Evaluating Business Ethics: Normative Ethical Theories

Arjoon, S. 2000. Virtue Theory as a Dynamic Theory for Business. Journal of Business Ethics, 28(2): 159-178.
This paper suggests that other theories of business ethics are no longer useful and this theory ‘shows firms that pursue ethically-driven strategies can realise a greater profit potential than those firms who currently use profit-driven strategies. The theory expounds that the business of business is ethical business and that the crises that business and society face today are crises of leadership and ethics.’

Audi, R. 2013. Virtue ethics as a resource in business. Business Ethics Quarterly, 22(2): 273-291.
Article distinguishing between ‘virtue ethics’ and ‘role ethics’, which argues virtue ethics can lead to better decision making.

Bowie, N.E. 1999. 'Business Ethics: A Kantian Perspective'. Blackwell Publishers: Oxford.
This book illustrates the implications of Kantian Ethics for business.

Beauchamp, T.L. and Bowie, N.E. 2004. 'Ethical Theory and Business (International Edition'. Prentice Hall: New Jersey.
An examination of ethical theory and its application.

Berumen, M. 2003. 'Do No Evil: Ethics with Applications to Economic Theory and
Business'. iUniverse Inc.: Lincoln, Nebraska.
This book discusses some of the more common ethical theories such as ethics of duty and social contracts theory and argues that moral universality is not based in conceptions of good or welfare of others, but in rational prohibitions.

Browne, M.N., Giampetro-Meyer, A. and Williamson, C. 2004. 'Practical Business Ethics for the Busy Manager'. Prentice Hall: New Jersey.
Common sense, practical approach to ethics.

Crossan, M., Mazutis, D., Seijts, G. 2013. In search of virtue: The role of virtues,   values and character strengths in ethical decision making. Journal of Business Ethics, 113(4): 567-581.
Article on virtue ethics that highlights the link between development of character to individual (and moral) decision making.

Dierksmeier, C. 2013. Kant on virtue. Journal of business ethics, 113(4): 597-609.
Article which shows Kant’s view of virtue.

Donaldson, T. and Dunfee, T. 1994. Toward a Unified Conception of Business Ethics: Integrative Social Contracts Theory. Academy of Management Review, 19(2): 252-284.
This article introduces the idea of integrative social contracts theory.

Floyd, L.A., Xu, F., Atkins, R. and Caldwell, C., 2013. Ethical outcomes and business ethics: Toward improving business ethics education. Journal of Business Ethics, 117(4), pp.753-776.
This article discusses the lack of business ethics education in business schools.

Frohlich, N. and Oppenheimer, J. 2002. Empirical Approaches to Normative Theory. The Good Society, 11(2): 27-32.
Brief article on egoism.

Gould, S. J. (1995). "The Buddhist Perspective on Business Ethics: Experiential Exercises for Exploration and Practice." Journal of Business Ethics, 14(1): 63-72.
This article explains the basic Buddhist perspective and then shows how this perspective can be applied to ethics within business.

Habermas, J. 1990. 'Moral consciousness and communicative action' (C. Lenhardt, & S. Weber Nicholsen, Trans.). Cambridge: Polity Press.
Seminal text on discourse ethics: occasionally challenging, but valuable.

Habermas, J. 1999. 'The inclusion of the other: Studies in political theory' (C. Cronin, Trans.). Cambridge: Polity Press.
An edited collection of Habermas’s more recent work. For those interested in deepening their understanding of discourse ethics.

Hamington, M., & Sander-Staudt, M. (eds.). 2011. Applying Care Ethics to Business. Springer: Dordrecht.
Edited collection on the feminist ethics of care and how it can be applied to business.

Hinman, L.M. 1998. 'Ethics: A Pluralistic Approach to Moral Theory'. Harcourt Brace: Fort Worth.
Provides a description of the major ethical traditions from egoism to the ethics of diversity.

Holtzhausen, D.R., 2015. The unethical consequences of professional communication codes of ethics: A postmodern analysis of ethical decision-making in communication practice. Public Relations Review, 41(5), pp.769-776.
This article analyses the role of professional communication codes of ethics using a postmodern perspective.

Koehn, D. 2013. East meets West: towards a universal ethic of virtue for global business. Journal of Business Ethics, 116(4): 703-715.
Article that seeks synthesis between disparate ethical systems.

Mill, J. S. 1861. Utilitarianism. In J. Gray (Ed.), 'On liberty and other essays', 1991 ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Mill is one of the most important thinkers on utilitarianism: this is the 70-page essay that helped established that reputation.

Rawls, J. (1971). 'A Theory of Justice'. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press.
A seminal work detailing Rawl’s Theory of Justice. This book is a bit tough at times but well worth the read.

Rhodes, C., 2016. Democratic business ethics: Volkswagen’s emissions scandal and the disruption of corporate sovereignty. Organization Studies, 37(10), pp.1501-1518.
This paper critiques corporate business ethics and theorizes an alternative form of ethics for corporations.

Spence, L.J., 2016. Small business social responsibility: Expanding core CSR theory. Business & Society, 55(1), pp.23-55.
This article seeks to redraw stakeholder theory and Carroll’s CSR pyramid through the utilisation of an ethic care.

Wright, J.C., Grandjean, P.T. and McWhite, C.B., 2013. The meta-ethical grounding of our moral beliefs: Evidence for meta-ethical pluralism. Philosophical Psychology, 26(3), pp.336-361.
This study investigated meta-ethical debates between objectivism and relativism.