Comprehensive and thorough in scope, Ethics and the Conduct of Business, sixth edition, frames each issue and examines the arguments for each side with rigor and clarity. Numerous real-life examples and case studies increase understanding of issues and stimulate class discussion. The revised and updated sixth edition retains the familiar structure of previous editions. A chapter on employee rights has been expanded to include not only unjust dismissal but also expression and participation in the workplace and just compensation. The coverage of corporate social responsibility has been expanded, and new material on corporate accountability has been added. Of the forty-seven cases in the book, fourteen are new.
John R. Boatright, the Raymond C. Baumhart, S.J., Professor of Business Ethics at Loyola University Chicago, is a past president and past executive director of the Society for Business Ethics. He serves on the editorial boards of Business Ethics Quarterly, Journal of Business Ethics, and Business and Society Review, he is the author of Ethics in Finance and editor of Finance Ethics.
II. Author Letter
I am writing to introduce you to the seventh edition of Ethics and the Conduct of Business, or if you are familiar with previous editions, to explain the improvements.
I have discovered that teaching business ethics is a very personal matter. We all have our own ideas about what should be covered and how the subject should be taught. My own ideas have evolved over the years as events in business and thinking in the field have developed. I find that my students have changed as well. In preparing successive editions of Ethics and the Conduct of Business, I have aimed not only to stay up to date but also to maintain flexibility so that instructors can combine the textbook material and cases with their own preferences in approach and coverage.
The first decision in adopting a textbook in business ethics is between single-author works and anthologies. I have tried to combine the best of both by including a wide range of positions and arguments that typify an anthology along with a unifying focus in which the different voices are engaged in a common discussion. In writing the book, I have avoided presenting a distinctive view of my own but have attempted, instead, to be an informative guide through the many debates that occur over the issues considered. The format of most chapters is to identify the most important issues—posed by privacy, say, or advertising or employee rights—describe the major positions that have been taken on these issues, and then explain and evaluate the arguments for and against each of these positions. This issue-positions-arguments organization has the advantages of presenting ongoing debates in a comprehensive, balanced, and rigorous manner that allows students to think for themselves and discover where they stand. The ultimate benefit of this approach is to facilitate exciting and constructive classroom discussion.
The most substantial change in the new edition is in the presentation of applied ethical reasoning. Although Ethics and the Conduct of Business still has a chapter on major ethical theories, it is preceded by the presentation of a novel framework that I have developed in my own teaching. It begins with an examination of the ethics of market trades or exchanges. What rules apply to buyers and sellers in purely voluntary, arm’s-length transactions? I then show that much business activity occurs when people take themselves out of the market by agreeing to assume certain roles and relationships with new responsibilities. Thus, much of business activity occurs among economic agents who are not engaging in simple economic exchanges but have chosen to organize their productive activity in roles and relationships, including firms. Please take a look at the treatment of applied ethical reasoning in the new edition, and I believe you and your students will find it very helpful.
Rare is the instructor who is completely happy with any of the business ethics textbooks on the market. Hence, the number that keeps increasing. I began writing this one twenty years ago because I was dissatisfied with the textbooks available at the time, and you may think that only you could write the ideal textbook for your own use. Short of doing that, please let me know how Ethics and the Conduct of Business could be revised to better fit your needs. Every previous new edition has benefited from the sage advice of users. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will respond to your comments.
Please examine this new seventh edition carefully, and I hope you will join the many instructors worldwide who have found that the approach and content of this textbook best fit their own ideas about teaching business ethics.