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Instructions for contributors

What Business Ethics Quarterly Publishes

1. Research Articles:

  • Theoretical work including analytical, conceptual, and normative articles;
  • Qualitative (e.g., interview, participant-observer, ethnographic, case-based) work that makes an original theoretical contribution;
  • Quantitative (e.g., experimental, field, measure development) work that makes an original theoretical contribution; or
  • Historical work that makes an original theoretical contribution.

Topics relevant to the ethics of business include (but are not limited to):

  • the internal ethics of business organizations (such as ethical decision making and behavior in organizations);
  • the role of business organizations in larger social, political, and cultural frameworks (such as questions of corporate responsibility, corporate citizenship, and corporate political activity);
  • the ethical quality of market-based societies and market-based relationships, in both local and global contexts;
  • the ethical roles of business persons such as managers, accountants, entrepreneurs, and executives;
  • the ethical dimensions of corporate governance;
  • the legal and regulatory environment of business;
  • environmental and social sustainability;
  • the ethical dimensions of economic globalization;
  • justice and capitalism;
  • professional standards relevant to business;
  • the role of non-governmental organizations in capitalism;
  • marketing ethics;
  • ethical issues in finance and accounting;
  • public policy regarding business or markets.

You may find it helpful to review the Tables of Contents of recent issues to get a sense of BEQ’s breadth of coverage, but should not assume that past practice defines the limits of the journal’s topical coverage. BEQ is open to new ideas, new issues, and new approaches to questions of ethics in business. Submissions are encouraged from:

  • accounting
  • anthropology
  • economics
  • finance
  • history
  • law
  • management
  • marketing
  • philosophy
  • political science
  • psychology
  • religious studies
  • sociology
  • other relevant fields.

2. Commentaries:

These are shorter, analytic articles that directly engage, at a theoretical level, recent work published in BEQ. Commentaries are not responses or rebuttals to some narrow aspect of the original article; they are fully formed essays that engage and/or challenge the original article’s central arguments and contribution, and in doing so make a contribution of their own by moving conceptual thinking on the topic forward. Commentaries are normally limited to 6,000 words and receive expedited review. Timeliness is essential: submissions are expected within one year of the publication of the original article.

3. Review Articles:

BEQ invites proposals for manuscripts that provide comprehensive and insightful scholarly surveys of topics relevant to business ethics research. Review articles summarize the existing scholarly literature on a particular subject and utilize that review as a basis for making a novel theoretical contribution that advances our understanding of the subject and provides valuable directions for future research on the topic. Work from both the social sciences and the humanities is welcome. Proposals should be five to ten pages long (double-spaced), not including references. Please limit references to two pages, single-spaced, highlighting the most significant works in the topic area you propose to survey.

Submit proposals to Bruce Barry at Proposals will be reviewed by the editor or associate editors. Proposals will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Importance: The proposed review manuscript must address an important and substantial area of research, integrating a wide range of research on that topic in a way that makes a clear contribution to the advancement of theory and research relevant to business ethics. The contribution to advancing theory and research is essential; proposals that merely summarize existing research will not be accepted, and manuscripts that fail to advance theory and research will be rejected despite earlier approval of a proposal. Please note that in recent years BEQ has published reviews on moral identity, whistleblowing, neuroscientific approaches to ethics, organizational justice research, evolutionary approaches to ethics, the ethics of emotional influence in organizations, personal legacies in organizations, sweatshop labor issues, and social enterprise. Thus we are not likely to accept a proposal on one of these topics unless it takes a radically different approach to the issue. Other topics also are under consideration for publication; you might wish to check with the journal to determine if your topic of interest is already under consideration.
  • Organization: The proposal should be clearly organized, well-argued, and engage the relevant existing research well.
  • Feasibility: The proposal should be defined precisely enough that the editors will be able to judge the likelihood that you can develop a manuscript of appropriate length and scope that realizes the contribution envisioned in the proposal. If the proposal leads to an invitation to submit a full review article, you will submit your article to our online manuscript review system. An invitation to submit a full article does not guarantee publication. Review articles will be externally peer reviewed.

4. Book Reviews:

Critical reviews of new scholarly works on the various topics within business ethics listed above in the range of 1,500–1,800 words.

Persons who would like to suggest a book for review, or who are interested in reviewing a book for BEQ, should contact the book review editor Miguel Alzola at

Book reviews are not sent out for external review; decisions are usually made by the book review editor.

What Business Ethics Quarterly Does Not Publish

Case studies that are largely descriptive.

Pedagogically-focused research (such as articles on teaching business ethics), unless the pedagogical issue is presented as an opportunity for examining and developing business ethics theory.

Studies relying on student populations without significant work experience as participants. Submissions using samples of students or others with limited work experience or a constrained age distribution must include a clear and convincing argument that use of such a sample is appropriate to the study’s purpose. For example:

  • the study is about an aspect of student behavior relevant to business ethics; or
  • the study is about a basic cognitive, emotional, or behavioral process (e.g., moral imagination, moral identity, moral emotion) that is relevant to business ethics (even if not relevant exclusively to business ethics).


You must affirm that your submission:

  • has not been published elsewhere, either in whole or in part, in any language. (Presentation of a work at a conference is acceptable. Publication in conference proceedings may be acceptable, depending on the format and distribution of the proceedings. Please discuss prior publication in conference proceedings with the editor.);
  • is not under review by another publication;
  • will not be submitted for review for publication while under review at BEQ (conference submissions are acceptable);
  • is not based on data reported in any other prior or pending publication, unless you provide the editor with supporting documentation to demonstrate the unique contribution of the submission; and
  • is not a product of a conflict of interest on your part.

Works previously submitted to BEQ and rejected are not acceptable unless the rejection letter specifically indicated that BEQ would consider another manuscript from you on the topic. In such cases, you must in a cover letter identify the manuscript number of the prior rejected submission.

Articles may not be posted online during the review process. If the article is being presented at a conference while under consideration at BEQ, please ensure that the full text is not posted online.

The success of a peer-reviewed journal such as BEQ hinges on the willingness of scholars to evaluate each other’s work and provide feedback. When you submit work to BEQ you signal a commitment to reciprocate by acting as a referee for the journal if called upon to do so.


Submissions that do not meet formatting, style, and anonymity requirements will not be processed until brought into compliance. This may delay the review process.


  • PDF file format;
  • Double-spaced;
  • 12-point Times New Roman font;
  • Length not to exceed 12,000 words (including the body of the text and notes, but not including abstract, figures, or references), and the complete manuscript should be not be more than 50 pages in total (including all figures, tables, references, and other materials);
  • Page numbers on all pages;
  • First page of the manuscript should include:
    • Title,
    • Abstract (no more than 150 words),
    • Up to six key words in the order they should appear (each key term counts as one key word e.g., “corporate social responsibility” is one key word);
    • Specify which of the three available citation styles has been used (see below)
  • Tables, charts, and figures must be submitted as part of the manuscript and not as separate documents;
    • Full information on how to prepare and supply your figures can be found in our artwork guide,
    • Prior to publication, you will be asked to provide original source files for any charts or graphs in the manuscript,
  • If you use the tracking or comment functions of word processing programs, be sure to remove any lingering comments or tracked revisions.


  • All use of published or unpublished work must receive proper citation;
  • Manuscripts must conform to one (and only one) of these citation styles. More information about each style is available online:
    • The Chicago Manual of Style (humanities or social sciences form)
    • The Bluebook
    • Book Reviews and Editorials: When these pieces cite sources the preferred style for references is the Chicago authordate system.
  • Regardless of which style is used, notes should be formatted as endnotes (not footnotes) and placed after article text, before References;
  • BEQ encourages the use of non-sexist language;
  • Either British or American spelling is acceptable;
  • Foreign words and phrases should be italicized;
  • For countries use US or UK or EU (not U.S. or U.K. or E.U.);
  • Oxford (serial) commas are used;
  • Self-references must be to “this article” rather than to “this paper” or “this essay;”
  • “Scare quotes” may use ‘single’ or “double” quotation marks but must be used consistently;
  • Periods and commas go before (not after) close-quotation marks;
  • Standard style for bullets is a dot;
  • Use two-letter USPS abbreviations for state names;
  • Use “Notes” and “References” (not “Bibliography” or “Works Cited”)


The manuscript itself must be prepared without authors’ names or identifying information, such as institution, acknowledgements, contact information, or extensive self-citation. Prepare a separate document, consisting of a title page listing full contact information for all authors.

Reference to your own work should be made in the third person, if possible, to preserve anonymity. For example, instead of “As I have previously argued, . . . (Smith 2003),” the submitted manuscript should read, “As Smith argues, . . . (Smith 2003).” You may change the final version to the first person.

In cases where self-references are too numerous or otherwise would tend to signal author identity, your names may be replaced with placeholders (e.g., replace “Smith 2003” with “Author”) and removed from the list of references. In such cases, you should provide the editor with an additional document listing these anonymized sources. Excessive citations to your own work may raise questions as to the extent to which the work submitted to BEQ is a new contribution to scholarship.


Manuscripts fitting the format and style requirements above should be submitted electronically at After submitting a manuscript, you will receive a confirmation of submission. If that does not arrive, please contact the managing editor Elizabeth D. Scott at

The submission system will allow you to log on at any time to see the status of your submission and to read correspondence related to it. However, if you do not receive this first e-mail, it is likely that there is an error or spam filter that will make receipt of subsequent correspondence (such as decision letters) unlikely. It is your responsibility to keep your e-mail address up to date in the ScholarOne system so that we may contact you.


Although each submission is addressed according to its individual characteristics, most follow the path outlined below. An editor’s workload, difficulty in finding reviewers, unexpected changes in reviewers’ availability, and many other factors can affect processing time. If you wish to check on the process, you may look at the "status" field under "Manuscript Information" in ScholarOne or contact the managing editor for an update.

A “desk rejection” (rejection without external review) is issued by the editor if the manuscript:

  • fails to follow BEQ style guide for manuscripts;
  • reveals its author’s identity;
  • includes previously published material;
  • is not on a topic appropriate for BEQ;
  • essentially repeats what already has been said on a topic, without contributing much new insight;
  • is more journalistic or “op-ed” than scholarly in level of argument and detail;
  • (if empirical) makes largely descriptive, rather than explanatory, use of the data;
  • (if empirical) has serious problems with the data, study design, or execution;
  • is not written with adequate quality of expression (non-native English speakers are advised to seek assistance with grammar and style prior to submission);
  • does not promise to make a novel, theoretical contribution.

If not desk-rejected, an anonymous copy of the manuscript is sent to reviewers. You are not notified when this happens, but the indicator in the online system will read "under external review." Among reviewers, we aim to include at least one member of the editorial board and appropriate disciplinary coverage. Once the manuscript is returned by the reviewers, the editor or an associate editor reviews it and may do additional reading to make a decision. You are not notified when the reviews are returned. You will receive a decision letter by e-mail, along with anonymous copies of the reviewers’ comments (and each reviewer receives the others’ comments).

For first-round submissions, decisions are generally:

  • reject; or
  • revise and resubmit.

The full-range of decisions for first-round submission include the above decisions as well as:

  • reject and resubmit;
  • high-risk revision; or
  • conditional acceptance


“Revise and resubmit” decision letters include a time frame for the resubmission. If you choose to revise and resubmit, use the decision editor’s letter to interpret the reviewers’ comments, focusing on the items recommended by the decision editor. It is important for you to revise carefully, as we try to make a final decision on most manuscripts during the second round of review. Follow all of the same formatting and anonymity requirements as with first-round submissions.

When submitting revisions, prepare a detailed response explaining how you have dealt with the issues raised by the decision editor and reviewers, including page number references. Please note that you are permitted, in this response, to argue for retaining the original language. Submissions from multiple authors must have only one response document. To avoid delays in sending your responses back to reviewers, be sure you have not violated anonymity by using letterhead, signing the letter, referring to yourself or your co-author(s) by name, or otherwise revealing your identity.


Revised articles should be submitted electronically at The option to indicate that it is a resubmission appears within ScholarOne, but not on the first page.

The original decision editor reads the revision (and your replies to editor and reviewers), and makes a decision as to whether the issues and concerns prompted by the first version of the manuscript have been dealt with adequately. If the revisions do not adequately address issues and concerns in the decision letter, the manuscript will be rejected by the action editor. If, from the perspective of the action editor, the revisions meet expectations the paper will typically be sent back to referees for their review and assessment.


Revised articles should be submitted electronically at The option to indicate that it is a resubmission appears within ScholarOne, but not on the first page.

The original decision editor reads the revision (and your replies to editor and reviewers), and makes a decision as to whether the issues and concerns prompted by the first version of the manuscript have been dealt with adequately. If the revisions do not adequately address issues and concerns in the decision letter, the manuscript will be rejected by the action editor. If, from the perspective of the action editor, the revisions meet expectations the paper will typically be sent back to referees for their review and assessment.


Authors of an accepted manuscript must follow these detailed instructions for preparing the final version that can proceed into production.

Upload the final version through the ScholarOne system with the manuscript as a .doc or .docx file, and with high-resolution versions of any figures as separate files. A final manuscript that does not meet formatting requirements will be returned to the authors, delaying publication.

Of course, this is not truly the final version, as CUP will prepare page proofs from the document you submit.

Accepted articles will appear online as FirstView publications in advance of their scheduled publication in print.

You will be provided with a pdf file of the published article for your personal use subject to the conditions of the Copyright Transfer Form. Posting of these offprints online is a violation of the copyright agreement and is prohibited.

Last updated 28th November 2018