ABS Ethics Guide 2012


Business and management studies are a central component of the learning, teaching, research, enterprise and administrative work of nearly all universities in the United Kingdom. This work contributes to the development of hundreds of thousands of students each year as well as to the activities of countless companies and other organisations. The economic, social and cultural contribution of this activity is considerable, and the initiation, design and conduct of each of these strands of work, as well as its subsequent review, raises significant issues which it is incumbent on university staff, students and their managers to reflect upon.

Recent debates within academic circles and the popular press as well as legislative and regulatory changes governing access to information have raised concerns and questions about the extent to which universities prepare their students and staff to meet the ethical challenges posed by their research, learning, teaching, enterprise and administrative work. Many professional bodies in the field of business and management have codes of ethics which inform the work of their members. In addition, most UK universities have ethics procedures and on occasion codes of practice which inform decisions about research and related matters.

Notwithstanding these developments there are few guides available from UK based academic and scholarly associations. This Guide is intended to provide advice and guidance about the ethical questions and issues that may need to be taken into account when considering a range of learning, teaching, research and enterprise issues.

This guide is not intended to be a strict code or point of prescription. It is intended instead to be a point of reference and to inform debate about our work. It is addressed to all members of the Business School community – students, teachers, researchers, managers and external clients – and sets out the standards to which we aspire in our work. In setting out these aspirations, we jointly acknowledge that the process is one of continuous improvement and that part of the role of a Business School is to inculcate ethical behaviours in its students.