In this article we develop a conceptualization of business ethics as practice. Starting from the view that the ethics that organizations display in practice will have been forged through an ongoing process of debate and contestation over moral choices, we examine ethics in relation to the ambiguous, unpredictable, and subjective contexts of managerial action. Furthermore, we examine how discursively constituted practice relates to managerial subjectivity and the possibilities of managers being moral agents. The article concludes by discussing how the 'ethics as practice' approach that we expound provides theoretical resources for studying the different ways that ethics manifest themselves in organizations as well as providing a practical application of ethics in organizations that goes beyond moralistic and legalistic approaches. © 2006 British Academy of Management.