Banta Center Director Releases New Book

book coverWhile conducting research and reviewing textbooks for use in his classes, assistant professor Jeffery Smith noticed that the voice of the latest generation of business ethics researchers seemed to be missing.

So Smith, the founding director of the Banta Center for Business, Ethics and Society, decided to compile a new book – “Normative Theory and Business Ethics (New Perspectives in Business Ethics)” – as part of a push to give young, cutting edge business ethics experts an opportunity to have their work showcased.

The book was originally published in 2008 and was re-released in paperback this fall. Smith said the field of business ethics has only been around for about 25 years, and most of the researchers and other experts previously highlighted in business ethics textbooks were involved when the field emerged.

“I thought it would be valuable to add to the conversation by including newer researchers and what they have to say,” he said.

Smith explores a number of ethical topics in his book, including employee rights and responsibilities, the role of businesses within politics, and how to use moral and political philosophy to analyze and frame ethical problems in business.

In addition to his role as director of the Banta Center for Business, Ethics and Society, Smith is assistant professor of ethics in the School of Business. He teaches business ethics, as well as courses in political economy and moral philosophy.

His writings have appeared in “Business Ethics Quarterly,” the “Journal of Business Ethics,” and “Business Ethics: A European Review.” He has led seminars at organizations including Boeing and MCI and received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 2000.

Smith is now working on a new research project – exploring where the authority of managers comes from, and how managers in companies can exercise legitimate forms of authority in their operational decisions. As part of the research, he also compares businesses with government.

“That’s not something that is done very often,” Smith said of the comparison. “People tend to think there is business, and then there is government. But really the two are a lot more similar than you might think.”

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