How will these resources help you? 

In addition to appearing in some A-level Religious Studies specifications, Business Ethics can also be relevant for GCSE specifications concerning attitudes towards wealth. While this resource list is unable to do justice to the range of religious perspectives available, it offers a sample of the variety of resources, genres and perspectives with which teachers can benefit and engage their students. 

A full overview

The Panpsycast Philosophy Podcast, Episode 15, Business Ethics (Parts I and II)

published by Panpsycast, (2017)

Although they are tailored to the OCR A-level Religious Studies specification, these episodes are relevant for any study or research project concerning Business Ethics. They cover corporate social responsibility, whistleblowing, globalisation and whether good ethics is good business. These issues and ideas are discussed with examples, and ethical theories such as Kantian Ethics and Utilitarianism are applied and evaluated in terms of how successful and relevant such theories are for businesses. Students could be directed to relevant sections for homework or as an extra-curricular activity. The hosts express their own opinions, which students could discuss. You can find the second part of this podcast here.

The dos and don’ts

Business Ethics for Dummies

by Norman E. Bowie and Meg Schneider, published by John Wiley & Sons, (2011), 9780470600337

This book introduces the basic principles of business ethics – what they are and why they are important. It also introduces major ethical thinkers such as Aristotle and Aquinas and how their ethical theories are relevant today. Plenty of case studies and examples are referred to, with helpful lists of the dos and don’ts for a modern business. You could select specific extracts for students to facilitate discussion and evaluation, to apply ethical theories, or for extra-curricular reading to gain insight into the background, context and relevance of business ethics in today’s world.

Financial success as a 'blessing from God'

The prosperity gospel, explained: Why Joel Osteen believes that prayer can make you rich

by Tara Isabella Burton, published by Vox, (2017)

Although this article features an American example, the 'prosperity gospel' and related ideology are fast growing in parts of the UK in the field of business ethics and attitudes towards the generation of wealth. This article contextualises the rise of such religious ideology, referring back to Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905) and how recent studies show protestant Christians more than other religious groups 'conflate labour with personal satisfaction'. You could use this resource with your students to facilitate discussion and evaluation of this attitude towards financial success, business ethics, religious institutions as a business, and compatibility with the teachings of Jesus, such as those in the Beatitudes (the Sermon on the Mount). 

Case Study: Cadbury

Cadbury Exposed: Dispatches

by Antony Barnett, published by Channel 4, (2022)

This recent documentary highlights how modern businesses involved with globalisation may have unethical practices, unbeknown to consumers. The reporter Antony Barnett goes undercover in Ghana to reveal the practice of child labour within Cadbury’s supply chain. This resource could be used to facilitate discussion and debate between students about the moral duty of a business, and whether that lies primarily with shareholders and for profit, or with stakeholders and for corporate social responsibility. The fact that Cadbury’s has a Quaker origin and was founded with Christian ethics and values further highlights the changing landscape of business ethics and the need for businesses to consider and address whether their practices reflect their values. 

Audiovisual clip

This World - Vietnamese coffee

published by BBC Two, (2014)

A look at how the Vietnamese coffee industry is not being recognised by companies such as Starbucks, and what the ethical implications can be. These include inequality and low incomes for farmers, soil erosion, and crop failure due to climate change, amongst other problems.

Further materials

The co-operative bank: Values and ethics, published by The Co-Operative Bank Read this statement
Quick guide to Ethical Consumer, published by Ethical Consumer, (2023) Access this resource
Do women have stronger ethical business principles than men? by Andrea Learned, published by The Guardian, (2014) Read this article
A Catechism for Business: Tough Ethical Questions and Insights from Catholic Teaching by Andrew V. Abela and Joseph E. Capizzi, published by The Catholic University of America Press, (2021), 9780813234236 Find this book
Rebecca Neale is a teacher of Religious Studies with over a decade of experience, an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has an MSc in Teaching and Learning from the University of Oxford. Rebecca has several years’ experience as a senior examiner, is currently a Principal Examiner for Religious Studies, and is a published author of Religious Studies resources and textbooks.

Text © Rebecca Neale, 2023