Horst Steinmann

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Horst Steinmann (born July 17, 1934 in Bad Salzuflen , Lippe) is a German economist and emeritus professor of business administration and management .

Live and act

After graduating from high school, Horst Steinmann studied business administration at the University of Göttingen and passed the exam in 1959 as a business graduate . In 1962 he received his doctorate from the TU Clausthal .

In 1964/65 he studied at the Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires ( INSEAD ) in Fontainebleau and obtained a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in 1965 . In 1967 he completed his habilitation at Clausthal University of Technology .

In 1968 he became a full professor for business administration and holder of the chair for general business administration and business research at the Free University of Berlin . In 1970 he received the chair for general business administration and corporate management at the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences (formerly the University of Economics and Social Sciences Nuremberg ) of the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg , where he worked until his retirement.

His research interests and research included strategic management , human resource management , economic planning and control , organization theory , corporate governance , business ethics and philosophy of science . He received offers from various universities (Paderborn, Darmstadt, FU Berlin), but turned them down.

In 1986, Steinmann along with other interested parties, the European Business Ethics Network (EBEN) and in 1993 the German Network Business Ethics (DNWE) where u. a. Marcus Bierich, chairman of the board of management and the supervisory board of Robert Bosch GmbH , was also chairman of the board of trustees for a long time.

In September 1999 Steinmann retired. Nevertheless, Steinmann continues to give lectures and write smaller essays.

Fundamentals of teaching: business studies as normative action science - business ethics

Starting in the 1970s, Steinmann proposed a new scientific-theoretical basis for business administration, which should replace the “ critical rationalism ” that was prevalent in the subject (at that time) . He found it in " Methodical Constructivism ", as it was developed at the time by Wilhelm Kamlah and Paul Lorenzen in Erlangen ("Erlangen School"), and in its further development and partial revision in " Methodical Culturalism " by Peter Janich , University of Marburg, and also Carl Friedrich Gethmann , University of Duisburg-Essen. Following on from this, he demands that business administration must look not only for its factual but also its methodological starting point in practical action (lifeworld) instead of starting with (unproven) axioms (principles), i.e. H. the sciences do not determine their goals autonomously, but the (respective) practice constitutes the goals of the sciences (Lorenzen).

Briefly outlined this means: The first - the research and teaching orientated terms - can be obtained from successful practical life distinctions. This includes, in particular, the distinction between “acting” as intent-based work and “behavior” as a mere reaction to external stimuli. The concept of action refers to the freedom of the human being with regard to the choice of the ends and means , which should be taken to successfully cope with the specific conflict-prone life problems, against the idea of ​​a complete determination of human activity by "natural laws" ( determinism ). Business administration is therefore - against all varieties of "naturalism" - to be pursued as a cultural science. The results of business management are “cultural” as opposed to “natural”.

From this beginning it follows that business administration should be developed as a normative action science (Steinmann 1978). You should - together with other disciplines - provide a (justified) knowledge for all the cases where people argue about the means by which they can achieve given ends best ( resource conflicts ); This is about "technical reason", which is expressed in business administration in the "principle of economic efficiency". In addition, the business administration should also advise where practice disputes which purposes should guide action ( conflicting purposes ); In philosophical terms, this is about “practical reason”. This results in Steinmann's demand to develop “economic and business ethics” as a legitimate lesson in business administration - against the prevailing opinion on the “freedom of value judgment in the sciences”.

Purposes can be justified if, under justification, one understands not only the deductive derivation of sentences from (axiomatic) major propositions, but justification itself reconstructed as (speaking) action, in the sense of a dialogical-argumentative discussion about the best reasons for acting with the goal the peaceful settlement of conflicts (Steinmann / Scherer 2002). Horst Steinmann and some of his students, u. a. Andreas Georg Scherer and Albert Löhr developed such a doctrine of business ethics.

For this doctrine, Steinmann consequently points out that it cannot reasonably be grounded “idealistically” , in the sense of starting with unconditional values ​​that are a priori universally valid. Rather, business ethics also has to start pragmatically . That is why the question of the coordination of human action is at the center of Steinmann's corporate ethics. Experience teaches here that peaceful conflict resolution, obtained through argument, is preferable to the use of power - at least in principle; Resolving conflicts through power leads to unstable conditions because every change in the basis of power causes the conflict to break out again. The argumentative conflict resolution between those affected, on the other hand, would offer the chance to achieve (internal) insight and (external) immaculateness (freedom from objections) for sentences about statements and claims and thus to combine individual freedom with the unity (order) of the whole through consensus until the change in conditions required new deliberations.

It is this (methodically required) pragmatic beginning that also refers business ethics to the historical boundary conditions for its successful practice. This includes, among other things, that companies function as institutions of the capitalist competitive economy. They are therefore dependent on making sufficient profits as a condition for their survival in competition. Steinmann's teaching makes it clear here, however, that the profit principle only implies a general presumption of correctness for entrepreneurial action, but does not justify every individual case in the choice of the means to achieve profit . In each individual case, ethical business practices must ensure that abuses (corruption, environmental pollution, exploitation of workers in developing countries, etc.) do not occur or are avoided as far as possible. The "primacy of business ethics" applies: Profits should be made with morally justifiable means. Steinmann sees this moral responsibility of corporate management as a regulatory duty , not as a voluntary (although possibly praiseworthy) management activity. Business ethics can and should contribute to supporting the legitimation of the market economy order.


  • 1996 honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Law and Economics at the University of Bern
  • 1999 Honorary doctorate from the Robert Schumann University of Strasbourg for his work on corporate management theory, in particular on economic and corporate ethics
  • 2011 honorary award of the “Dr. Theo and Friedl Schöller Research Center for Economy and Society "for his life's work (May 19, 2011)


  • Linear production models of short-term programming. To the static production theory based on the linear planning calculation . Dissertation dated February 7, 1962, Clausthal Mining Academy, Faculty of Natural and Human Sciences, Clausthal, 1962, 219, XI p.
  • The large company in a conflict of interest. An economics contribution to the discussion on basic questions of a reform of the corporate order in highly developed industrial societies . Habilitation thesis, Clausthal. Stuttgart: Poeschel, 1969, XIV, 329 pp.
  • Günter Dlugos, Gerhard Eberlein, and Horst Steinmann: Theory of Science and Business Administration. A methodological controversy . Bertelsmann Universitätsverlag, 1972, 244 pp.
  • Horst Steinmann (Hrsg.): Business administration as normative action science. On the importance of constructive scientific theory for business administration (series of publications of the Zeitschrift für Betriebswirtschaftslehre, Volume 9), Wiesbaden: Betriebswirtschaftlicher Verlag Gabler, 1978, 304 pages, ISBN 3-409-34481-0 (series of publications of the Zeitschrift für Betriebswirtschaft; Vol. 9)
  • Horst Steinmann, Helmut Müller, Michael Heinrich: Porst employee company. A case study on company policy . Nuremberg: Chair for General Business Administration and Management at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, 1979, 24, [12] pages (contributions to the discussion; H. 2)
  • Horst Steinmann, with the assistance of Rainer Achenbach: Planning and control. Strategic business management problems . Munich: Franz Vahlen GmbH, 1981, IX, 523 S., ISBN 3-8006-0813-8 (corporate management; 1)
  • Elmar Gerum , Horst Steinmann and Werner Fees: The co-determined supervisory board . An empirical study . Stuttgart: Schaeffer-Poeschel Verlag, 1988, 210 pp.
  • Horst Steinmann, Albert Löhr: Basics of business ethics . Stuttgart: Poeschel, 1991, IX, 219 pp., ISBN 3-7910-9157-3 (Poeschel Collection; P 131) 2., revised. and exp. Edition, 1994, XII, 279 pp., ISBN 3-7910-9195-6 Czech: Základy podnikové etiky [Z 2. vyd. nemeckého orig. prel. Gustav Tomek]. 1. vyd. Victoria Publ., Prague 1995, ISBN 80-85865-56-4
  • Horst Steinmann, Georg Schreyögg, with the assistance of Jochen Koch: Management. Business Basics - Concepts - Functions - Case Studies. 1990. 6th edition. Wiesbaden: Gabler, 2005, ISBN 3-409-63312-X . Translated into Polish: 1992, 5th edition 2001.
  • Brij N. Kumar and Horst Steinmann (Eds.): Ethics in International Business . Berlin: de Gruyter, 1998, 360 pages (de Gruyter Studies in Organization)
  • Georges Enderle, Karl Homann , Martin Honecker , Walter Kerber , Horst Steinmann (eds.): Lexicon of business ethics . Freiburg, Basel, Vienna: Herder, 1993
  • Horst Steinmann and Andreas Georg Scherer (eds.): Between universalism and relativism . Philosophical basic problems of intercultural management . Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, ​​1998, 421 pages, ISBN 3-518-28980-2 (Suhrkamp-Taschenbuch Wissenschaft; 1380)
  • Günter Bentele , Horst Steinmann, Ansgar Zerfaß : Dialog-oriented corporate communication , basics - practical experience - perspectives, public relations , public relations and communication management . Berlin: Vistas, 1996, 472 pp., ISBN 3-89158-166-1 (series Public Relations, Public Relations and Communication Management; Volume 4)
  • Thomas Bausch, Annette Kleinfeld, Horst Steinmann (eds.): Business ethics in business practice . Munich and Mering: Rainer Hampp Verlag, 2000, ISBN 3-87988-458-7 (DNWE series of publications = German Business Ethics Network, Volume 7)
  • Horst Steinmann, Andreas Scherer: Business Administration and Methodical Culturalism. What does the cultural program for the foundation of business administration do , in: Mathias Gutmann, Dirk Hartmann, Michael Weingarten and Walter Zitterbarth (eds.): Culture - Action - Science, For Peter Janich , Weilerswist 2002, pp. 149–181

Known students

Some of Horst Steinmann's diploma, doctoral and post-doctoral students achieved high positions in science and business and therefore became known to the public.

  • Uwe Corsepius (* 1960), Secretary General of the Commission of the EU (European Council of Ministers), formerly Head of the European Policy Department in the Federal Chancellery
  • Thomas Eckardt (* 1951), Professor of General Business Administration and Information Systems, Georg-Simon-Ohm-Hochschule Nürnberg , Georg-Simon-Ohm-Management-Institut, Institute of International Business
  • Werner Fees, Professor of Management and General Business Administration, Georg-Simon-Ohm University of Nuremberg
  • Elmar Gerum (* 1946), Chair of Organization and Human Resources, University of Marburg
  • Peter Greischel (* 1955), Professor at the Faculty of Tourism, University of Applied Sciences Munich
  • Michael Heinrich (* 1951), Managing Director of the Leitz Metalworking Technology Group, Oberkochen
  • Gerhard Heß (* 1960), Professor of Logistics, Supply Management and General Business Administration, Georg-Simon-Ohm University in Nuremberg
  • Hans Klaus (born August 23, 1956), Professor of General Business Administration and Management, Kiel University of Applied Sciences
  • Brij Nino Kumar (1938–2000), Chair of Business Administration and International Management, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
  • Albert Löhr (* 1955), chair for social sciences, especially environmental, social and economic ethics, rector of the International University Institute in Zittau
  • Martin Minderlein (* 1957), Professor of Business Administration and Data Processing, Department of Economics and General Sciences at Ansbach University
  • Margit Osterloh (* 1943), Chair for Organization, Technology and Innovation Management, University of Zurich
  • Skevos Papaioannou (* 1947), Professor in the Sociology Department of the University of Crete, Greece
  • Bernd Richter (* 1954), Professor of General Business Administration with a focus on corporate management, Konstanz University of Technology, Economics and Design
  • Andreas Georg Scherer (* 1964), Chair for Fundamentals of Business Administration and Theories of Business, University of Zurich
  • Georg Schreyögg (* 1946), Chair of Organization and Management, FU Berlin
  • Ansgar Zerfaß (* 1965), professor at the Institute for Communication and Media Studies at the University of Leipzig


  • Georg Schreyögg: Horst Steinmann - 65 years old , in: Schmalenbach's magazine for business research (zfbf) 51 (1999), pp. 755–758
  • Brij Nino Kumar, Margit Osterloh, Georg Schreyögg (eds.): Business ethics and the transformation of competition. Shareholder value - globalization - hyper-competition . Festschrift for Prof. Dr. Dr. hc Horst Steinmann on his 65th birthday. Schäffer-Poeschel, Stuttgart 1999, ISBN 3-7910-1338-6 (contributions partly in German, partly in English. - Bibliography H. Steinmann: pp. 677–703)
  • Prof. Dr. hc mult. Horst Steinmann, emeritus at the chair for business administration, especially corporate management at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg [biography with photo]. In: Robert Zaugg (Hrsg.): Handbuch Kompetenzmanagement . Creating sustainable values ​​through competence. Haupt, Bern, Stuttgart, Vienna 2006, ISBN 978-3-258-07080-3 , p. 503
  • Harald Wohlrapp : Practice, Value, Peace. Some arguments on the pragmatic foundations of business ethics - For Horst Steinmann on his 75th birthday . In: Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Unternehmensethik 10 (2009), pp. 273–286.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. European Business Ethics Network (EBEN)
  2. German Network for Business Ethics (EBEN Germany) e. V. (DNWE)
  3. ^ Friend and sponsor: Farewell to Marcus Bierich, Stuttgart unikurier No. 87, April 2001
  4. Academic celebration on the farewell of Prof. Dr. Horst Steinmann. Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg July 21, 1999
  5. ^ Paul Lorenzen: Textbook of the constructive philosophy of science, Mannheim / Vienna / Zurich 1987, p. 228 ff.
  6. Horst Steinmann: Betriebswirtschaftslehre als Normative Handlungswissenschaft, in: ders. (Ed.): Die Betriebswirtschaftslehre als Normative Handlungswissenschaft, Wiesbaden 1978, pp. 73-102
  7. Horst Steinmann, Andreas Georg Scherer: Business Administration and Methodical Culturalism. What does the cultural program for the foundation of business administration do ?, in: Mathias Gutmann, et al. (Ed.): Culture-Action-Science, For Peter Janich, Weilerswist 2002, pp. 149–181
  8. Honorary doctorates for Prof. Horst Steinmann, FAU-AKTUELL media service No. 2007 of December 16, 1999
  9. ^ Peter Greischel, University of Munich
  10. Gerhard Heß, Georg-Simon-Ohm University Nuremberg
  11. ^ Hans Klaus, Kiel University of Applied Sciences
  12. Margit Osterloh, University of Zurich  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.unizh.ch  
  13. Prof. Dr. Skevos Papaioannou, University of Crete
  14. Bernd Richter, University of Konstanz
  15. Andreas Georg Scherer, University of Zurich ( Memento of the original dated December 12, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.iou.unizh.ch
  16. Prof. Dr. Ansgar Zerfaß, University of Leipzig ( Memento of the original dated November 24, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.zerfass.de