This guide is intended to provide an introduction to resources available from the University of Lethbridge Library in the area of business ethics and corporate social responsibility. It is a guide to get you started; there are many more resources available, so this is just a jumping-off point for your research.
If you require more help finding resources, please visit the Information and Research Assistance Desk on level 10 of the library, or phone us at 403.329.2263.
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Reference materials can provide a good overview of a subject and lead you to further related resources, and are a great place to start your research. Some reference material specific to the area of business ethics and corporate social responsibility include:
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Search the library catalogue to find books on business ethics and corporate social responsibility. You can do keyword searches as well as subject searches, which utilize the Library of Congress Subject Headings to locate items on the same subject. Some relevant subject headings include:
These same terms (and more) will work as keyword searches, but you will get many more (and possibly irrelevant) results using a keyword search. Try both and take it from there. If you search any term in the 'subject' field, the catalogue will try to suggest related subjects for you to try. Of course, if you know the title or author of a book, you can search the catalogue using those fields as well.
You can also do an 'advanced keyword search' and restrict the 'material type' to limit your search to e-books only.
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Journal articles contain more up-to-date research than books, and are a great way to supplement your research. The library subscribes to many indexes and databases which allow you search by keyword, subject, and many more fields to find articles on your topic. These tools provide not only the citation for the articles, but often abstracts (summaries of what the article is about), and increasingly link you to the full text of the article. If the full text isn't available either from the database in which you found the citation or by clicking the 'find full text' button, you can search the library catalogue by 'journal title' to see if we carry the journal in print. Failing that, you can try obtaining the article via inter-library loan. Ensure that the articles you are citing are scholarly in nature; for guidelines on how to evaluate journal articles, see our how-to guides.
The easiest way to decide which index or database to use is to look at the library's listing of indexes and databases by subject. Remember, your subject might be somewhat multidisciplinary in nature, so consider what other subjects' databases you may want to search, as well as the databases that specialize in multidisciplinary or general topics. Search using terms listed above (in the 'books' section), among others. Some good business databases to start with are:
This site contains the Conference Board of Canada's research publications on economic trends, public policy issues and organizational performance for academic and non-commercial purposes, including a large section on corporate social responsibility (browse by 'topic').
Contains nearly 3,000 worldwide business periodicals for in-depth coverage of business and economic conditions, management techniques, theory, and practice of business, advertising, marketing, economics, human resources, finance, taxation, computers and more.
Scholarly business literature covering the areas of marketing, management, MIS, POM, accounting, finance and economics.
Indexes over 1,600 Canadian magazines, journals, newsletters, corporate reports and newspapers for information on current events, business, education, science and medicine, arts, law, academia, lifestyles, all with a Canadian focus.
Full-text of 40 journals in the areas of organization studies, management, business, human resource, marketing, public policy, public administration, industrial relations and more.
Search over 5,400 academic and business journals for articles on management issues, economic indicators and business theories and practices, as well as on the activities of companies and industries worldwide.
Searching for "social responsibility" (or related phrases) retrieves several reports on the issue as well as company profiles (that include the phrase searched).
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In addition to searching in the library catalogue for videos on any subject (go to 'advanced keyword' search and then limit by material type: film/video), several Harvard Business School Faculty Seminar Series videos are available to us through Business Source Complete, including several dealing with ethical and sustainability issues. For a complete list of videos available in this series, please visit http://support.epnet.com/knowledge_base/detail.php?id=4699. To access these videos in Business Source Complete, click the 'more' link in the top toolbar in EBSCOhost and select Business Videos/Images from the drop-down menu. The Business Videos search screen is displayed. Enter your search terms in the Find field and click Search, or to view all available business videos, search for the term Business. Both videos and PDF transcripts are available.
This video, which documents the 'cradle-to-grave' cycle of consumption and its unsustainability, is supplemented by an annotated script with 85 research references and links for further information and action.
A bit more hopeful than The Story of Stuff, Waste=Food introduces the concept of cradle-to-cradle design in hopes of reducing waste by designing items which are not garbaged at the end of their life cycle, but reused as either biological food for the earth or technical nutrients for new products.
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There are several 'free' internet sites which are concerned with business ethics and corporate social responsibility. Be aware, however, when searching the internet that the sites you find are authoritative and accurate. Some guidelines on evaluating web resources can be found in our how-to guides. Some good sites to check out are:
EthicsCentre.ca is a registered charity governed by volunteers and supported by organizations and individuals who share a commitment to ethical values. The Centre is also responsible for is a Code of Ethics project which provides a review of the literature on codes of ethics in the private sector over the past 20 years. They also produce a newsletter, which is available on their site.
The Ethics Resource Center has existed for 85 years and is still considered a definitive resource for institutions and researchers. This site offers commentary and research on ethical behavior in both the private and public sector. Lots of free information, including downloadable research articles covering a wide array of ethical issues.
This site is run by a philosophy professor at St. Mary's University. Contains articles & case studies, and news items on business ethics, as well as links to both Canadian and International resources.
Business Ethics Links Library (BELL) is a database which “provides access to codes of ethics for U.S. companies and trade and professional associations, ethics sites at college and university business programs, industry information resources, and company promotion of social responsibility covering such topics as arts assistance, environmental cleanup, charitable giving and community programming.” You can compare CSR statements for companies in the same industry by searching using NAICS.
A searchable database of the literature of philanthropy, providing abstracts and citations to thousands of articles on the topic. On the left side of the screen, scroll down to find links to other nonprofit resources.
Globethics.net, the leading global online library on ethics, focuses on applied ethics with a special focus on developing and transition countries. They offer free access to journals, magazines, books, training material, dissertations and news documents on applied ethics, with a focus on full text documents. You can also access licensed content such as journals, encyclopedias and e-books if you register with the site (free of charge).
A searchable database for bioethics research materials, pulling together scholarly articles, books, and popular press literature. Registering for an account allows you to access full text if our library subscribes to the database it's drawn from.
Find information about the exploitative practices of four thousand businesses worldwide, which may otherwise be difficult to locate. Search by company name, issue, country, or topic. Coverage is balanced, allowing accused companies to provide responses.
Provides announcements of the latest company–issued Corporate Responsibility (CR) and Sustainability Reports, written by the company or organization issuing the new report.
This site is a good source of corporate social responsibility and sustainability news, reports, and events.
Organized in six main sections: News, Ethics and Employees, Corporate Governance, Corporate Social Responsibility, Public Sector Governance, and News from NGOs, each with several subheadings.
This site's aim is to identify truly 'green' firms. You can perform an advanced search (filtering by industry, association, area of excellence, and more) for businesses which have passed the "B Lab"'s certification process in terms of meeting social and environmental performance standards.
Some 'free' open-access publications are available on this site, in several different sub-disciplines such as accounting, finance, international, and social responsibility & social impact.
This site is produced by the Ethisphere Institute, an international think tank "dedicated to the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption and sustainability." Content on this site includes current and past articles from Ethisphere Magazine, as well as various reports, rankings, and new items. Also included is the Institute's listing of the World's Most Ethical Companies. Contributors include both those from the corporate and academic communities.
Ecopreneurist provides news and advice on sustainable and social entrepreneurship, including new green products and services for the LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) demographic, and marketing and branding assistance for green start-up businesses.
This site, aimed at both the sustainable business community as well as consumers interested in supporting such businesses, contains a business directory, product reviews, research, and articles from the LOHAS journal.
Greenbiz is a leading online news and information resource on how to align environmental responsibility with business success. It offers more than 8,000 resources, including daily news and feature stories, reports, checklists, case studies, and links to organizations, technical assistance programs, government agencies, and recognition programs.
An international network of businesses committed to sustainability.
Brought to you by GreenBiz.com, an annual report which attempts to measure the environmental impacts of the emerging green economy (U.S.). Free download with registration.
A research paper from the Brookings Institute (www.brookings.edu), nonprofit public policy think tank based in Washington, DC. They have an entire research section dedicated to Energy Security in its Foreign Policy section (http://www.brookings.edu/topics/energy-security.aspx).
The site for this 'magazine for clean capitalism' has several interesting reports and links, including to their latest articles.
This site, although somewhat dated, contains links to many other sources of business information. Not all links may still be active.
A guide to green business resources produced by the University of Pennsylvania library. Lots of links to web sites. Note where they mention resources specific to their library, ie databases, you should check our library to see if we have access to those same resources (we often will).
Free streaming videos on issues relating to economic, social and environmental issues. Searchable by industry, issue, and location, among other specifications. Please note: a paid subscription is required to use the videos for presentations, lectures, meetings, events or other educational purposes.
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If you have difficulty finding or using the information you require:
Developed by business librarians at American universities, this site allows you to search several academic business libraries' sites of frequently asked business reference questions. While some sites may refer you to subscription databases (check to see if we subscribe at the U of L to gain access), lots of general information and links to free sites as well.
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Content Revised: January 30, 2012
Content Created: January 7, 2009