New book by School of Administrative Studies professor explores business ethics

Have you ever faced an ethical dilemma while at work?  What would you do if your manager took credit for your work?  If you discover you made a minor mistake in a report you already sent to the client, would you disclose you made the mistake?  Would you hire the child of an important client, over more qualified candidates? These are just some of the ethical situations one can experience in the workplace discussed in a new book by York Professor Mark Schwartz.

Mark Schwartz

After teaching and conducting research in the field of business ethics for more than 20 years, Schwartz, from the School of Administrative Studies in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS), felt there was a need for a new business ethics book.

“My book helps to fill a void by focusing on the process of ethical decision making, which in my view represents a key dimension underpinning the entire business ethics field,”  he said.

Schwartz’s new book, Business Ethics: An Ethical Decision-Making Approach, published by Wiley-Blackwell (April 2017), brings together cutting-edge research, current media stories of ethical misconduct, as well as portrayals of business ethics in Hollywood movies.  A series of new theoretical frameworks are proposed in the book, including Schwartz’s “Integrated Ethical Decision-Making Model” which helps explain the process of ethical decision-making.  This process includes overcoming the impediments to ethical behaviour such as improper framing, biases, psychological tendencies, moral rationalizations, and the impact of self-interest.

The book also includes Schwartz’s “Multifaceted Approach” to ethical decision making, which as a normative framework includes Schwartz’s “3Ps” to always ask such as the public test (would you want your decision publicly disclosed?), the parent  test (what would you tell your child to do?), and the pillow test (will your decision allow you to sleep peacefully at night?). Schwartz applies his descriptive and normative decision-making frameworks to a series of common business ethics issues and dilemmas employees and managers might face in the workplace, placing them into categories such as moral temptations, stand up for ethics, and ethical trade-offs.

Schwartz’s book also discusses the pillars to developing and sustaining an ethical corporate culture in business firms, to help diminish the extent of ethical situations arising in the first place. The book concludes with a series of practical recommendations for how employees and managers can best navigate the moral high road when making ethical decisions.  Schwartz says he is proud that his new book is part of the Foundations of Business Ethics series, which according to series editors Michael Hoffman and Robert Frederick are written by an assembly of the most distinguished figures in business ethics. Schwartz’s other recent books include Corporate Social Responsibility: An Ethical Approach (Broadview Press, 2011), and as co-editor, Business Ethics: Readings and Cases in Corporate Morality (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014).

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