This introductory chapter outlines the book’s overall aim and explains how words such as ‘ethics’ and ‘business’ are used in the book. The approach to business-ethics study that is taken in the book is explained and some reasons are given for taking this approach. The content and structure of the book is also outlined.
1. List some other words that are usually associated with the word ‘ethics’ and explain what each word might mean when used in an ethics context.
2. What do you understand by the word ‘business’ as it is used in this book?
3. How might the approach to business ethics taken in this book differ from two alternative approaches?
4. Give examples of three ethically contentious business issues; one each on a micro level, a meso level, and a macro level.
5. What does it mean to say that business ethics tend to involve dilemmas?
6. Why should we bother studying business ethics?
7. Does the fact that different ethics theories offer contrasting perspectives undermine their usefulness to business-ethics study?
The BBC website pages entitled ‘Ethics: a general introduction’ offer a concise, clear introduction to the topic of ethics.
Tesco’s ‘Tesco and Society Report 2013’ contains this quote from its CEO: ‘Our scale gives us an opportunity to make a positive difference to some of the biggest challenges facing the world’. The report describes how Tesco goes about making this positive difference.
George Monbiot is a British writer whose website contains a selection of articles he has written about, amongst other things, the uses and abuses of corporate power. If you enter ‘Tesco’ into his search facility you will find some articles which give a more critical perspective on the relationship between large supermarket corporations, such as Tesco, and society than those found on the Tesco website.
General Web Links
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is a free, online resource, which contains sections on many of the ethics theories and theorists discussed in the book.
The stated mission of the European Business Ethics Network is to ‘promote ethics and excellence in businesses, to increase awareness about ethical challenges in the global marketplace and to enable dialogue on the role of business in society’. Its website provides information about conferences, workshops and other forums that it organizes.
The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University provides a range of videos, case studies, and other online resources about business ethics.
This site provides information about initiatives organised by the United Nations Global Compact to encourage corporate responsibility across a range of issues of global significance.