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AbstractRecent events in New Zealand have focussed public attention on business ethics, and led to calls for stricter controls over business practices. This paper outlines a variety of ways in which people deal with ethical issues, and suggests that most simply add to the problem. It is suggested that the objectives of business and even the language of business also put business people &apos;at risk &apos; of unethical conduct, and that the commonly cited moral imperatives and &apos;rules of thumb &apos; do not adequately equip people to deal with the types of moral dilemmas commonly encountered. Instead, it is suggested that, if we want people in business to be ethical rather the merely appear ethical, a completely different paradigm and method of enquiry may be required.