Business Ethics

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  • Edition: 7th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-11-15
  • Publisher: Pearson

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This interesting, comprehensive book about business ethics argues that ethics is the ls"gluers" that makes successful business possible. It allows the reader to see the whole range of issues in business ethics rather than just selected topics. Its focus on internationalization and globalization is important, as it relates facts about this dynamic, growing aspect of corporate business.This book not only covers ethics, it also includes such topics as: management, production, marketing, finance, workersrs" rights, and environmental issues; it enables readers to see how all of the issues presented are interrelated.An excellent resource and reference work for international corporate employees, marketing administrators, and human resource managers and employees.

Author Biography

Richard T. De George is University Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Co-Director of the International Center for Ethics in Business at the University of Kansas.  He received his Ph.D. from Yale University and he has been a research fellow at Yale University, Columbia University, Stanford University, and the Hoover Institution.  He was the Charles J. Dirksen Professor of Business Ethics at Santa Clara University in 1986, and a Visiting Professor at the Graduate School of Business at the University of  St. Gallen, Switzerland in 1985.


He is the author of over 200 articles and the author or editor of twenty books, including The Ethics of Information Technology and Business (2003); Business Ethics (also available in Japanese, Russian, Serbian and Chinese); and Competing With Integrity in International Business (1993), also translated into Chinese.  He has been the President of several academic organizations, including the American Philosophical Association, the Metaphysical Society of America, the Society for Business Ethics, and International Society for Business, Economics, and Ethics.  He has given invited lectures on six continents at a great many universities and keynote addresses to a variety of organizations both here and abroad, including such places as Tokyo, Como, Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro, and Perth. He has been a consultant for Motorola, Hallmark Cards, Kansas City Power and Light, Koch Industries, and General Motors, among others, and is a specialist in international business ethical issues and codes.  In 2009 the Society for Business Ethics presented him with a special award “In recognition of a career of outstanding service to the field of business ethics”


In November, 1996, he received an honorary doctorate from Nijenrode University in the Netherlands together with Bill Gates and Nelson Mandela.

Table of Contents

Preface xi



Chapter 1: Ethics and Business 1

  Horatio Alger and Stock Options 1

  The Myth of Amoral Business 3

  The Relation of Business and Morality 5

  Business Ethics and Ethics 9

  The Case of the Collapsed Mine 18

     Study Questions 20


Moral Reasoning In Business

Chapter 2: Conventional Morality and Ethical

  Relativism 21

  Purchasing Abroad: A Case Study 21

  The Levels of Moral Development 22

  Subjective and Objective Morality 24

  Descriptive Relativism 26

  Normative Ethical Relativism 27

  Moral Absolutism 31

  Moral Pluralism 32

  Pluralism and American Business 33

  Pluralism and International Business 33

  Pluralism, Business, and the Law 35

  Business and Religious Ethics 36

  Approaches to Ethical Theory 38

    Study Questions 41


Chapter 3: Utility and Utilitarianism 43

  An Airplane Manufacturing Case 43

  Utilitarianism 43

  Act and Rule Utilitarianism 47

  Objections to Utilitarianism 50

  Utilitarianism and Justice 52

  Applying Utilitarianism 53

  Utilitarianism and Bribery 56

    Study Questions 60


Chapter 4: Moral Duty, Rights, and Justice 61

  The Johnson Controls Case 61

  Deontological Approaches to Ethics 62

  Reason, Duty, and the Moral Law 63

  Application of the Moral Law 67

  Imperfect Duties, Special Obligations, and Moral Ideals 71

  Rights and Justice 73

     Study Questions 81


Chapter 5: Virtue Ethics and Moral Reasoning 82

  The Case of Dora and Joe 82

  Virtue 82

  Applying Moral Reasoning 87

     Study Questions 97


Chapter 6: Moral Responsibility: Individual and Corporate 98

  The Love Canal Case 98

  Moral Responsibility 99

  Excusing Conditions 100

  Liability and Accountability 104

  Agent and Role Moral Responsibility 106

  The Moral Status of Corporations and Formal   Organizations 108

     Study Questions 112


Moral Issues in Business

Chapter 7: Justice and Economic Systems 114

  The Case of the Two Slaveholders 114

  Moral Evaluation of Economic Systems 115

  Moral Evaluation of Contemporary Systems 119

  Economic Models and Games 120

  A Capitalist Model 121

  Capitalism and Government 125

  A Socialist Model 128

  Comparison of Models and Systems 130

  Economic Systems and Justice 131

     Study Questions 133


Chapter 8: American Capitalism: Moral or Immoral? 134

  The Case of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet 134

  The American Economic System 136

  Relation of the American Government to the American   Economic System 138

  The Marxist Critique 141

  Non-Marxist Moral Critiques of American Capitalism 146

  The Moral Defense of the American Free-Enterprise System 148

  Non-Socialist Alternatives to Contemporary American

Capitalism 152

  Philanthropy 156

     Study Questions 157


Chapter 9: The International Business System, Globalization, and Multinational Corporations 159

  The WTO and Agriculture: A Case Study 159

  Justice and the International Economic System 161

  The Globalization of Business 164

  Multinational Corporations and Ethics 167

  Ethical Guidelines for Multinational Operations 173

  Multinationals and Human Rights 175

  International Codes 176

  Cross-Cultural Judgments, Negotiation, and   International Justice 180

    Study Questions 183


Chapter 10: Corporations, Morality, and Corporate Social Responsibility 185

  The Case of Malden Mills 185

  Privately Owned, Small and Medium-Sized Businesses 187

  Concept of the Corporation: Shareholder versus   Stakeholder 190

  Moral Responsibility Within the Corporation 192

  Corporate Social Responsibility 198

  Corporate Codes 206

  Corporate Culture and Moral Firms 208

     Study Questions 209


Chapter 11: Corporate Governance, Disclosure, and Executive Compensation 211

  The Enron Case 211

  Corporate Governance 213

  Corporate Disclosure 218

  Insider Trading 224

  Executive Compensation 233

     Study Questions 237


Chapter 12: Finance, Accounting, and Investing 239

  The case of Lehman Brothers 239

  Mortgages, Risk, and Financial Institutions 241

  Corporate Takeovers and Restructuring 249

  Accounting 257

  Ethical Investing 261

    Study Questions 268


Chapter 13: Safety, Risk, and Environmental Protection 270

  The McDonald’s Polystyrene Case 270

  Corporations, Products, and Services 271

  Do No Harm 272

  Safety and Acceptable Risk 273

  Product Safety and Corporate Liability 276

  Strict Liability 277

  Production Safety 279

  The Transfer of Dangerous Industries to Less   Developed Countries 280

  Environmental Harm 287

  Pollution and Its Control 289

  Global Warming and the Kyoto Protocol 294

     Study Questions 296


Chapter 14: Whistle-Blowing 298

  The Ford Pinto Case 298

  Blowing the Whistle 299

  Kinds of Whistle-Blowing 300

  Whistle-Blowing as Morally Prohibited 303

  Whistle-Blowing as Morally Permitted 306

  Whistle-Blowing as Morally Required 310

  Internal Whistle-Blowing 312

  Precluding the Need for Whistle-Blowing 316

     Study Questions 317


Chapter 15: Marketing, Truth, and Advertising 319

  Case Study: Direct-to-Consumer Drug Advertising 319

  The Nestlé Infant Milk Formula Case 321

  Marketing 322

  Advertising 332

  Truth and Advertising 334

  Manipulation and Coercion 338

  Paternalism and Advertising 340

  Prevention of Advertising 342

  Allocation of Moral Responsibility in Advertising 343

     Study Questions 346


Chapter 16: Workers’ Rights: Employment, Discrimination, and Affirmative Action 348

  The Case of the 2008 Presidential Election: The End

of Affirmative Action? 348

  Employment-at-Will 349

  Rights in Hiring, Promotion, and Firing 351

  Discrimination, Affirmative Action, and Reverse     Discrimination 354

  Discrimination 356

  Changing Social Structures 361

  Equal Employment Opportunity 362

  Affirmative Action 364

  Reverse Discrimination 367

  Balanced or Preferential Hiring 368

     Study Questions 374


Chapter 17: Workers’ Rights and Duties Within a Firm 376

  Case Study: Drug and Polygraph Testing at Company X 376

  The Rights of Employees Within a Firm 377

  Employee Civil Rights and Equal Treatment 378

  The Right to a Just Wage 381

  Privacy, Polygraphs, and Drugs 388

  Employee Duties Worker Loyalty and Obedience 395

  The Right to Organize: Unions 396

  The Right to Strike 399

     Study Questions 403


Chapter 18: Workers’ Rights and International Business 405

  Nike: A Case Study 405

  Child Labor 406

  Sweatshops 409

  Outsourcing and International Business 412

  Migrant and Illegal Workers 413

  Discrimination, Corrupt Governments, and   Multinationals 417

  The Right to Work 422

     Study Questions 426


Chapter 19: The Information Age: Property and New Technologies 428

  Two Intellectual Property Cases 428

  Intellectual Property 431

  Property: Information and Software 440

  Patents and Pharmaceutical Drugs 451

     Study Questions 453


Chapter 20: Information, Computers, the Internet, and Business 455

  The Electronic Privacy at ABC Control Case 455

  Business and Computers 456

  Computer Crime 457

  Computers and Corporate Responsibility 464

  Computers and Privacy 466

  The Changing Nature of Work 475

     Study Questions 478


Chapter 21: Global Issues and International Obligations 480

  The Case of Merck and Costa Rica 480

  Global Issues 481

  Famine, Malnutrition, and Moral Obligation 482

  Cosmopolitanism and Poverty 488

  Property and Allocation of the World’s Resources 490

  Global Common Goods 497

  Oil and the Depletion of Natural Resources 498

     Study Questions 505



Chapter 22: The New Moral Imperative for Business 507

  The End of an Era: A Case Study 507

  The Changing Business Mandate 509

  Quality of Work Life 513

  The Role of Government 517

  Corporate Democracy and the New Entrepreneur 519

  Building a Good Society 520

     Study Questions 522

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