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Business Ethics

Business Ethics
Contemporary Issues and Cases

Experience with SAGE edge

Business Ethics

February 2019 | 520 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
The future of the free market depends on fair, honest business practices. Business Ethics: Contemporary Issues and Cases aims to deepen students’ knowledge of ethical principles, corporate social responsibility, and decision-making in all aspects of business. The text presents an innovative approach to ethical reasoning grounded in moral philosophy. Focusing on corporate purpose—creating economic value, complying with laws and regulations, and observing ethical standards—a decision-making framework is presented based upon Duties-Rights-Justice. Over 40 real-world case studies allow students to grapple with a wide range of moral issues related to personal integrity, corporate values, and global capitalism. Richard A. Spinello delves into the most pressing issues confronting businesses today including sexual harassment in the workplace, cybersecurity, privacy, and environmental justice.  

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1. Why Capitalism?
What is Capitalism?  
Archetypes of Capitalism  
Capitalism and Its Critics  
Government Institutions and Market Failures  
Moral Culture and Modern Managers  
2. Corporate Moral Agency, Purpose, and Responsibilities
The Corporation and the Triumph of Corporate Rights  
Corporate Moral Agency  
Corporate Purpose  
Corporate Accountability and Economic Mission  
3. Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility
Plato, Aristotle, and Virtue Ethics  
Consequences and Utilitarianism  
Ethics as Duty  
Natural Rights  
Synthesis and Application  
Scope of Corporate Social Responsibility  
4. The Person and the Corporation
Case Study 4.1: Trouble in the Recruiting Office  
Case Study 4.2: Conscience and the Workplace  
Case Study 4.3: Karen Preston’s New Boss  
Case Study 4.4: Confessions of an Appliance Salesman  
Case Study 4.5: The Perfect Job Offer  
Case Study 4.6: The Product Manager  
Case Study 4.7: Telling the Truth about the Probable Sale of a Division  
Case Study 4.8: Should an Engineer Inform the FAA about a Defective Fuselage Design?  
Case Study 4.9: Who's Responsible?  
Appendix A: How to Analyze a Case
5. The Rights of the Modern Corporation
Case Study 5.1: Citizens United vs. The Federal Elections Commission  
Case Study 5.2: The Hobby Lobby Case  
6. Ethics in the Investment and Financial Services Industries
Briefing on Insider Trading  
Case Study 6.1: Texas Gulf Sulphur  
Case Study 6.2: All in the Family: The Stewart Insider Trading Case  
Case Study 6.3: Manipulating the LIBOR  
Case Study 6.4: Fraud or Shrewd Business? The Case of Goldman Sachs  
Case Study 6.5: The Wells Fargo Sales Scam  
7. Patient’s, Patents, and the Pharmaceutical Industry
Note on Patents and Intellectual Property Rights  
Briefing on Big Pharma and Industry Regulations  
Case Study 7.1: The New Economics of Drug Pricing: Valeant Pharmaceuticals International  
Case 7.2: Big Pharma Confronts AIDS  
Case Study 7.3: Myriad Genetics: Patenting the Genome  
8. Marketing, Product Liability, and Safety
Briefing: Spotlight on the Tobacco Industry  
Case Study 8.1: Plain Packaging and the Ongoing Trials of Big Tobacco  
Briefing on Safety and the U. S. Automotive Industry  
Case Study 8.2: The Chevy Cobalt Ignition Switch Crisis  
Case Study 8.3: Takata’s Airbag: Unsafe in Any Car?  
Case Study 8.4: The Samsung Recall: A Galaxy of Troubles  
9. Business and the Environment
Case Study 9.1: Poisoned Land: The Tragic History of Love Canal  
Case Study 9.2: Deepwater Horizon: British Petroleum on the Edge  
Case Study 9.3: Volkswagon’s Dieselgate  
Case Study 9.4: Chevron in the Amazon: Anatomy of Environmental Degradation and its Aftermath  
10. Informational Privacy and Cybersecurity
Briefing on Privacy Rights  
Case Study 10.1: Data Breaches at Yahoo  
Case Study 10.2: Going Dark: Apple Versus the FBI  
11. Fair Competition in the Information Economy
Case Study 11.1: Microsoft Accused: The Browser Wars and the Anti-Trust Case  
Case Study 11.2: Challenging the Google Monopoly  
12. Employee Rights and Sexual Harassment
Briefing on Duties to Employees  
Case Study 12.1: Sexual Harassment of Imprudence?  
Case Study 12.2: Voluntary Redundancies at PSA Group  
Case Study 12.3: GPS Monitoring and Employee Privacy Rights: Excepts from Cunningham v. New York State Department of Labor  
13. Global Political Activism and Disinvestment
Briefing on the History and Challenges of Globalization  
Case Study 13.1: ITT in Chile: Corporate Executives and Marxist Presidents  
Case Study 13.2: Rubber at any Price: Firestone and the African Strongman  
14. Bribery and Corruption in Foreign Markets
Briefing on Bribery and the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)  
Case Study 14.1: GlaxoSmithKline in China  
Case Study 14.2: Seeds of Scandal at Monsanto  
Case Study 14.3: The Resource Curse and Equatorial Guinea  
15. Responsible Sourcing: Fair Wages and Worker Safety
Case Study 15.1: Worker Abuses in the Supply Chain: The Disturbing Case of Apple in China  
Case Study 15.2: Sweatshops and Deathtraps: The Garment Industry in Bangladesh  


Instructor Teaching Site 

Instructor Teaching Site (Password Protected) 

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  • Test banks provide a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.       
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for your course. 
  • Multimedia Resources that include meaningful web links to facilitate further exploration of topics covered in the reading.
  • Instructor Manual containing lecture notes, teaching tips, answers to text questions, and additional activities.
Student Study Site

Student Study Site (Open Access)  
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  • Mobile-friendly eFlashcards strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts.   
  • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes allow for independent assessment by students of their mastery of course material.       
  • Chapter summaries with learning objectives reinforce the most important material. 
  • Multimedia Resources that include meaningful web links to facilitate further exploration of topics covered in the reading.

“A text with strong case studies and ‘to-the-point’ content.”

Rochelle Brooks
Viterbo University

“Fresh new look at business ethics using the most up-to-date, relevant cases, to make it easy for our students and business leaders to improve our world, one ethical dilemma at a time.”

Lisa M. Sticca Conrod
Fairfield University

“Finally, a textbook that allows students to understand contemporary ethical considerations. This textbook offers thought provoking case studies that allow students to determine their personal ethics and how they arrived at those decisions.”

Joni A. Koegel
Cazenovia College

“Finally, a textbook that allows students to understand contemporary ethical considerations. This textbook offers thought provoking case studies that allow students to determine their personal ethics and how they arrived at those decisions.”

Joni A. Koegel
Cazenovia College

“The textbook is a refreshing take on business ethics from professors with a vast amount of experience in the field.”

Travis Dalton
Columbia College

“This book truly highlights contemporary issues in the field of business ethics. The cases are timely and relevant examples of the new frontiers in the field, and the emphasis on a rights-based personal ethics approach is fresh and unique.”

William S. Brown
Marist College

“A well rounded ethics case book.”

Gail O’Connor

“Dr. Spinello brings a fresh, new approach to ethical considerations on very contemporary topics to a text that can provide insight and understanding to today’s undergraduate student.”

Troy D. Irick
Huntington University

“This is a comprehensive text that brings today’s ethics into focus for the student.”

Mark M. Alexander
Fontbonne University
Key features


  • Recent and provocative cases, such as Hobby Lobby, Volkswagen's Dieselgate, and data breaches at Yahoo offers current material that students will want to engage with.
  • The book’s interdisciplinary approach integrating perspectives from all social sciences to business ethics will appeal to a broad array of students.
  • An emphasis on global capitalism and global ethical issues offers interested students a look at multinational ethical behavior.
  • Presents a unique, decision-making approach to ethical theory using the Duties-Rights-Justice Framework.
  • Chapter on Employee Rights and Sexual Harassment explores organizations’ responsibility to protect employees from abusive and threatening behavior.

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ISBN: 9781506368054