In this article, we develop a viable approach to the management of the empiricalnormative divide in business ethics. We first outline familiar problems of this “great divide” before we show that the dichotomy between empirical and normative appears only if we first cross-table the distinction descriptive versus prescriptive with that of categorical versus hypothetical and then mask two of the four quadrants of the resulting matrix. We restore the masked quadrants and find that the full matrix accommodates former residual or bridge concepts such as the instrumental approaches to business ethics and encloses a fourth option of systems approaches. In order to demonstrate how instrumental and systems approaches can be used to manage the former great divide, we draw on John Dewey’s pragmatist philosophy and Niklas Luhmann’s social systems theory. In the context of a concluding interaction between the two theorists, we develop a multifunctional framework for the management of “false distinctions” in business ethics and beyond.