Business ethics, according to the literature has been entrenched with the philosophical details of Ethics (Trevino ; Nelson, 1999). Ethics is the discipline that examines one’s moral standards or the moral standards of a society. It’s also worth noting that evaluating the ethics of an action that was taken in the past is of limited use: the past cannot be altered, though it may serve as a lesson to be taken into consideration in future. It is also interesting to note that the small business leader often has his or her decisions impact a greater number of individuals than does the employee of the small business. However, in business, there are often conflicts between ethical behavior and business success.
Influence, authority, and orders are substantial factors in decision-making within an organization – but they may also be substantial factors in making any decision in a social environment: the executive in the previous example may have been influenced by a regulator, who was influenced by a politician, who was influenced by his constituency. Hartman/DesJardins Business Ethics is designed to prepare the student to apply an ethical decision-making model, not only in this ethics course but throughout her or his business discipline. Some ethicists see the principal role of ethics as the harmonization and reconciliation of conflicting interests.
For example, entry into many social groups (a third-level priority) require an individual to undergo an initiation that poses an immediate threat to their well-being (a first-level priority). As trade and commerce have expanded relentlessly throughout the ages, business orientated legislation has also grown exponentially beyond the basics of property ownership, taxation and theft. In the end, this may well be a case where the corporations need to trust the experts, or the bulk of them, and at very least lend their weight to the argument in favour of giving the Summer Olympics a very serious second look.
Nigel: But an exclusive concern with profits seems antithetical to ethics; it doesn’t sound like social responsibility to me. And to return to the original point, that if the action an individual undertakes to fill a need has no impact on any other party, his actions are of no interest to ethics. Business ethics can be examined from various perspectives, including the perspective of the employee, the commercial enterprise, and society as a whole. Selecting a normative framework and applying it to a range of issues is an important way of doing business ethics.
From accounting scandals to pollution to executive compensation, Business Ethics has always been a hot topic. And public image is important to success in most cases, which is one of the reasons as to why business ethics are important to a company’s overall success. While corporate issues in business ethics are ethical questions about morality of the activities, policies, practices of an individual company. The general public, as well as company stakeholders, have come to expect that corporations will conduct business ethically and with the highest regard for social accountability.