• Summary
  • Contents

This guide to business ethics provides key terms and concepts related to business ethics in a short, easy-to-use format. It provides objective coverage of theories, corporate social responsibility, human resources issues, consumer protection, and ethical issues in marketing and advertising. It is an ideal supplement for business ethics courses or as a reference for students and practitioners who would like to learn more about the basics of business ethics.


Utilitarianism represents an old and distinguished tradition in moral philosophy, the influence of which extends to law, economics, public policy, and other realms and is evident in much of our everyday moral thinking. Two fundamental ideas underlie utilitarianism: first, that the results of our actions are the key to their moral evaluation and, second, that one should assess and compare those results in terms of the happiness or unhappiness they cause (or, more broadly, in terms of their impact on people's well-being). Both these ideas have been around for a long time; one can glimpse hints of them in philosophical and religious writings going back thousands of years. However, as an explicitly and self-consciously formulated ethical theory, utilitarianism is just over 200 years old.

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