The Challenges of Ethics and Entrepreneurship in the Global Environment: Volume 25

Cover of The Challenges of Ethics and Entrepreneurship in the Global Environment

Table of contents

(12 chapters)

List of Contributors

Pages vii-viii
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Entrepreneurial pursuits are all situational and relative. Business opportunities come and go based on many fluid factors. Those factors are also multidimensional, as market pressures and demands, skills of entrepreneurs, resources of entrepreneurs, and environmental factors make each opportunity and execution strategy unique. Since every entrepreneurial venture is essentially a one-of-a-kind enterprise, each startup is a chance for the entrepreneur to express their unique vision, values, and goals. Philosophers would recognize this exercise as existential in nature. This paper explains how reading existential literature provides inspirational heroes for entrepreneurs seeking to build companies that stand out from their peers. The paper provides an overview and history of existentialism and then applies it to entrepreneurship. The paper is conceptual and provides a brief overview of existentialism and explains how it relates to entrepreneurship. It provides a collection of existential writings that relate to entrepreneurship. Guidance for reading and applying the literature is given. Existentialism is a subject that has not been covered in the entrepreneurship literature. Thus, the paper introduces this popular philosophical perspective to the entrepreneurship literature. The authors hope to create interesting discussions between philosophy and entrepreneurship scholars.


In e-commerce, consumers have begun to rely on the opinions of fellow consumers who posted through online consumer reviews to a reputation management system. An ethical concern has arisen in the use and abuse of these new systems. We examine the underlying ethical issues that entrepreneurs are confronting in this time of surging e-commerce. Using 32 vignettes, one for each cross-section of our research construct framework, followed by two Likert scales for respondents to indicate their agreement with the action described from both the perspective of ethicality and professional acceptability, we received responses for 1,252 vignettes, which generated a dataset of 2,504 data points. The results of our pilot study suggest that the ethical considerations for business professionals conducting business online are more nuanced and complex than conventional wisdom on the subject might suggest. While 60 research subjects are small, the use of paired vignettes in our survey allowed us to measure at least 1,000 paired responses for each research construct. The results have the potential of revealing how young professionals have been conditioned by the prevalence of web-based interactions and the anonymity they afford participants, as well as the degree to which they rationalize the misrepresentation of information by business professionals for the purpose of manipulating consumers’ purchasing decisions in order to drive sales. If consumers’ trust in reputation management systems erodes, the result could be a collapse of the entire system as a meaningful source of information. We also demonstrate the tolerance of what is deemed ethical versus professionally acceptable with online business practices.


Initial public offerings (IPOs) have been a focus of qualitative and quantitative research since the 1960s. However, the majority of research emanates from the fields of finance and management, with very little coming from the field of ethics. In this paper, we attempt to fill this gap by answering the question: Does the IPO process change a company’s ethical culture? In order to answer this question we examined S-1 filings made by companies before they went public. We used text-mining techniques to identify words that are uniquely related to corporate social responsibility (CSR) in those filings. We then used linear regression to compare those word counts to data produced by CSRHub. Companies that include words related to CSR tend to score better on various CSR measures. This evidence can support several explanatory theories, such as companies that take the time and effort to discuss CSR concepts in their S-1s make ethics a priority and therefore score higher on CSR ratings. Similarly, companies that had never formally thought about their ethical culture might feel, under the pressure of an IPO, to think about what kind of company the owners and leadership want it to be in the long run. Our study only analyzed companies three years post-IPO and did not control for certain variables. This paper is the first of its kind to discuss and, more importantly, attempt to quantify the impact of the IPO process on a company’s ethical culture. We hope that by understanding how the IPO process influences companies in terms of ethics, companies can more easily develop and maintain ethical cultures pre- and post-IPO.


The need for entrepreneurs to engage in guerrilla behavior is heavily emphasized by entrepreneurship educators and practitioners. Yet such behavior often has serious ethical implications. The purpose of this study is to establish an assessment framework that provides ethical guidance to entrepreneurs engaged in guerrilla behaviors. A theoretical foundation for assessing the ethics of guerrilla behavior is established. The entrepreneurial context and how it gives rise to the need for guerrilla actions are examined. The guerilla concept is explored and criteria are outlined for labeling a given action or approach as being guerrilla in nature. Different forms or types of guerrilla approaches are introduced. Five primary ethical dimensions to be considered in evaluating a given guerrilla approach are identified. Examples are provided of how these dimensions can be applied to assess the ethics of three different successful guerrilla campaigns. An integrated matrix is introduced for use in evaluating guerrilla campaigns that consider our ethical dimensions together with leading theoretical perspectives on ethical action. Based on how a given guerrilla approach is scored when using the assessment matrix, conclusions are drawn for its appropriateness. By using a mix of the deontological, utilitarian and virtue-based frameworks, it becomes possible to determine the relative ethics of any given guerrilla action once implemented, and actions can be taken to either modify or abandon the action. Further, the concepts developed in this paper can be useful in ensuring new guerrilla actions are more ethical when they are first conceptualized or designed. Four design elements can be systematically applied to decisions that unfold as the guerrilla action is being formulated: resources and providers, disclosure, stakeholder effects, and inferences/conclusions. A number of suggestions for ongoing research are provided based on the work presented here.


The task of this paper is to critique the ethics of an university entrepreneurship curriculum. For what purpose is entrepreneurship curriculum designed? Who decides what is to be included in an entrepreneurship curriculum? Ethics has a plurality and implies moral judgment informed by any individual’s values. In applying entrepreneurship education the rationale and justification of what is offered and why should be clear. The paper provides a synthesis conducted on an extant literature review on the ethics of an entrepreneurship curriculum, entrepreneurship education stakeholders, and stakeholder rights and obligations. An ethics enquiry framework is concluded that entrepreneurship education curriculum designers can apply to surface the assumptions underpinning the curriculum and assist educators to be clear and explicit about the intent and ambitions for an entrepreneurship education curriculum design. While this paper develops a framework, it has yet to be tested. Further research can examine specific sets of stakeholder expectations, variations in obligations among regulatory or institutional settings, explicitly examine the range of effects of an entrepreneurship curriculum, and report the usability and practical relevance of such an evaluative framework. Ethics in entrepreneurship education is under-researched and more particularly the ethics of the entrepreneurship curriculum appears to have rarely been questioned. Entrepreneurship education lays the foundation for the future actions of those who shape and socially structure entrepreneurship. Therefore, as educators, there is a greater responsibility for ensuring that the education provided meets certain expectations of and obligations to various stakeholder groups.


We explore the current landscape of business ethics and entrepreneurship within the undergraduate business school curricula and programmatic structure. We then present a couple of approaches we have used to advance the understanding and teaching of business ethics and entrepreneurship as a set of foundational principles.

As contextual framing for our analysis we convened eight colloquia/workshops over the past three years that bring a wide-ranging group of business school faculty, scholars in complementary disciplines, and business practitioners into a small-group setting to have in-depth conversations about the role of business ethics and entrepreneurship within the business school. Data used in our analysis catalog the ways and the degree to which AACSB-accredited business schools focus their undergraduate curricula and degree program structure on ethics and entrepreneurship. Working through publically available data, primarily from business school websites, we use content analysis as a framework for statistical analysis of the alignment between how a business school articulates strategic focus (mission, vision, and purpose statements) and how it structures its curricular offerings and degree programs. Most business schools continue to operationalize their approach to business ethics and entrepreneurship as programmatic appendages rather than a foundational set of knowledge and skills that are central to the school’s teaching mission. In general, business schools are missing an opportunity to teach practical business ethics and principled entrepreneurship as the central driving force in value-creating activities within all organizations.

Cover of The Challenges of Ethics and Entrepreneurship in the Global Environment
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Advances in the Study of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Economic Growth
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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