Standard Article

Business Ethics

  1. Wayne Norman

Published Online: 1 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444367072.wbiee719

The International Encyclopedia of Ethics

How to Cite

Norman, W. 2013. Business Ethics. The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 FEB 2013


“Business ethics” is a concise, but in many ways misleading, label for an interdisciplinary field covering a vast range of normative issues in the world of commerce. The label lends itself most directly to a core set of questions about how individuals in the business world ought to behave, or what principles they might appeal to in order to negotiate moral dilemmas at work. But if we consider the array of topics covered in the leading business ethics journals or textbooks, we see that these core issues about individual virtues and ethical decision-making are surrounded by layers of issues involving organizations and institutions. In other words, business ethics in the broadest sense also inquires about the most appropriate or just designs for firms, markets, market regulations, and political oversight in a democratic society and a globalized economy.


  • business ethics;
  • business and management;
  • corporate governance;
  • government, politics, and law;
  • law;
  • leadership;
  • practical (applied) ethics;
  • autonomy;
  • benefit-cost analysis;
  • conflict of interest