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Behavioral Business Ethics: The Journey from Foundations to Future

Business Ethics

ISBN: 978-1-78973-684-7, eISBN: 978-1-78973-683-0

Publication date: 7 June 2019


The field of behavioral business ethics has come a long way since its inception nearly five decades ago. Pioneered in part in response to a number of high-profile corporate scandals, the early field of business ethics was thought by many to be a fad that would recede along with the salience of the scandals of the day. Yet, this could not have been further from the truth. The need for behavioral business ethics research remains ever-present, as evidenced by the sustained number of scandals and unethical behavior within and by organizations. Moreover, research in this area has burgeoned. In the 1980s, only 54 articles had been published on this topic (Tenbrunsel & Smith-Crowe, 2008); today, a similar search yields over 3,000 “hits.” In light of the area’s growth, we suggest the need to take a look back at the seminal work that sparked social scientific work in the field. In particular, this chapter has two main objectives. First, we provide a review of select foundational work. In so doing, we identify some of the key trends that characterized early knowledge development in the field. Second, we draw on this historical context to consider how past trends relate to current work and speak to future research opportunities.



Kish-Gephart, J.J., Treviño, L.K., Chen, A. and Tilton, J. (2019), "Behavioral Business Ethics: The Journey from Foundations to Future", Business Ethics (Business and Society 360, Vol. 3), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 3-34.



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