Paper info: Ethics and industrial networks: a Levinasian approach towards the study of justice in the supply chain
Ethics and industrial networks: a Levinasian approach towards the study of justice in the supply chain
Matthew Higgins andNick Ellis
Place of Publication
The paper was published at the 25th IMP-conference in Marseille, France in 2009.
This theoretical paper seeks to make a contribution to studies of ethics in a 'business-to-business' context. We argue that the normative focus of much research in marketing ethics has rendered scholars unable to imagine issues of morality beyond a rather narrowly defined set of tools. Instead, after a quarter of a century of academic development in the field of purchasing and marketing, we invite the IMP Group to embrace some more challenging conceptualisations of justice. Fittingly for a conference to be held in France, this re-conceptualisation will be approached through the work of the post-structuralist philosopher Emmanuel Levinas. We posit that Levinasian approaches to ethics offer a particular insight into supply chain relationships, re-appraising the identities of the parties that comprise industrial networks. Thus, after outlining some notions of justice within marketing systems, our paper will suggest how we might relate Levinas's complex theoretical arguments about ethics and justice to the discourse of supply chain managers and their codes of practice. Based on these arguments, we will explain how a discursive analysis of social constructions of managerial identities and 'the other' within the language of supply chains may facilitate moves towards strategies of fairer trade.