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Book review - How to integrate ethics across the business world and into an MBA curriculum

Business ethics have been in the spotlight since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008. Many business schools have discussed how to integrate and how to teach business ethics in their MBA curriculum and quite a few have taken actions as well. But business ethics is not as easily taught as accounting where hard facts prevail. A recently published book aims at being a useful support tool for exactly this integration process.

“Business Ethics, A Critical Approach: Integrating Ethics Across the Business World” does not only look at ethics questions from all different angles, it also showcases business cases and the moral questions they rise. The book is therefore not only an ideal support for students throughout their business studies – it also gives useful ideas how to integrate the topic during class work.

The comprehensive book was edited by Patrick O'Sullivan, Mark Smith and Mark Esposito from the Grenoble Graduate School of Business and brings together contributions from a range of experts in different areas of business studies. Essays as well as case studies explore events such as Trafigura's illegal dumping of toxic waste in Côte d’Ivoire, BP's environmentally disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Apple’s monitoring of emails, the recruitment styles of pharmaceutical companies like Glaxosmithkline and Novartis, Delta Airlines’ involvement with a breast cancer research foundation and Hewlett-Packard’s spying scandal.

The book also examines topics like Islamic finance that has been growing rapidly over the years providing a useful introduction whilst also addressing ethical issues that come with it. Another chapter covers ethical issues for human resource managers for example.

Using four guiding principles – a critical multi-level approach rooted in the tradition of European social theory, a comparative and international perspective, a global rather than just a European or American stand point and engaging with subject-specific issues – the book aims for business ethics to be integrated across all other business disciplines.

Business Ethics A Critical Approach: Integrating Ethics Across the Business World
Edited by Patrick O'Sullivan, Mark Smith, Mark Esposito, Routledge – 370 pages

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