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Calls for Papers

The Future of Work: Promoting Dignity and Human Flourishing

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21st International Symposium on Ethics, Business and Society

The Future of Work: Promoting Dignity and Human Flourishing

Barcelona, July 12-13, 2021

Given the current circumstances, the Symposium will be held on a hybrid format during the afternoons and evenings of July 12th and 13th CET.

Download the full Call for Papers >

Work is a central element in human life and business organizations. In the past, it has drawn attention from different academic disciplines, including business ethics. Current studies cover a broad scope of issues from personal, organizational and social dimensions. However, many questions remain open in the conversation about human work and further research is necessary.

The year 2020 has been marked by the extraordinary experience of the pandemic, which has paralyzed the entire world. The health crisis has had multiple ramifications in different areas of social and economic life, including work. In many cases, businesses have reorganized job content and job dynamics. Many companies have reduced their workforce. The health crisis will be followed by economic and social crises, the scale and effects of which are unpredictable. In contrast, some professions have been indispensable in the fight against the pandemic and for access to people’s basic needs, highlighting the importance of the social dimensions of work.

Throughout history, all philosophical schools, as well as cultural and religious traditions, have offered visions of the meaning of work (Arendt, 1958). Although the responses –from the ancient philosophers to Adam Smith or Karl Marx – have differed, the underlying theme has always been to what extent work influences, and at the same time is an expression of, the dignity of the human person and contributes to human flourishing. The Catholic Social Doctrine has also contributed to the concept of work (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, 2004; Melé, 2018).

Human work has many expressions, affects many aspects of human life and generates diverse dynamics in social life and companies. Topics that can be subjects of ethical discussions are many. Moreover, they change over time, and according to social and cultural contexts. Unemployment affects many societies and has even worsened with the pandemic. Precarious employment and differences in income may cause growing inequalities and generate situations of social conflict. In many places, and particularly in developing countries, working conditions are far from reflecting decent work, which is a tenet of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Work is also related to other issues promoted by the SDGs, such as responsible consumption and production; the fight against poverty; health and well-being: clean energy; gender equality; and peace and justice.

On the other hand, new forms of work, such as the collaborative economy, or the use of new technologies (Industry 4.0), generate or favor new working conditions, which require careful analysis from an ethical perspective. Furthermore, concepts such as meaningful work, developmental work and spirituality at the workplace are gaining momentum and contribute to enriching the content and meaning of work. Finally, the discussion about the significance of work is inevitably linked to the purpose of business.


  • Abstract Submission:
    February 26, 2021
    Paper proposal of about 1,000 words, including objectives, methodology, possible findings and relevant references.
    (Response to the authors, before March 26.)
  • Manuscript Submission:
    May 31, 2021
    Full papers. Suggested length for papers is about 7,000 words, with an abstract of about 250 words. (Authors interested in submitting their paper for
    a further publication should make their interest explicit in the cover page.)
  • Special Issues:
    July 25, 2021
    Response to authors of accepted papers for a review process for publication in a special issue of Humanistic Management Journal.




Logistical questions about this conference can be addressed to Ms. Esther Ribes (

Academic questions to Professor Joan Fontrodona ( //