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Business Ethics Concepts


"The study of proper business policies and practices regarding potentially controversial issues, such as corporate governance, insider trading, bribery, discrimination, corporate social responsibility and fiduciary responsibilities. Business ethics are often guided by law, while other times provide a basic framework that businesses may choose to follow in order to gain public acceptance" (Investopedia, emphasis added).



Codes of Ethics

"Codes of Conduct, Ethical and Professional," from the Encyclopedia of Business Ethics and Society.


There is no comprehensive up-to-date database of ethical codes, but they are easy to find. Go to the "investor relations" or "about us" section of a company's website and look for "governance," "conduct," or "ethics."



Corporate Social Responsibility Reports


The world's largest directory of Corporate Social Responsibility reports is the Corporate Register. This searchable database is free to use, but you must register using your .edu email address.


Many companies that promote their socially responsible practices do so via websites rather than published reports. If you are not able to find a company's report via Corporate Register, try the company's website. Usually the CSR policies and activities will be found in the "About Us" or "Investor Relations" area. Look for terms such as sustainability, supplier diversity, community, corporate giving, and citizenship.


Created 2013 NT

Updated 7/2014 NT


Recommended Reference Books

Reference sources (such as encyclopedias) are an ideal place to find background information on your topic.


Encyclopedia of Business Ethics and Society ebook icon

  • This title is available electronically through Sage E-Reference and also in print (Business Library Reference Stacks: HF5387 .E53 2008)

Encyclopedia of Corporate Social Responsibilityebook icon

  • Available online through SpringerLink. Comprehensive and up to date entries written from a global business perspective.

The A to Z of Corporate Social Responsibility: a complete reference guide to concepts, codes and organisationsebook icon

  • Available online (link above) and in the Business Library Reference Stacks: HD60 .A22 2007

Handbook of Corporate Governance and Social Responsibilityebook icon

  • Available online (link above)

The Oxford Handbook of Business Ethicsebook icon

  • Available online (link above) and in the Business Library Stacks: HF5387 .O95 2010 

The Oxford Handbook of Corporate Social Responsibility

  • Business Library: HD60 .O94 2008


Encyclopedia Indices

Reference Universe

    Provides an index of print and reference works such as dictionaries, handbooks, encyclopedias, and web-based reference works. Searchable by article titles and index terms found in back-of-the-book indexes from wide variety of subject encyclopedias, compendia, handbooks and other reference works. The database allows you to restrict the search to titles available in the University Libraries.

Sage E-Reference

    Search the online version of Sage encyclopedias in humanities, social sciences and business.


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Selected Journals

Business Ethics Quarterly

    Presents articles and reviews about the application of ethics to the business community, particularly global business and economic concerns.

Journal of Academic and Business Ethics

    "Educational issues like plagiarism, academic integrity, academic policy and cheating are typical topics in educational ethics articles. Corporate fraud, sexual harassment, white-collar crime and legislative issues are typical topics in business ethics articles."

Journal of Business Ethics

    "The term 'business' is understood in a wide sense to include all systems involved in the exchange of goods and services, while 'ethics' is circumscribed as all human action aimed at securing a good life. Systems of production, consumption, marketing, advertising, social and economic accounting, labour relations, public relations and organisational behaviour are analysed from a moral viewpoint."

Click this link to search Chinook: Business Ethics -- Periodicals



Best Databases for Articles

Business Source Complete

    Comprehensive index and access to full text articles. Search for scholarly articles from Business Ethics Quarterly, Business & Society Review, and Journal of Corporate Citizenship, among many more.

Conference Board Research Online Collection

    Includes studies of Fortune 500 companies on business trends, leadership decisions, performance excellence, corporate governance, human resources, productivity, and more.


    The Global Reference on the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources focuses on the physical, social, and economic aspects of environmental issues. Content includes articles from scholarly, popular, and news sources, encyclopedia entries, and podcasts.

OECD iLibrary

    Access OECD books, articles, working papers, and statistics. OECD, with 30 member countries, researches economic and social policy in areas such as macroeconomics, trade, education, science, environment, agriculture, technology, and more. Excellent source for global treatment of environmental, social, and trade issues.

Sustainable Organization Library

    Online library of books and journal issues focused on sustainability and social responsibility topics. Texts include case studies on best practice from international organizations; evidence-based research and in-depth analysis from thinkers around the globe.


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General by Topic

Corporate Social Responsibility: Readings and cases in a global context

    "This [book] seeks to understand the contemporary concept of CSR in a global context. This is done by key readings on understanding, applying and managing CSR and integrating them with three global case studies: Nike in Asia, Vodafone in South Africa and ABN AMRO in Brazil."

The Green Scorecard: Measuring the Return on Investment in Sustainability Initiatives ebook icon

    This books focuses on ROI methodology to determine the value of green business practices and sustainability activities.

Sustainable Organization Library

    Online library of books and journal issues focused on sustainability and social responsibility topics. Texts include case studies on best practice from international organizations; evidence-based research and in-depth analysis from thinkers around the globe.


Click the subject terms below to search Chinook for:



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Sources for Rankings by Company or Industry

Ethisphere Institute: World's Most Ethical (WME) Companies

    The Ethisphere Institute's annual list is based on five categories including: ethics and compliance program; reputation, leadership and innovation; governance; corporate citizenship and responsibility; and culture of ethics. Read more about the ranking methodology here: ethisphere.com/worlds-most-ethical/scoring-methodology/


Business Insights: Global


Public Opinion

What do people think of business ethics? Do Americans support environmental regulation? Questions like these can be answered using public opinion data.


How do I... Find Public Opinion Data?




Other Guides

Business Library Research Guides


Affirmative Action Research Guide

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