Business ethics, in theory, is the application of ethics discipline that addresses the moral features of commercial activity. In practice, however, myriad goals are pursued under its name. Programs of legal compliance and codes, empirical studies into the moral beliefs of business people, an abundance of best-practices claims, arguments for (or against) required worker participation in management, and attempts at applying traditional ethical theories and theories of justice to the functions of business are all touted as contributions to business ethics.
Ethics remain a critical area for business today. As more companies are scrutinized for their actions, there is an increasing demand for ethical behavior. Research shows that being ethical has many advantages, such as retaining more productive, committed, and satisfied employees, avoiding fines which are levied due to unethical behavior, and drawing the interest of shareholders, who are more inclined to remain with companies who practice ethical behavior.
Center for Ethical Business Cultures- The Center for Ethical Business Cultures (CEBC) assists leaders in creating ethical and profitable business cultures at the enterprise, community and global levels.
Suggested Guidelines for Writing a Code of Ethics/Conduct- This resource provides an insightful overview and detailed instructions on compiling –and applying—a successful code of ethics to business.
Creating a Code of Ethics- Compiled by Chris McDonald, PhD, this website provides an introduction to producing a code of ethics as well as guidance on writing a formal code of ethics.
Ethics on the World Wide Web- This website provides information on the application of ethics to many different fields, including business, media, computers, science, sports, and the environment.
Working Ethics- “Working Ethics” is a useful general resource for exploring how to create an environment which is conducive to effective civic conversations.
Toward Professional Ethics in Business – This document from the Graduate School of Industrial Administration at Carnegie Mellon University offers insightful information on understanding management’s importance in developing a professional code of ethics.
Professional Ethics- An insightful and comprehensive introductory guide to professional business ethics, Dr. Peter Strahlendorf addresses the definition, application, overall significance of business ethics to the workplace.
Ethics and Human Resource Management- This resource explores some of the ethical dilemmas encountered in the workplace and discusses ethical behavior and values that relate to management.
History of Business Ethics- From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, this resource covers the history of business ethics, with an emphasis on academic business ethics.
Institute of Business Ethics- This institute was established in 1986 in order to advance and promote good practice in business ethics. View educational materials, browse articles and publications, and find out the latest developments in this field.
Business and Applied Ethics
Corporate Ethics, Governance, and Social Responsibility- From the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, this paper compares eight European countries’ business ethics with selected American companies. This is an insightful resource in order to better understand the culture of business ethics abroad.
Markkula Center for Applied Ethics- The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University is one of the premier centers for research and dialogue on ethical issues in critical areas of American life.
Olsson Center for Applied Ethics- The Olsson Center for Applied Ethics at University of Virginia is a valuable resource for executives, scholars, students who are faced with the challenges of integrating ethical thinking into business decision-making.
Ethics Institute- The Ethics Institute at Dartmouth was established to serve the needs of the Dartmouth community as well as the larger academic community, through research and dialogue on emerging ethical issues. Browse publications and newsletters and research specific areas of interest.
Media and Publications
Business Ethics Magazine- Find out more about the application of business ethics and read about the latest developments in this field.
Ethical Corporation Online- Read about the application of ethics to a variety of fields including communications, environment, government, and supply chains.
Caseplace.org- This resource contains an online library of reading materials, multimedia content, and teaching modules that focuses on social, environmental and ethical issues in business.
Journal of Business Ethics – This journal publishes original articles from a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives concerning ethical issues related to business.
Ethics Resource Center- ERC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization, dedicated to independent research that advances high ethical standards and practices in public and private institutions.
Society for Business Ethics- This society is an international organization of scholars and others interested in business ethics. The Society provides a forum for those interested in research, teaching, or the practical application of ethical principles and concepts to the management of businesses.
Ethics and Compliance Officer Association - This organization is exclusively for individuals responsible for their organization’s ethics, compliance, and business conduct program.