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Business Ethics

Since the turn of the 21st century there has been an awakened interest in business ethics, an interest which accelerated after the financial crash of 2008. 

Ethical approaches to business are important for promoting the common good, for promoting employee wellbeing and, arguably, for business success. Researchers at St Mary's are examining the importance of virtue ethics within business. They are examining whether and how an ethical approach to business might conflict with profit maximisation in the short and the long run.

In addition, members of this cluster are researching the role of business ethics in Catholic social teaching as well as the interface between ethics, professionalism and regulation. The Catholic Church supports an important role for business in society, as do most other denominations and religious faiths. Regardless of one’s creed, business is such an important part of economic and social life that it ought to be practised ethically.

Research in this area informs a number of taught courses, especially the BA in Business Management with Business Ethics, but also a number of specific modules, such as those on marketing, in both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

Members of the cluster regularly present at international conferences and events, such as Happiness, Economics, and International Relations (HEIRs), Developments in Economics Education (DEE), the American Economics Association (AEA), the Royal Economic Society (RES), the European Business Ethics Network (EBEN) and the Portuguese Political Science Association (APCP).

The school welcomes PhD proposals in the area of business ethics.

PhD students

All research degree students at St Mary’s are part of the  Doctoral College. All potential research students must first submit an  online enquiry form with details of their proposal.

Current Projects

  • The interaction between profit-maximizing firms and firms with social missions competing in the same market
  • Microfinance
  • Catholic social teaching and business
  • Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and Open Science (OS)
  • Price controls and market economies

Public talks and workshops

Talk by Gherardo Girardi on "Teaching and learning economics in accordance with Catholic Social Thought", November 2019, at the Festival of Catholic Social Teaching, Verona (Italy)


Lecture by Gherardo Girardi on "The university of the common good", May 2019, at Spirituality in Society and the Professions, Waterford (Ireland)


Think tank at Anglo American PLC on the role of business leaders in promoting integral human development

On July 3rd, 2018, a think tank was held at Anglo American PLC headquarters near Trafalgar Square in London, bringing together business, academic and religious leaders to discuss how their energies can best be combined to promote integral human development. Read more...

think-tank-video We were delighted to receive a video message of encouragement from Cardinal Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

Lecture for PhD students and academics by Philip Booth on “How the Financial System Works”, September 2018, Pontifical Regina Athenaeum Apostolorum, Rome


Workshop by Gherardo Girardi on "Modelling competition between profit maximizing and socially motivated enterprises", May 2018, University of St Mary


Public talk by Felix Pole on "The Economic and Social Impact of Mining - a Zambian case study", April 2018, University of St Mary

Selected publications

  • Libertà, fraternità e fallimenti di mercato (liberty, universal brotherhood and market failures), 2019, La Società, April,5/6
  • Booth, P.M., 2018, Capitalism and social co-operation, Crucible - The Journal of Christian Social Ethics, Jan., pp. 30-39.
  • Booth, P.M., 2018, Globalisation, poverty and the responsibility of business, The Newman, 104.
  • Booth, P.M. and Peterson, M., 2018, Social justice, the role of business and the common good, in: Building Institutions for the Common Good - The Purpose and Practice of Business in an Inclusive Economy June 21-23, 2018 Schulze Hall, University of St. Thomas Minneapolis Campus, 21st-23rd June, USA. (Unpublished).
  • Girardi G., 2017, Escaping the economist’s straightjacket: overcoming the free-rider mentality which prevents climate change from being effectively addressed, book chapter in Leal, W. (ed) Climate Change Management, special edition on Universities and Climate Change: the Role of Higher Education Institutions in Addressing the Mitigation and Adaptation Challenges", Springer.
  • Girardi G. and Sandoná, L., 2017, Incorporating research findings in the economics syllabus: evidence on genuine sociality from Italy and the UK, Review of Social Economy.
  • Booth P. M., 2017, Is the State the Solution to Individualism? An analysis from Catholic social teaching, in Wood B. (ed), Renewing the Self: Religious Perspectives on Individuals and Communities, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle, UK.
  • Alves, A.A., Booth, P. and Fryzel, B., 2017, Business Culture and Corporate Social Responsibility: An Analysis in the Light of Catholic Social Teaching with an Application to Whistle-Blowing, Heythrop Journal (available online, forthcoming in print).
  • Alves A. A., Booth P. M. and Fryzel B., 2017, Business Culture and Corporate Social Responsibility: an Analysis in the Light of Catholic Social Teaching with an Application to Whistle Blowing, Heythrop Journal.
  • Booth, P. M., 2017, Property Rights and Conservation - the missing theme of Laudato si'. Independent Review, 21 (3). pp. 1-20.
  • Alves, A.A. and Moreira, P.G., 2016, Scarcity, Economics and Morality: the Contribution of the Late Iberian Scholastics, book chapter in E Leontjeva, E., Vaine, A., and Vysniauskaite, M. (eds.) The Phenomenon of Scarcity: Being, Man and Society, Lithuanian Free Market Institute and Lithuanian Culture Research Institute, 184-199.
  • Booth, P. M. and Davies, S., 2016, Rules and Order without the State, in: Palmer, Tom, (ed.) Self-Control or State Control - you decide. Jameson Books, Washington DC, pp. 78-99.
  • Booth, P. M. (ed), 2016, Dottrina sociale cattolica ed economia di mercato (Catholic social teaching and the market economy - Italian edition). liberlibri, Milano, Italia, ISBN 978-88-98094-29-5.
  • Girardi, G. and Tejura C., 2015, CSR and accounting education in developing countries: the case of India, 2015, book chapter inJamali,D., Karam,C. and Blowfield, M. (ed’s ), CSR in Developing Countries: Towards a Development-Oriented Approach, Greenleaf Publishing.
  • Booth P. M. and Davies S., 2015, Price Ceilings in Financial Markets, in Coyne C. and Coyne R. Price Controls and the Damage they Cause, Hobart Paperback 179, Institute of Economic Affairs, London, UK.
  • Girardi, G. and Petito F., 2014, Post secular reflections on the value of the stakeholder approach in business, Global Initiative for the Common Good Journal, 1(1)
  • Booth P. M. (ed.), 2014, Catholic Social Teaching and the Market Economy, 2nd edition, London, UK: St. Paul's, ISBN 978-0-85439-837-9 (also published in Slovene)
  • Alves, A.A. and Meadowcroft, J., 2014, Hayek’s Slippery Slope, the Stability of the Mixed Economy and the Dynamics of Rent-Seeking, Political Studies, 62 (4), 843–861.
  • Alves, A.A. and Moreira, J. M., 2013, Virtue and Commerce in Domingo de Soto's Thought: Commercial Practices, Character and the Common Good, The Journal of Business Ethics, 113 (4), 627-638.
  • Alves, A.A. and Moreira, J. M., 2013,  Business Ethics in the School of Salamanca, book chapter in Luetge, C. (ed.)  Handbook of the Philosophical Foundations of Business Ethics, Springer, 207-225.
  • Alves, A.A. and Moreira, J. M., 2010,  The Salamanca School, 2013, New York/London: Bloomsbury (1st edition Continuum).
  • Booth P. M., 2012, The crash of 2008: a discussion of its causes and their relationship to ethical issues, in Samuel Gregg and Harold James (ed.), Natural Law, Economics and the Common Good, Imprint Academic, p.227-243.
  • Booth P. M. (ed.), 2010, Christian Perspectives on the Financial Crash, London: St Pauls, ISBN 9780854397679
  • Girardi, G., 2010, Transformative Economics Education: using proverbs from around the world in the classroom, Investigations in University Teaching and Learning, 6(2), 119-124
  • Booth P. M., 2010, Ethical Dilemmas for Large Corporations in Under-developed Countries, in Barbara Fyzel and Paul Dembinski (ed.), The Role of Large Enterprises in Democracy and Society, UK: Macmillan, ISBN 9780230229181
  • Booth P. M., 2010, The Crash of 2008 - A Discussion of the Causes and Relationship with Ethical Issues, Finance et Bien Commun (Finance and the Common Good), 36(1), p.39-53
  • Booth P. M., 2009, Learning from the crash, and teaching after it, in Samuel Gregg and James Stoner (ed.), Profit, Prudence and Virtue: essays in ethics and business management, UK and US: Imprint Academic, ISBN 978184540159753490
  • Booth P. M., 2008, Modern Business and its Moral and Ethical Dilemmas in a Globalized World, in Ian Harper and Samuel Gregg (ed.), Christian Theology and Market Economics, UK: Edward Elgar, p.129-145, ISBN 9781847203779