Business Ethics / Edition 7

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This interesting, comprehensive book about business ethics argues that ethics is the ‘glue’ 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. Business Ethics 7e not only covers ethics, it also includes such topics as: management, production, marketing, finance, workers’ rights, and environmental issues; it enables readers to see how all of the issues presented are interrelated. An excellent resource and reference text for international corporate employees, marketing administrators, and human resource managers and employees.
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Editorial Reviews

A textbook that discusses not only what is morally required of a person in a firm--a worker, a manager, a member of the board of directors--but also what structures are conducive to a person's accepting moral responsibility and fulfilling his or her moral obligations. This revised and updated edition (third was 1990) adds a chapter which addresses a variety of ethical issues in international business. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205731930
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 12/9/2009
  • Series: Alternative eText Formats Series
  • Edition number: 7
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 139,648
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

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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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