioner contributions from EBEN conference participants. Practitioner contributions typically offer a systematic or probing reflection on a contemporary business or professional ethics topic from a practical perspective. Contributions are selected based upon novelty, argumentative coherence, and style. The editors of the journal read potential contributions, offer editorial suggestions, and decide on the acceptance of the manuscript.

Recent examples of practitioner contributions to Business & Professional Ethics Journal include:

  • Steve Williams (Unilever): Do corporations go to heaven when they die?
  • Klaus Leisinger (Novartis Foundation): An Analysis of the Conceptual Landscape of Corporate Responsibility
  • Michael Hannigan (Give Something Back Office Supplies): Are Benefit Corporations Truly Beneficial? (With Daryl Koehn)
  • Jay Coen Gilbert (B Lab): The Benefit Corporation-A Legal Tool to Align the Interests of Business with Those of Society; An Interview with Jay Coen Gilbert, Co-Founder, B Lab (with David Steingard)
  • C. Richard Panico (Integrated Project Management Co., Inc.): Naked Leadership – Lead to Win Hearts and Minds

For more information about BPEJ and guidelines for submission.

What good markets are good for: On the relationship between capitalism, virtues and human flourishing

In mainstream economic theory as it has developed since the 18th century (going back to the work of De Mandeville), the idea has been preeminent that rational self-interest is the basis of market behavior. This has become the cornerstone of a master narrative about the success of modern Western economies as based on individuals maximizing their self-interests.

In recent years new insights have emerged, challenging this idea, emphasizing the inherent morality, both as a condition and as a consequence, of the free market and of market behavior (e.g., Sugden 1993; 2002; 2004; Fukuyama 1995; Seabright 2004; Friedman 2005; McCloskey 2006, 2010; Bruni & Zamagni 2007; Bruni & Sugden 2008; Zak 2008; Graafland 2009; Satz 2010; Koslowski 2011; Sirico 2012; Bruni & Sugden 2013; Boettke & Smith 2014). These new insights, still developing and scattered, are calling out for further critical testing and, if found to be correct, must be integrated into a new ‘counter narrative’ about the morality of free markets and their contribution to human flourishing (to be defined as ‘The characteristics of thriving human lives, including freedoms as well as achievements, and including society-level features as well as qualities of individual lives.’). This new narrative can function as the background for addressing issues of morality and character formation in economics- and business curricula. The general point that is made in this new literature is twofold: (1) the free market is desirable, not primarily for reasons of efficiency (although that does not have to be neglected) but on moral grounds and (2) a moral defense of free markets also has moral implications for the way market parties should operate. In short: the free market as a moral project requires the practice of moral virtues in order to contribute to human flourishing.

This special track ‘What Good Markets Are Good For’ sets out to critically assess these insights and to add theoretical and empirical substance to them. Contributions can be made from various disciplines as (various branches of) economics, theology, philosophy, and social psychology. The special track will focus on two major research questions. First, it will systematically and critically assess the plausibility of there being a connection between virtues and free markets resulting in human flourishing by asking the question: ‘Do free markets inherently need virtuous behavior of key market actors in order to contribute to human flourishing?’ Researches focusing on this research question aim to theoretically explain and/or empirically test the moderating influence of virtues in the relationship between free markets and human flourishing. Graphically, this research question can be rendered as follows:

EBEN Conference figure 1

Second, the special track will consider the influence of capitalism on virtues and the influence of virtues on human flourishing. In a seminal paper, Hirschman (1982) distinguished various theses concerning the influence of markets on virtues. The most well-known are the so-called doux commerce thesis and the self-destruction thesis. Whereas the doux commerce thesis states that commerce has a favorable impact on virtues, the self-destruction thesis posits that markets undermine the virtues that are essential for markets to function well. The research question that this part of the special track will focus on is: How do virtues mediate the influence of free markets on human flourishing? Graphically, this research question can be illustrated by the following figure:

EBEN Conference figure 2

Expected size

Bibliography organizer

Johan Graafland (1960) is full professor in ‘Economics, Business and Ethics’ at Tilburg University since 2000. He studied economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam and theology at Utrecht University. Johan Graafland is fellow of Tilburg Sustainability Center, European Banking Center and CentER and member of department Economics at TISEM and member of department Philosophy at the Faculty of Humanities at Tilburg University. He is specialized in economic ethics, philosophy of economics, business ethics, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the relationship between religion and economics and business. He teaches the courses ‘Philosophy of Economics and Economic Ethics’, ‘History of Economic Thought’, ‘Christianity in dialogue with social economic world’ and ‘Corporate Social Responsibility.’ During 2010-2013 Prof. Graafland was leader of the econometric research in the FP7 Impact project of the European Union ( From 2017 he is leading (together with prof. Buijs of Free University of Amsterdam) the research project “What good markets are good for”, a joint three-year research project of the Free University, Tilburg University, Erasmus University, and Radboud University.

Prof. Graafland published several books and theoretical and empirical articles in the field of economics ethics, business ethics and corporate social responsibility. Prof. Graafland has been member of advisory boards of various societal organizations, including The Dutch Council of Churches, Brabants Zeeuwse Werkgeversvereniging (Dutch employers’ organization), Foundation of Christian Philosophy, ICCO (Dutch development organization), ChristenUnie (Dutch political party), International Christian Study center, and Institute for Culture Ethics.

Selected scientific publications since 2015

  • Graafland, J. and Smid, H. (2015). Competition and Institutional Drivers of Corporate Social Performance. De Economist, 163(3), 303-322
  • Graafland, J. and  Compen, B. (2015). Economic Freedom and Life Satisfaction: Mediation by Income per Capita and Generalized Trust, Journal of  Happiness Studies, DOI 10.1007/s10902-014-9534-3
  • Graafland, J. and Smid, H. (2016). Environmental impacts of SMEs and the effects of formal management tools: Evidence from the EU’s largest survey, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 23, 297–307.
  • Graafland, J., Hudson, P. and Werner, J. (2016). Does corporate social performance reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the macro level? Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, DOI 10.1080/09640568.2014.1001021
  • Graafland, J. (2016). Price competition, short-termism and environmental performance. Journal of Cleaner Production, 116, 125-134
  • Graafland, J. and Smid, H. (2017). Reconsidering the relevance of social license pressure and government regulation for environmental performance of European SMEs. Journal of Cleaner Production, 141, 967-977.
  • Graafland, J. (2017). Religiosity, Attitude and the Demand for Socially Responsible Products, Journal of Business Ethics, 144(1), 121–138
  • Graafland, J.J. (2018). Does Corporate Social Responsibility Put Reputation at Risk by Inviting Activist Targeting? An Empirical Test among European SMEs. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 25, 1–13
  • Graafland, J.J. (2018). Ecological impacts of the ISO14001 certification of small and medium sized enterprises in Europe and the mediating role of networks. Journal of Cleaner Production, 174, 273-282

Forthcoming publications

  • Graafland, J.J. and Lous, B. (2017). Economic freedom, income inequality and life satisfaction in OECD countries, Journal of Happiness Studies, DOI 10.1007/s10902-017-9905-7
  • Graafland, J., Smid, H. Decoupling Among CSR Policies, Programs, and Impacts: An Empirical Study. Business & Society, DOI: 10.1177/0007650316647951

Reinventing Capitalism in the Light of the Catholic Social Teaching

It is one of the central ideas in the contemporary discussion about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) that corporations should contribute to sustainable development and societal wealth. In the understanding of the so-called Brundtland Commission, sustainable development entails meeting “the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (WCED, 1987, § 27). As outlined by the Commission, sustainability encompasses economic as well as social and ecological aspects. Especially in the European understanding of CSR, as presented in the so-called Green Paper of the European Commission, CSR is aligned with this “Triple Bottom Line” (Elkington 1999; 2004) and the idea of economic, social and ecological sustainability (European  Commission, 2001). But also other important CSR documents, like The Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact (UNGC, 1999) refer to ideas of social justice and environmental protection.

However, attempts to reach this goal in global economy hitherto have been either insufficient or have failed. As Pope Francis criticizes in his Encyclical Letter Laudato si, we “have not yet managed to adopt a circular model of production capable of preserving resources for present and future generations (…). A serious consideration of this issue would be one way of counteracting the throwaway culture which affects the entire planet, but it must be said that only limited progress has been made in this regard” (Francis, 2015, § 22). And the Pope calls it a terrible injustice especially of industrialized countries to ”think that we can obtain significant benefits by making the rest of humanity, present and future, pay the extremely high costs of environmental deterioration. (Francis, 2015, § 36).

Seen in the light of the Encyclical Letter, capitalism focuses unilateral on economic development thereby ignoring questions of ecological preservation and societal justice. It is the aim of the Encyclical Letter to reinvent the present form of shareholder-capitalism and to call for an increased awareness vis-à- vis questions of social justice and environmental protection and, as the pope formulates: “to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” (Francis, 2015, § 49).

It is the aim of the workshop to analyze recent development in economics as well as in the field of business ethics from perspective of CST and especially in the light of the Encyclical letter Laudato si. Suggested topics may encompass but are not limited to:

  1. CST and the alleviation of global poverty
  2. CST on Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability
  3. CST on social justice and human rights in the economic sphere
  4. CST and labor rights in global economy
  5. CST and the responsibilities of the business world
  6. Contributions of CST to humanizing business
  7. CST and the normative foundations of economy
  8. Moral responsibilities of business leaders according to CST
  9. Historical and philosophical studies on Christian understanding of economy
  10. Christian Humanism in economics and business
  11. Christian spirituality in leadership and at the workplace
  12. Subsidiary responsibilities of the business world to foster social justice and environmental protection


  • Prof. Domènec Melé
    IESE Business School
    Barcelona, Spain

Michael Stefan Aßländer is professor for business ethics at the International Institute of the Technical University Dresden located in Zittau (Germany). From 2005-2010 he held the Plansecur Endowed Chair for business ethics at the University of Kassel. He has studied management, philosophy, sociology, psychology, political economy and Russian language in Bamberg (Germany), Vienna (Austria), Bochum (Germany) and Moscow (Russia) and holds a Diploma in Business Administration (1988), a Master in Philosophy (1990), a PhD in Philosophy (1998) and a PhD in Social Sciences (2005). From 2005-2011 he was board member of the German Business Ethics Network, and was a founding member of the Austrian
Business Ethics Network (2004) where he serves as a deputy chairman till today. From 2008-2016 he was also member of the executive committee of the European Business Ethics Network.

Domènec Melé is Emeritus Professor and Chair of Business Ethics at IESE Business School, University of Navarra, Spain. He earned a doctorate in industrial engineering from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Spain, and another PhD degree in theology from the University of Navarra. Over the last 30 years, he has taught and written extensively in economic and business ethics, corporate social responsibility, Catholic social teaching (CST), and philosophy of management. Professor Melé has chaired the biennial International Symposium on Ethics, Business and Society led by IESE from 1991 to 2014 (18 editions).

Now, he serves as associate editor of Humanistic Management Journal and as a member of the editorial boards of Philosophy of Management (UK), International Journal of Management Science and Information Technology (IJMSIT), Corporate Governance (UK) and the International Journal of Applied Ethics (Spain). Previously he has served as section editor of the Journal of Business Ethics for ten years. Regarding CST, apart from several articles, he has co-edited two work: Human Development in Business. Values and Humanistic Management in the in the Encyclical «Caritas in Veritate» (Palgrave - MacMillan, 2012) and Humanism in Economics and Business. Perspectives of the Catholic Social Tradition (Springer, 2015). Currently he is working in the 2 nd edition of Business Ethics in Action: Seeking Human Excellence in Organizations (Palgrave Macmillan, New York).


Submissions should be made directly to the organizers, not later than March 1, 2018. We accept full papers as well as extended abstracts (about 1000 words), either in pdf or word format.


  • Elkington, J. (1999). Cannibals with Forks – The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business
    (Capstone, Oxford).
  • Elkington, J. (2004). Enter the Triple Bottom Line, in A. Henriques and J. Richardson (eds.),
    The Triple Bottom Line, Does it all Add up? (Earthscan, London), pp. 1-16.
  • European Commission (2001). Green Paper Promoting a European Framework for
    Corporate Social Responsibility COM(2001) 366 (Commission of the European
    Communities, Brussels). Retrieved from Accessed on December 31, 2017.
  • Francis (2015) Laudato si, Encyclical Letter on Care for Our Common Home, 24 th of May
    2015 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Rome). Also available at:
    UNGC (1999). United Nations Global Compact – The Ten Principles. Retrieved from gc/mission/principles. Accessed on
    December 31, 2017.
  • WCED (1987). Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our
    Common Future. Annex to document A/42/427’, Development and International Co-
    operation: Environment. Retrieved from
    Accessed on December 31, 2017.

Organizing Committee

Daan van Soest, TSC, Conference Host

Tobias Gößling, TSC, Conference Chair

Antoon van den Bogaert, EBEN Netherlands

Will Houtzager, EBEN Netherlands

Kristel Suijs, TSC

Scientific Committee

Johan Graafland, TSC

Björn Fasterling, EDHEC Business School, Lille

Bastiaan van der Linden, EDHEC Business School, Lille

Michael S. Aßländer, TU Dresden

Geert Demuinck, EBEN


Participant: € 380

EBEN Member: € 320

Student Fee: € 220

Student EBEN Member: € 150


Registration form


An amount of hotel rooms is reserved for the conference in the Mercure Hotel Tilburg.

First Day June 27

11:00 Registration

12:00 Welcome Reception. Light lunch

12:30 Conference opening, Welcome by the conference chair

12:40 Welcome by TSC and TISEM

12:50 Welcome by the EBEN president

13:00 Keynote: Fully Automated Luxury Space Communism: Postcapitalism and 21st-Century Pop Culture by Dan Hassler-Forest

14:30 Parallel Workshop I

16:00 Coffee Break

16:30 Parallel Workshop II

18:00 National network meeting

18:00 Bus to the city center

19:00 Dinner

Second Day June 28

07:00 Running with organizers

08:30 Bus to Tilburg University Campus

09:00 Coffee

09:15 Welcome on behalf of TSB and Organization Studies

09:30 Keynote: BCorps by Leen Zevenbergen

10:30 Coffee Break

11:00 Parallel Workshop III

12:30 Lunch

13:30 Parallel Workshop IV

15:00 Coffee Break

15:30 Parallel Workshop V

17:00 General Assembly

17:45 Snacks

18:00 Bus to the Museum de Pont

18:30 Guided arts tour

20:00 Dinner

22:00 Music

23:00 Location closes

Final Day June 29

07:00 Running with organizers

08:30 Bus to Tilburg University Campus

09:00 Coffee

09:30 Parallel Workshop VI

11:00 Coffee Break

11:30 United Nations Program on Drugs and Crime

12:00 Research on Business Ethics with Denis G Arnold and Bastiaan van der Linden

13:00 Conference Closing

13:30 Snacks and Farewell

Full program

Downoad the full program for the EBEN Annual Conference 2018, including the Parallel Workshops.


Location: Tilburg University

When: 27 June 2018 09:00

End date: 29 June 2018 13:00