My research and publications over the past 25 years can be related to two major themes: building up the case for business ethics education in UK Business schools, and the development of a virtue ethics approach to institution building in business and management. My business ethics research papers have been focused on the exploration and use of virtue theory as an approach to applied ethics in the context of business and organisational life, exploring subjects such as loyalty, codes of conduct, executive remuneration, job security, health hazards, service work, shareholder responsibilities, temperance, maritime piracy. Virtue theory is a useful framework to approach ethical issues in work organizations. First, this is because its emphasis on the shared values in a community (rather than a set of universal rules) lends itself to understanding ethical standards within communities of practice or professions. Second, because of its emphasis on moral education and development, virtue ethics has useful purchase on issues around management and professional development. These two themes were combined in the study of corporate governance and accountability. The relationship between business and society is a complex phenomenon and requires a multi-disciplinary approach to understand its full ramifications. My book, Corporate Governance and Accountability is an analysis and a synthesis of the politics of corporate governance and draws upon economics, management, law, politics, ethics, and sociology to examine the representative institution of business in our society, the company. An analysis is made of how its legal form has changed over the years in response to social drivers and political imperatives. The book attempts to track the nature and course of these developments and tries to understand the present situation, and then attempts to give some insights into how companies may be expected to develop in the future. The perspective of the study, although multi-disciplinary, in many aspects is perhaps, in the final analysis, predominantly political, because it is the relationship of the company to society that is the major focus of the analysis. In this respect, a major theme of the study is to examine to what extent the corporate form changed in response to socio-political factors as well as economic factors.
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