Lord acton and employment doctrines: Absolute power and the spread of at-will employment

James S. Bowman, Jonathan P. West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study analyzes the at-will employment doctrine using a tool that encompasses the complementarity of results-based utilitarian ethics, rule-based duty ethics, and virtue-based character ethics. The paper begins with a discussion of the importance of the problem followed by its evolution and current status. After describing the method of analysis, the central section evaluates the employment at-will doctrine, and is informed by Lord Acton's dictum, "power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." The conclusion explores the implications of the findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-130
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Volume74
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2007

Keywords

  • At-will employment
  • Civil service reform
  • Employment doctrines
  • Ethical theory
  • Power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Law

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