Book Review – Encyclopedia of Business Ethics and Society!



The five volumes of this ultimate resource recognize the inherent unity between business ethics and business and society, that stems from their shared primary concern with value in commerce. This Encyclopedia spans the relationships among business, ethics, and society by including more than 800 entries that feature broad coverage of corporate social responsibility, the obligation of companies to various stakeholder groups, the contribution of business to society and culture, and the relationship between organizations and the quality of the environment.

To understand the coverage of this work, it is helpful to review the distinction between the two academic fields of study covered: business ethics and business and society. Relying on the methodology of Western philosophical tradition, business ethics specifies the principles under which businesses must operate to behave ethically.

Encyclopedia of Business Ethics and Society

Business and society uses the empirical tools of the social sciences to explore the entire range of interactions between business entities and the societies in which they operate. Value questions in commerce are the shared primary concern of each discipline.

Thus, the Encyclopedia of Business Ethics and Society covers philosophers, ethical concepts, and economic theories as well as applied ethical issues of social and political relevance such as Corporate accountability, Deceptive advertising, Environmental ethics, Executive compensation, Workplace privacy, and businesses’ myriad interactions with customers and employees. In total, the set addresses nearly 900 topics in signed, alphabetically arranged essays ranging in length from about 500 words (for people and organizations) to almost 11,000 words (for topics such as Corporate citizenship, Property and property rights, and Stakeholder theory). Each entry has see also references and a list of further readings. A “Reader’s Guide” organizes the entries into 22 themes and dimensions, among the largest of which are “Applied Ethics,” “Economics and Business,” and “Legislation and Regulation.” [wp_ad_camp_1]

Encyclopedia of Business Ethics and Society

Although there are entries for a number of corporations (e.g., Dow Corning, Enron, Nike, Tyco, and WorldCom), the reader will want to refer to the 142-page index to locate references to other companies. Wal-Mart, for instance, is referenced in more than 10 essays dealing with topics such as predatory pricing, philanthropy, and resistance to unions. The Ford Pinto is discussed in its own entry, while Ford Motor Company is also discussed in entries dealing with paternalism and shareholder activism, among others. An appendix offers a selected guide to the literature, with brief descriptions of relevant academic journals, trade publications, book series, databases, and blogs. This well-written, comprehensive work will be a standard reference source for students, scholars, and practitioners interested in the relationships among business, ethics, and society. Recommended for academic and large public libraries. –Janice Lewis

About the Author

Robert W. Kolb is Professor of Finance and the Frank W. Considine Chair of Applied Ethics in the business school at Loyola University Chicago. Kolb’s career as a finance professor spans almost three decades and includes appointments at the University of Florida, Emory University, and the University of Miami, where he served as department chair and as the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Finance. Recently he was Professor of Finance and Assistant Dean for Business and Society at the University of Colorado at Boulder. There he led the school’s program in business ethics and business and society.

He has published more than 50 academic research articles and more than 20 books. In 1990, he founded Kolb Publishing Company to publish finance and economics university texts, built the company’s list over the ensuing years, and sold the firm to Blackwell Publishers of Oxford, England, in 1995.

He also recently published the sixth edition of Understanding Futures Markets and the fifth edition of Futures, Options, and Swaps (both with James A. Overdahl). He recently edited three monographs: The Ethics of Executive Compensation, The Ethics of Genetic Commerce, and Corporate Retirement Security: Social and Ethical Issues.

Encyclopedia of Business Ethics and Society

He is the general editor for the five-volume Encyclopedia of Business Ethics and Society. He earned two Ph.D.s from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (one in philosophy, in 1974, and the other in finance, in 1978).

© 2016