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TitleBusiness Ethics and Values
TagsSustainability Corporate Social Responsibility Business Ethics Value (Ethics) Governance
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Total Pages606
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Page 1

An imprint of

Business Ethics and Values introduces students to the complexities and
principles of ethical issues by focusing on developing ethical awareness
and the ability to argue business ethics matters. A proven resource, the
second edition of this text continues to present a successful blend of
concrete issues and academic theory, suitable for undergraduate and
postgraduate students with or without practical experience of the world
of organisations. It gives as much importance to individual conscience at
work as it does to socially responsible behaviour at the corporate level
and within the global business world.

Hallmark features:

• Broad coverage of the many issues in this subject ensures that
students see the whole picture.

• The use of real-world case studies and simulations helps to stimulate
debate and appreciate the multi-faceted aspects of ethical arguments.

New to this edition:

• New material on the ethics of e-communication, sustainability and the
ethical impact of globalisation ensures that students are learning from
the most up-to-date material available.

• Further analysis of Anglo-American approaches to corporate
governance and their ethical underpinnings.

• Short test and assignment questions at the end of each chapter help
students to consolidate their learning.

• More simulation exercises and activities give students the opportunity
to reflect on their attitudes to this engaging subject.

• A well-developed supplements package to support tutors and students
includes an instructor’s manual, PowerPoint slides and a companion
website at

Colin Fisher is Professor of Managerial Ethics and Values, Nottingham
Business School, Nottingham Trent University.

Alan Lovell is Professor of Organisational Accountability and Head of the
Department of Accounting, Finance & Economics, Nottingham Business
School, Nottingham Trent University.

Individual, Corporate and International Perspectives













l, C







l P




Colin Fisher
Alan Lovell

Second Edition


Additional student support at


Cover image:
Photographer Angelo Cavalli

© Getty Images/
Photographer’s Choice

0273694782_COVER 10/10/05 11:09 AM Page 1

Page 2

Business Ethics and Values

Visit the Business Ethics and Values, second edition Companion Website at to find valuable student learning material

• Links to relevant sites on the web
• New case material and discussion and commentary on case studies

contained within the book
• Commentaries on suggested assignment briefs contained within the book
• Answers to the quick revision tests
• Updates including group work exercises and postings concerning

contemporary issues and how the ethical arguments and theories discussed
in the book relate to current ‘hot topics’

BUEV_A01.QXD 13/9/06 1:48 AM Page i

Page 303

7: Whistleblower or witness? 277

and are associated with a loss of self-esteem. This is illustrated in Figure 7.1. A
fuller account of the issues relating to this framework is given in Lovell (2002).

The framework possesses two layers. The first of these is concerned with two
non-organisational factors that are significant in shaping the third element, that
of the individual’s personal autonomy. The three elements of layer 1 are:

• The individual’s personal value system, born of past experiences, including
family values and perspectives (both nature and nurture are included).

• Broader societal values, which are unlikely to be homogenous or consistent.

• The feeling of personal autonomy held by the individual.

Layer 2 also possesses three elements, which are context specific. These are:

• Values derived from within the organisation.

• The ethical intensity of a situation or problem felt by the concerned employee.

• The support from others, normally organisational colleagues, both peers and
hierarchical superiors, and family, but also support groups, professional asso-
ciations, etc.

In Figure 7.1 the six cells are shown as the same size. However, the figure can be
used to describe the relative importance of the six elements in different potential
whistleblowing situations. The relative size of the cells is contingent on the
specifics of each case.

The emboldened part of Figure 7.1 represents an inflexible organisational
boundary. If an ethically charged situation develops in which the position of the
troubled employee is at loggerheads with the senior management, it is likely that
the organisational mores/strength of practices will flex and grow in scale. With
the boundaries of Figure 7.1 fixed, either one or more of the other elements has
to shrink, or a fracture in the boundary will occur. If this happens, then confine-
ment of the problem within the organisation will have ceased and an external
whistleblowing situation could follow.

If the troubled employee wishes to retain employment within the organisa-
tion, but retains a belief that the organisational practice is wrong, their personal
autonomy will need to shrink to accommodate organisational/managerial inter-
ests. As a consequence of this diminution of personal autonomy, the ability to
exercise moral agency is driven out.

Organisational values/
strength of practices

Support of othersIntensity of problemLAYER 2

LAYER 1 Personal autonomy Societal valuesPersonal values

Figure 7.1 Elements of ethical complexity

BUEV_C07.QXD 5/10/05 3:44 pm Page 277

Page 304

278 Individuals’ responses to ethical issues

Effectively an individual’s personal autonomy acts as a type of shock absorber,
allowing confinement of the issue within the organisational boundary. As a con-
sequence, however, the confidence of the suppressed whistleblower can be
severely affected. This was particularly so with respect to the individual featured
in Case study 7.6. The shrinking of personal autonomy is also significant in Case
study 7.8.

Case study

The charity

G possessed a strong religious faith, which reflected his family upbringing. He
worked for an internationally known charitable organisation, whose raison
d’être was love, understanding, tolerance and forgiveness. During the initial
interview G revealed that he had an interesting example of principle that was
live at the time of the interview. Having recently attended a seminar on value-
added-tax (VAT), G had realised that a practice operated by the charity was
liable to VAT, but the practice had never been declared for VAT purposes. On
returning from the seminar G brought the matter to the attention of the direc-
tors, believing that the correct approach would be to notify Customs and
Excise and to discuss the issue with them. G was very aware that the charity
could not afford to repay the sums that were now clearly owing to Customs
and Excise, but G believed that Customs and Excise would agree that the VAT
rules were never intended to apply to charities like his own, and at worst the
charity would need to lobby Parliament and the Treasury to get the rules
changed retrospectively. Being an internationally known charity that attracted
widespread public support, G believed this would be possible.

At a subsequent meeting with G, he was clearly less buoyant than at the
first meeting. He described how the charity’s solicitors had been contacted to
obtain a legal ruling on the practice in question and they had confirmed G’s
assessment. However, the attitude of the senior management towards G was
not one of gratitude, but rather coolness, even a degree of wariness. At the
third meeting with G, he revealed that the affair had been a sickening experi-
ence for him. The legal advice had been that the practice should be
terminated immediately, but that no mention should be made to Customs
and Excise. The belief was that Customs and Excise would demand a refund of
the unpaid taxes and that the probability of the Treasury seeking a change to
taxation legislation to exclude the charity from future liability was low, with
no chance of retrospective legislation. G’s wishes to be honest and ‘come
clean’ with Customs and Excise’ were dismissed as naïve. What particularly
vexed and troubled him was that he was now, in his own words, ‘perceived as
a potential whistleblower’. His relationship with members of the charity’s
Board of Directors had changed from a close and friendly one to one charac-
terised by considerable wariness and mistrust. He had no intention of
whistleblowing (out of loyalty to the organisation, not to the senior manage-
ment), but it hurt greatly to come face to face with his organisational
impotency, when he had thought that he and his work were highly valued.

BUEV_C07.QXD 5/10/05 3:44 pm Page 278

Page 605

Index 579

Tripathi, R.C. 422
Trompenaars, F. 428, 440

in codes of ethics 389
and corporate governance 321–2
lack of 232

truth 125
importance of 227

Tsogas, G. 423
Turnbull Report 302
Turner, C.T. 94
Tutu, D. 105
Tversky, A. 183
two-way social contract 372–3
Type 1 conflict 232
Type 2 conflict 232

UN Commissioner for Human Rights 494–5
UN Conference on Climate Change (2004) 339,

UN Global Compact 306, 308–11, 316, 345, 347,

and global governance 494–5
and sustainability 511

UN Industrial Development Organisation
(UNIDO) 495

uncertainty 171
Uncertainty avoidance 428–9, 430
unhappy consciousness 445–6

dialectic of 450–1
Unilever 495
Union Carbide 469–70
Union Oil Company of California (Unocal) 507
United Nations 53, 338, 361, 423, 487
United Nations Brundtland Commission 338,

United Nations Declarations of Human Rights

113, 423
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

universal values 422–7
universality test 138, 142
Upanishads 431
US Sentencing Commission (1991) 378
usefulness 161
usury 441–2
utilitarianism 127–36, 460
utility 133–4, 228

values 152
fragmented 420
as heuristics 186–202

modernist view 158–9, 168
neo-traditional view 159–60, 168
perceptions of 154–66
postmodern view 160–1, 162, 168
pragmatic view 161–6
and priority setting 189
and resource allocation 197–201
traditional view 157–8, 168

van Buttenen, P. 281
van de Vijver, W. 72–3
van der Veer, J. 73
Vandevelde, L. 60
Vardy, P. 41
Vass, P. 68
Vedanta school 431–2
veto level criteria 137
victimisation 270
Virgin Atlantic 86–7
virtue, changing perceptions of 106–7
virtue ethics 101–7, 118, 138
virtuous mean test 138, 141
Vision 2020 315
Viswesvaran, C. 422
voluntary codes by MNEs 488–94
von Hayek, F. 21, 30
Voyle, S. 90
Vroom, V.H. 27

Wakefield, J. 393
Wallace, M. 64
Wallach, L. 364–5
Wallach, M.A. 364–5
Walsham, G. 433
Walters, J.A. 391, 404
Walzer, M. 23, 28, 29
Warburg 495
Warren, R.C. 287, 378, 383, 391
waste disposal 510
Watchman, R. 75
Waterman, R. 159, 433
Watkins, S. 263–4
Watson, T.J. 27, 96, 171, 204, 386, 486
Watts, Sir P. 72–3
Weaver, M. 62
Weber, M. 486
Webley, S. 11–14
Weick, K.E. 155–6, 454
Weill, S. 61
Welford, R. 360
Wells, M. 470
Werhane, P.H. 519, 520–1
Wheen, F. 169

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Page 606

580 Index

whistleblowing 55–6
costs of 281
as force in society 272–85
and public safety 269
reasons for 263–7
suppressed 276–85
when justified 268–72
when performed 262–3

Whysall, P. 126, 127
Wilde, O. 519
Willmott, H. 27–8, 229, 399
Wilson, B. 92
Wilson, T. 363
Windsor, D. 311
Wines, A.W. 422
Winfield, M. 261, 263
Wink, P. 246
Winstanley, D. 54, 202
Winter, R. 246
wisdom 102, 105
Wise, A. 84
witness 260
Wolf, M. 311
Wollstonecraft, M. 113–14, 158
Wood, D.J. 296–7
Woodall, J. 202
Woodbury, M. 395
Woodcock, M. 187
World Bank 317, 465, 466, 474, 487

neo-liberal economics of 513, 516

The World Business Council for Sustainable
Development 370

World Commission on the Social Dimension of
Globalization (WCSDG) 460, 462, 467–8,

World Development Movement 513
World Health Assembly (WHA) 489
World Health Organisation (WHO) 489
World Trade Organization (WTO) 52, 313, 317, 423

and globalisation 465, 466, 487
neo-liberal economics of 513

World Vision 516
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) 346, 516
WorldCom 73, 269, 271, 301–2, 304, 526–7
wrong actions 41, 42
Wynn, W. 507–8
Wyschograd, E. 162

Yadav, L.P. 7
Yang, A.A. 485
‘Yes Men Group’ 470
Yeung, L.N.T. 421
Yoga school 431
Youngblood, S.A. 247
Yuganskneftegaz 471
Yukos 471

Zeiss organisation 378
Zoro Garments 493
Zoroastrianism 431

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