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Managing Business Ethics_ Straight Talk about How to Do It Right, Fifth Edition

Back in 1993, when we sat down to write the first edition of this book, people wondered
if business ethics was just a fad. At that point, companies were just beginning
to introduce ethics into orientations and management training programs. In academia,
business ethics was just beginning to gain traction as a subject for serious academic
study and some business schools were going so far as to require a business ethics
course to graduate.
Back then there was still the feeling among many experts that business ethics—
like time management, quality circles, and other management buzzwords of the
day—would soon become a footnote in texts that described business fads of the late
twentieth century. Despite multiple waves of scandal over the years, these have often
been portrayed as temporary blips. For example, one prominent business writer for
Fortune Magazine wrote an article in 2007 entitled ‘‘Business is Back!’’ Here’s a
choice excerpt . . . ‘‘It must be said: The shaming is over. The 51
/2 year humiliation
of American business following the tech bubble’s burst and the Lay-Skilling-FastowEbbers-Kozlowski-Scrushy
perp walks that will forever define an era has run its
course. After the pounding and the ridicule, penance has finally been done. No longer
despised by the public, increasingly speaking up and taking stands, beloved again by
investors, chastened and much changed—business is back.’’1 Could he have been
more wrong? Business managed to outdo itself on the shame index yet again just
about a year later. We’ve seen these ethical debacles occur regularly for the past
25 years. As a result, we’re convinced that business ethics is far from a fad. It’s an
ongoing phenomenon that must be better understood and managed and for which
business professionals must be better prepared.
We tell our students that serious ethical scandals often result from multiple parties

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