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Ethics Theory and Business Practice

Ethics Theory and Business Practice

Additional resources:

Business Ethics

December 2014 | 472 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

In his ground-breaking new textbook, Mick Fryer offers students of Business Ethics clear explanations of a range of theoretical perspectives, along with examples of how these perspectives might be used to illuminate the ethical challenges presented by business practice. The book includes:

  • Realistic scenarios which gently introduce a theory and demonstrate how it can be applied to a real-life ethical dilemma that everyone can relate to, such as borrowing money from a friend
  • Real organisational case studies in each chapter which illustrate how each theory can be applied to real business situations. Cases include Nike, Coca Cola, BMW, Shell, Starbucks and GSK
  • ‘Pause for Reflection’ boxes and ‘Discussion Questions’ which encourage you to challenge the established notions of right and wrong, and empower you to develop your own moral code
  • Video Activities in each chapter with accompanying QR codes which link to documentaries, films, debates and news items to get you thinking about real-life ethical dilemmas

Visit the book’s companion website for self-test questions, additional web links and more at:

Chapter 1: Rights Theory: Considering Business Ethics in Terms of Stakeholder Rights
Chapter 2: Utilitarianism: Maximizing the Good Consequences of Business
Chapter 3: Kantian Theory: Reason-based Duty and Business
Chapter 4: Social Contract Theory: Business Obligations, Corporate Wrongdoing, and Just Distribution
Chapter 5: Virtue Theory: Virtue, Purpose, and Flourishing in Business
Chapter 6: Ethical Relativism: Business Ethics and Personal Conviction
Chapter 7: Discourse Ethics: Democratizing Business
Chapter 8: Feminine Ethics: Offering a Different Ethical Perspective on Business
Chapter 9: Environmental Ethics: Business, People, and Nature
Chapter 10: The Responsibilities of Business Executives: Just Looking after Shareholders’ Interests or Taking all Stakeholders into Account?


Click for online resources

For Students:

  • Chapter Summaries
  • Self-test Questions
  • Web-links

For Lecturers:

  • PowerPoint Slides
  • Additional Exercises
  • Notes on the Exercises and Video Activities in the book
  • Additional Videos
  • Assessment Activities

The old joke that business ethics is a contradiction in terms has some truth in it, but in this book Mick Fryer carefully shows us why such confusion is the beginning of wisdom. After all, if ethics was easy, it wouldn't be worth worrying about. So if you want an elegant book about some tough questions, this is the one for you.

Martin Parker
Professor of Culture and Organization, University of Leicester

Business Ethics teachers have been crying out for an up-to-date textbook that takes moral and political philosophy seriously. Mick Fryer's engaging new book does just that by addressing the everyday ethical language of students and then linking this to the full range of theories. Rather than simply telling students what the theories are and then moving on quickly to 'business case' practical applications, he encourages readers to explore and compare ideas, using case studies and practical ethical scenarios.

Professor Peter Ackers
School of Business & Economics, Loughborough University

I intended to use empirical examples of ethical scenarios while teaching. The book, although an excellent resource, does not provide much examples of empirical work.

Dr Lakshmi Balachandran Nair
Department of Methodology & Statistics, Utrecht University
January 24, 2020

This is an easily read publication. It has direct relevance to the module content.

Mr Ian Slaughter
Faculty of Business and Law, Sunderland University
February 2, 2020

I think that this is an excellent book, and I am very pleased that it is available for students studying on my Business Ethics course. The book presents a useful balance of theory and practical examples, in a very helpful and logical way. The “theory in practice” and “pause for reflection” sections are very well designed, and extremely helpful in highlighting the practical implications of theory. From my initial reading of the book, I think it could be a very useful resource for both undergraduate and postgraduate students - as part of a business ethics and/or management course.

Dr David C McConville
Management , National Sun Yat-sen University
February 17, 2016

When the opportunity arises, I will be recommending this to my second year undergraduates. The coverage is good. Its language is plain.

Mr Kenneth Anthony Wilkinson
Dept of Marketing, Ops & Digital Busin, Manchester Metropolitan University
February 15, 2016

Good for undergraduates needing a primer.

Mr Kenneth Anthony Wilkinson
Dept of Marketing, Ops & Digital Busin, Manchester Metropolitan University
June 2, 2016

Good overview over ethical theory, well connected with business practice

Professor Dirk Reiser
Society and economy, University of Applied Sciences Rhine Waal
July 27, 2015

This is one of the best books on Ethics. I recommended it to my students.

Dr Philip Arthur
School of Business, Law and Psychology, Sunderland University
April 4, 2015

Excellent approach to philosophical ethics. Will be recommending that students use this text to develop their understanding of this key area of business ethics.

Dr Sarah Gregory
Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster University
January 13, 2015

Sage College Publishing

You can purchase this book and request an instructor sample on our US College site:

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This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.