The Legal and Ethical Environment of Business
Terence Lau, University of Dayton
Lisa Johnson, University of Puget Sound
Copyright Year: 2011
ISBN 13: 9781936126583
Publisher: Saylor Foundation
Conditions of Use
The text provides a very general overview of the legal environment of business. I used it for an online course and felt it lacked important areas such as general employment law, including agency, employment relationships (employment at will, wage... read more
The text provides a very general overview of the legal environment of business. I used it for an online course and felt it lacked important areas such as general employment law, including agency, employment relationships (employment at will, wage laws, independent contractors), and labor law. Employment discrimination was covered, but focused primarily on an overview of existing laws rather than preventative measures businesses can take to avoid discrimination suits (i.e., employee handbooks, training, etc.). In addition, immigration law, administrative law, internet law (cyber-contracts, -torts, and -crime), consumer protection, corporate governance, and environmental law were either not discussed at all or minimally discussed. Despite the title of the book, there was very little discussion of ethics or at least not enough for it be included in the title of the textbook. The Contracts chapter covered basic contract theory and defenses, but failed to discuss much regarding the UCC, remedies and commercial leases. A chapter on Creditor and Debtor Law, particularly the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and Bankruptcy was also missing. In my opinion, this book either needs to be heavily supplemented with additional materials or would be more suitable for a high school business law class.
There were at least two references to the Defense of Marriage Act, which has now been declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. The text seemed to do a good job of describing strict constructionists and judicial activists in an unbiased way.
The text was relevant today’s world and used mostly current legal situations to help connect the dots for understanding. The text held the attention of the reader with real life examples, however, it could become quickly dated. There were repeated references to President Obama being in office, which is now out-of-date. There was no discussion of internet law, social media law, and online privacy, which are much more relevant now than when the textbook was published. This information would have to be supplemented by the instructor.
The textbook explained concepts clearly and provided examples of different situations to help the student grasp more complicated topics. However, some language was vague, which might force a student to look up terminology on the internet for clarification.
I found the text consistently written throughout in terms of difficulty and structure with the exception of the Contracts chapter, which was extremely basic for an undergraduate course.
The text is organized into chapters that are of suitable length for a weekly online or traditional course.
The text was organized well. I moved up the chapter on the Constitution (Chapter 5) in my syllabus to the second week of the course because I believe a review of the Constitution helps students better understand the court system and litigation. I thought the learning objectives and key takeaways were helpful for the students to review to test their understanding of the material. The text would benefit from a glossary for students to look up terms they may have read, but forgotten.
I found the text difficult to manage in its online .pdf format. The links to outside video and content were often broken or out of date. It would be helpful to have a table of contents with bookmarks, so students could jump to the proper chapter rather than scrolling through the text. The text was difficult to read online and I found myself needing to print the text on paper to ease my frustration with navigation. It would be helpful if there was a note-taking option for the margins and if key terms were bolded.
There weren’t many grammar errors, however, often times there were missing spaces between words that caused words to run together.
I did not find the textbook to be biased or offensive in any way.
This online textbook does not come with any instructor resources. The instructor will have to create their own PowerPoints, exam questions, and answer key for the questions included in the book.
The version of this text that I reviewed is a well-structured introduction to the legal issues surrounding modern business. It is a basic text that is designed for business students, rather than law students. While it would be impossible to... read more
The version of this text that I reviewed is a well-structured introduction to the legal issues surrounding modern business. It is a basic text that is designed for business students, rather than law students. While it would be impossible to include literally every legal issue that might impact a business, the authors do an excellent job of identifying the major issues and discussing them in a way that is accessible to students.
The version of this text that I reviewed appears to be accurate and reliable. While the issues surrounding modern business are often controversial, the authors handled them fairly and accurately.
The version of this text that I reviewed appears to be up-to-date and relevant to modern business. With that said, the text appears to have been written in 2011, which means that the text may begin to become outdated soon unless a new edition is issued.
The version of this text that I reviewed is clearly written and very accessible as an introductory text. It even contains clearly stated learning objectives for each section.
The version of this text that I reviewed has a clear structure that is carried throughout the book. The authors use and employ the relevant business and legal terminology correctly and consistently throughout the book.
The text is broken down into chapters. The chapters work well together. They also could be easily reordered if a teacher wanted to teach the material in a different sequence. The chapters also could function well separately, if a teacher wanted to assign limited portions of the text.
The version of this text that I reviewed had a organizational structure that is logical and clear.
The version of this text that I reviewed was in pdf format, and all materials appeared to be presented as the authors intended them to be presented.
The version of this text that I reviewed was well-edited and contained few, if any, grammatical errors.
The version of this text that I reviewed was not culturally insensitive or offensive.
In my opinion, the text covers many of the essentials of business law appropriately, however, I would like to see it expanded to include more on agency and more on federal laws applicable to employment other than laws addressing discrimination.... read more
In my opinion, the text covers many of the essentials of business law appropriately, however, I would like to see it expanded to include more on agency and more on federal laws applicable to employment other than laws addressing discrimination. With respect to ethics, despite the word "ethics" appearing in the title of this text, I did not find enough content about ethics in the text for me to consider it an "ethics" text.
In my opinion, the text is quite accurate with respect to the law itself, however, I found what I perceived to be a twinge of left-leaning bias. For instance, in discussing the housing crisis, the authors appear to focus on the responsibility of lenders without equally acknowledging the personal responsibility of borrowers. For another instance, the authors opine that the appointments of Justices Sotomayor and Kagan to the Supreme Court did not significantly affect the balance of the court in terms of judicial philosophy, which I believe is demonstrably inaccurate as both of those justices are reliably liberal/activist justices.
In my opinion, the content is sufficiently up-to-date and much of the material covered is rather "evergreen" in the sense that it addresses basic concepts and principles of American business law that are unlikely to change substantially in the foreseeable future.
In my opinion, the text is written with straightforward clarity appropriate for undergraduates who presumably are being introduced to the subject matter.
In my opinion, the text is highly consistent throughout with respect to, voice, reading level, and format.
In my opinion, the modularity of the text readily lends itself to division into easily-definable, digestible reading assignments for undergraduates.
In my opinion, the text is organized reasonably logically, however, I personally would move coverage of the Constitution earlier in the sequence of chapters, such that it immediately follows the introductory material, and I would move coverage of crimes earlier in the sequence of chapters, such that it immediately precedes coverage of torts.
In my opinion, the book's interface is more than adequate.
In my opinion, the text is substantially free of faults/errors in English grammar/usage, and any "technical" faux pas that may exist (e.g. I think I saw just one, ending a sentence with a preposition) are likely considered appropriately "conversational" in the context of a modern undergraduate textbook.
In my opinion, there's no problem with the text in terms of "cultural relevance," but in the interest of full disclosure, this isn't something to which I pay much attention--I care much more about substance than symbolism.
In my opinion, this is a good basic business law text for undergraduates that could use expansion in the areas of agency and employment law. Also, in my opinion, substantial content addressing ethics (e.g. content further addressing the difference between law and ethics, philosophical perspectives on determining what is "right," the developmental processes through which individuals acquire ethical perspectives, ethical pitfalls and dilemmas in business contexts, strategies for promoting ethical conduct in the workplace, etc.) needs to be added in order for this text to truly deliver on the "and Ethical" words of its title.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Introduction to Law
- Chapter 2: The Court System
- Chapter 3: Litigation
- Chapter 4: Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Chapter 5: The Constitution
- Chapter 6: Contracts
- Chapter 7: Torts
- Chapter 8: The Property System
- Chapter 9: Intellectual Property
- Chapter 10: Criminal Law
- Chapter 11: Business Organizations
- Chapter 12: Employment Discrimination
- Chapter 13: Business in the Global Legal Environment
About the Book
Terence Lau & Lisa Johnson's The Legal and Ethical Environment of Business is a book for today's student, who expects learning to be comprised not only of substance, but also of interactive exercises and multimedia. This book streamlines the presentation of material to ensure that every page is relevant, engaging, and interesting to undergraduate business students, without losing the depth of coverage that they need to be successful in their academic journeys and in their professional careers. This is not Legal Environment of Business (LEB) ”light.“ Rather, this is LEB without risk of students' eyes glazing over in boredom or from lack of comprehension. This is LEB presented in an exciting way, where every page is interesting to students and relevant to real life.
The authors recognize that the sheer volume of information to be covered in a LEB course makes it one of the more challenging courses for the business undergraduate. Not only do typical LEB texts read like the first year curriculum at law school, but also the LEB course is grounded in the humanities, which can make the subject even more demanding for students who are also taking statistics, economics, finance, and accounting.
Each chapter contains not only substantive law, but also illustrative videos, interactive exercises for hands-on learning, and discussion questions for critical thought. Additionally, each chapter presents ”A Question of Ethics“ section, which contains real world ethical dilemmas relevant to the topic under study. These videos, exercises, discussion questions, and ethics sections all provide opportunities for students to apply concepts that they are learning in the context of relevant LEB topics that shape or restrain actual decision-makers' actions. It's real world practice in the safety of the classroom environment.
Lau & Johnson's The Legal and Ethical Environment of Business is a textbook that students will enjoy reading. This will encourage them to come to class prepared, and free you to teach the kind of course you want to teach. Request a desk copy and see for yourself.
About the Contributors
Terence Lau is an associate professor of business law in the Management/Marketing Department at the School of Business Administration, University of Dayton (UD). He served as the 2006 Supreme Court Fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States. Prior to joining UD, he was in-house counsel to Ford Motor Company in Detroit and Director for Governmental Affairs for ASEAN to Ford Asia-Pacific in Bangkok. He holds a JD from Syracuse University.
Lisa Johnson is an Associate Professor at the University of Puget Sound School of Business and Leadership. She holds a J.D. with a certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law from the Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College, a PhD from Portland State University in Public Affairs and Policy, with a dissertation field in political theory, an MPA in international environmental policy from Indiana University, and an MFA from Pacific Lutheran University. She is a Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics.