Behavioral business ethics: The journey from foundations to future

Jennifer J. Kish-Gephart, Linda Klebe Trevino, Anjier Chen, Jacqueline Tilton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

12 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBusiness Ethics
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages32
ISBN (Electronic)9781789736854
ISBN (Print)9781789736847
StatePublished - Jun 7 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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