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Small business ethics refers to social issues and business ethics in small and medium-sized private businesses. Despite the fact that by most measures 99% of private business organizations are small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), probably 99% of research on business ethics and society is on large firms and multinationals in particular, giving us a very limited understanding of the relevant issues for small firms.

One of the difficulties of this subject area is the varied approaches to defining “small” business. The usual parameters include number of employees, turnover, sector-specific characteristics, and selfdefinition. The European Union definition is relatively simple, with small and medium-sized firms being defined as having fewer than 250 employees. The Small Business Administration in the United States offers industry-sector-specific definitions, using turnover and ...

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