The approach taken in this book is very different to many others in the field of business ethics. It does not give direct guidance on how to address a specific ethical issue, instead it shows how a general understanding of business ethics can be applied to decision-making generally. The rationale of the book is based on two simple premises. Firstly, that problems in business ethics cannot be solved by reading a book, doing the right thing in business has to be taught/learned. Secondly, that undertaking this learning process in a ‘live environment’ can be dangerous and expensive.
The learning strategy that Megone and Robinson advocate is the use of case studies as the learning medium, thus avoiding the dangers of having to ‘learn the hard way’. In their book they offer particular case studies by distinguished contributors such as John Edmonds and Gordon Borrie, which serve to demonstrate how experts in the field of business approach ethical problems. However, the point is strongly made that case studies have to be linked to ethical theory for a proper understanding to be had. This is achieved by offering alternative theoretical approaches, two contrasting interpretations of Aristotelian ethical theory and a more pragmatic approach contributed by Sir Adrian Cadbury.
The real strength of this book, which makes its contribution so valuable, is that it offers its readers a variety of different approaches to solving ethical problems and demonstrates how they can be evaluated in the context of case studies. This process leads to an understanding of business ethics, which can be extended into real business situations, ultimately giving confidence to tackle all kinds of ethical decisions without the need to refer to a reference book for guidance. More importantly, as Megone points out, the use of case histories as described in the book…”can play a role not merely in enabling students to achieve understanding of ethical issues, but in changing or developing their behaviour.” I thoroughly recommend it.