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Business ethics Essay

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People also develop habits that make it easier to choose between what society considers good or bad. 1. Virtues – are habits that incline people to do what is acceptable. Example: fairness, generosity, honesty, loyalty and etc. 2. Vices – are habits of unacceptable behavior. Example: vanity, greed, envy, and anger. 3. Peoples virtues and vices help define their value system, the complex scheme of moral values by which they live. Each society forms a set of rules that establishes the boundaries of generally accepted behavior.

Moral Code – are rules that often expressed in statements about how people should behave by which a society lives. Morality – refers to social conventions about right and wrong that are so widely shared that they become the basis for an established consensus. However ones view of moral may vary by: 1. Age 2. Cultural group 3. Ethnic background 4. Religion 5. Gender Importance of Integrity Moral principles – are statements of what you believe to be rules of right conduct. A person who acts with integrity acts in accordance with a personal code of principles- integrity is one of the cornerstone of ethical behavior.

Example: You might believe that it is important to do as your employer requests and that you should be fairly compensated for your work. However, if your employer insists that you not report recent overtime hours due to budget constraints, a moral conflict arises. Ethics in the Business World Risk is the product of multiplying the likelihood of an event by the impact of its occurrence. Ethics has risen to the top of business agendas because of: 1. The risks associated with inappropriate behavior have increased. 2.

Greater globalization has created a much more complex work environment that making it much more difficult to apply principles and code of ethics consistently. 3. Heightened vigilance raises the risk of financial loss for business that do not foster ethical practices or run afoul of required standards. Why Fostering Good Business Ethics Is Important? 1. To gain the goodwill of the community – basic responsibility to society. 2. To create an organization that operates consistently. Operate with honesty and integrity, staying true to corporate principles Operate according to standards of ethical conduct, in words and action.

Treat colleagues, customers, and consumer with respect. Accept personal responsibility for actions. Value diversity. Make decisions based on facts and principles. 3. To produce good business. Companies that provide excellent service maintain their customers instead of losing them to competitors. Companies that produce safe and effective products avoid costly recalls and lawsuits. Companies that develop and maintain a strong employee relations suffer less turnover and enjoy better employee morale. Suppliers and other business partners often prefer to work with companies that operate in a fair and ethical manner.

4. To protect the organization and its employees from legal action Identify its core beliefs, which need to include a commitment to complying with the letter and spirit of the law and ethical conduct. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of its culture and organizational capacities. Scan its business environment. Determine, relative to its goals and objectives and baseline data to its prior performance, what outcome should be expected of the program. identify targets and measurable indicators of expected program outcomes.

Design, implement and enforce a program that will “exercise due diligence to prevent, detect, and report criminal conduct and otherwise promote an organizational culture that encourages ethical conduct and a commitment to compliance with all applicable law. Regularly evaluate its program to determine if its effective, and capture what the organization learns along the way. To avoid unfavorable publicity Companies that operates unethically often suffer negative consequences and bad publicity. Improving Corporate Ethics 1. Appointing a Corporate Officer.

* Corporate Officer is a senior-level manager who provides direction in the area of the business conduct. * Integrating their organizations ethics and values initiatives, compliance activities and business conduct practices into the decision making processes at all levels of the organization. 2. Ethical Standards set by Board of Directors * Board of Directors is responsible for the careful and responsible management of an organization. * Responsible for supervising the management team. * Set the standard company-wide ethical conduct and ensure compliance with laws and regulations.

* Establishing a Corporate Code of Ethics Code of Ethics highlights an organizations key ethical issues and identifies the overarching values and principles that are important to the organization and its decision making. Code of ethics helps ensure that employees abide by the law, follow necessary regulations and behave in an ethical manner. 3. Conducting Social Audits Social Audit companies identify ethical standards lapses they committed in the past and set directives for avoiding similar missteps in the future. 3. Requiring employees to take Ethics Training.

The ancient Greek Philosophers believe that personal convictions about right and wrong behavior could be improved through education. 6. Including Ethical Criteria in Employee Appraisals Creating an Ethical Work Environment Employees in highly competitive workplaces often feel pressures from: 1. Aggressive competitors 2. Cutthroat suppliers 3. Unrealistic budgets 4. Minimum quotas 5. Tight deadlines 6. Bonus incentives Employees may also be encouraged to do “ whatever it takes” to get the job done. How Management can Affect employees Ethical Behavior.

Ethical Decision Making 7 Steps approach that can help guide your ethical decision making: 1. Get the Facts 2. Identify stakeholders and their positions 3. Considering the consequences of your decision 4. Weighing various guidelines and principles 1. Develop and evaluate options 2. Review your decision 3. Evaluate the results of your decision Ethics in the Information Technology Here are some examples that raise public concern about the ethical use of I. T. : 1. Today’s workers might have their e-mail and Internet access monitored while at work. 2.

Millions of people have used peer-to-peer networks to download music and movies at no charge and in apparent violation of copyright laws. 3. Organizations contact millions of people worldwide through unsolicited e-mail (spam) at an extremely low cost. 4. Hackers break into databases of financial institutions and steal customer information . 5. Student around the world have been caught downloading material from the Internet and plagiarizing content for their term paper. 6. Web sites plant cookies or spyware on visitor’s had drives to track their internet activity.

Ethical Theories Aristotelian Theory Absolutism Conscience Determinism Egoism Emotivism State of Nature(Hobbes) Rights Theory Intuitionism Autonomy Naturalism Objectivism Relativism Subjectivism Utilitarianism Deontology Aristotelian Theory Aristotelian Theory. Aristotle thought a person must have “experience of the actions in life” and have been “brought up in fine habits” in order to become good . If a person were to become virtuous, he could not simply study what virtue is, he had to actually do virtuous activities. Absolutism.

Absolutism (European history), a historiographical term used to describe a form of monarchical power that is unrestrained by any other institutions, such as churches, legislatures, or social elites. Absolutism which argues there is but one true and correct view. Conscience Conscience is an ability or a faculty that distinguishes whether one’s actions are right or wrong. It leads to feelings of remorse when one does things that go against his/her moral values, and to feelings of rectitude or integrity when one’s actions conform to our moral values. It is also the attitude which informs one’s moral judgment before performing any action.

Commonly used metaphors refer to the “voice of conscience” or “voice within. ” Determinism Determinism implies the moral differences between two people are caused by hereditary predispositions and environmental effects and events. This does not mean determinists are against punishment of people who commit crimes because the cause of a person’s morality (depending on the branch of determinism) is not necessarily themselves. Egoism Ethical egoism or egotism (also called simply egoism) is the normative ethical position that moral agents ought to do what is in their own self-interest.

It differs from psychological egoism, which claims that people do only act in their self-interest. Ethical egoism also differs from rational egoism, which holds merely that it is rational to act in one’s self-interest. These doctrines may, though, be combined with ethical egoism. Emotivism Emotivism says that moral judgments express positive or negative feelings. “X is good” means “Hurrah for X! ” — and “X is bad” means “Boo on X! ” Since moral judgments are exclamations, they can’t be true or false. So there can’t be moral truths or moral knowledge. We can reason about moral issues if we assume a system of norms.

But we can’t reason about basic moral principles. State of Nature (Hobbes) Within the state of nature there is no justice, since there is no law, excepting certain natural precepts, the first of which is “that every man ought to endeavour peace, as far as he has hope of obtaining it”; and the second is “that a man be willing, when others are so too, as far forth as for peace and defence of himself he shall think it necessary, to lay down this right to all things; and be contented with so much liberty against other men as he would allow other men against himself”.

From this, Hobbes develops the way out of the state of nature into civil government by mutual contracts. Right Theory A right is a special advantage that someone gains because of his or her particular status. The “special advantage” might include gaining a liberty, a power, an entitlement, or an immunity. The “particular status” might include one’s status as a human being, a woman, a minority, an animal, a child, or a citizen of some country. This general notion of “right” applies in both legal and moral contexts.

Moral philosophers are principally concerned with rights that are not simply created by political institutions such as the U. S. government. In this sense, a moral right is a justified constraint upon how others may act. Intuitionism Ethical intuitionism is at a minimum a view in moral epistemology according to “ which some moral truths can be known without inference. ” Justice Justice is the concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, fairness, religion and/or equity. Autonomy.

Autonomy refers to a person’s capacity for self-determination in the context of moral choices. Kant argued that autonomy is demonstrated by a person who decides on a course of action out of respect for moral duty. That is, an autonomous person acts morally solely for the sake of doing “good”, independently of other incentives. Kant applied this concept to create a definition of personhood. He suggested that such compliance with moral law creates the essence of human dignity. Naturalism Naturalism is a philosophical position that all phenomena can be explained in terms of natural causes and laws.

In its broadest and strongest sense, naturalism is the metaphysical position that “nature is all there is, and all basic truths are truths of nature. ” Things and powers, commonly regarded as supernatural, for example, gods and witchcraft, are asserted to be nonexistent.

Objectivism Objectivism (Ayn Rand) holds that reality exists independent of consciousness; that individual persons are in contact with this reality through sensory perception; that human beings can gain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive and deductive logic; that the proper moral purpose of one’s life is the pursuit of one’s own happiness or rational self-interest;

That the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights, embodied in pure laissez faire capitalism; and that the role of art in human life is to transform man’s widest metaphysical ideas, by selective reproduction of reality, into a physical form—a work of art—that he can comprehend and to which he can respond emotionally.


Relativism is the idea that some elements or aspects of experience or culture are relative to, i. e. , dependent on, other elements or aspects. Common statements that might be considered relativistic include “That’s true for you but not for me” “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” “You can’t judge other cultures by the standards of your own” Relativism is sometimes (though not always) interpreted as saying that all points of view are equally valid, in contrast to an absolutism which argues there is but one true and correct view.


Subjectivism is a philosophical tenet that accords primacy to subjective experience as fundamental of all measure and law. In an extreme form, it may hold that the nature and existence of every object depends solely on someone’s subjective awareness of it. Utilitarianism Utilitarianism is described by the phrase “the greatest good for the greatest number of people”. Therefore, it is also known as “the greatest happiness principle”. And like any ethical theory, the application of utilitarianism is heavily dependent on the moral agent’s full range of wisdom, experience, social skills, and life skills.

Deontology Deontology holds that the most important aspects of our lives are governed by certain unbreakable moral rules. Deontologists hold that these rules may not be broken, even if breaking them may improve an outcome. In other words, they may do the “right” thing, even though the consequences of that action may not be “good. ” The famous philosopher, Immanuel Kant is often identified with this theory. One example of a list of “unbreakable” rules is the Ten Commandments.

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