Business Ethics and Social Responsibility Essay
Business Ethics and Social Responsibility
Title Assignment topic 1) What are your preferred definitions of business ethics and social responsibility Why have you chosen these definitions 2) What is one key issue in the area of business ethics and social responsibility that is relevant, currently, to your organisation and your industry (You need to explain the issue and show its relevance to your organisation/industry) 3) What strategies could your organisation adopt to address this issue (You need to explain these fully) Word count Words Executive Summary There have been drastic changes today that have and continue to influence business ethics. However, organizations are lagging behind these changes or simply ignoring business ethics all together. Recent companies have failed to practice business ethics and social responsibility as their primary aim remains on making profits. The issue is that in fact, management have been blindsided by their need to make monies under whatever circumstances necessary which usually constitutes for foregoing ethical practices. The most credible of organisations and employees have indeed professional integrity and have been reliant on a code of ethics for the organizations principles and standards of practice. The plight of society continues to surround business ethics and corporate social responsibility which is yet to surface most organisations.
The subject of Business Ethics and Social Responsibility introduces current issues experienced in organizations and provides guided analysis to enable a better understanding and appreciation of these issues. Illustrations of consequent economic costs having failed to practice ethical behaviors and social responsibility by the organization and individuals within have been provided also. Presented in this paper, with the aid of an example organization- Marpol Distribution Limited a family owned and operated Hardware and Auto supplies wholesale distribution company, are a wide array of ethical issues recognized within its business activities with proposed solutions in order to address the aforementioned issues. TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Introduction……3 2. Defining Business Ethics and Social Responsibility………….4 3. A lack of business ethics and social responsibility at Marpol Distribution Limited ……5 4. Addressing the issues of Marpol Distribution Limited……………7 5. Conclusion …………10 6. References ………….12 7. Appendix……….13 1.Introduction The relevance and necessity to which business ethics and social responsibility hold within any organisation is inordinate compared to the practices of most organisations presently. Therefore, the wellbeing of society and todays business world is at stake since it lies in the hands of business leaders who fail to exercise ethical procedures. The confidence in business operations once held by customers have been drastically shaken due to the collapses and corporate scandals surrounding some of the most pioneering and respected companies such as Arthur Andersen, WorldCom, Tyco and the most famous Enron (Studymode.com, 2012).
Hence the urgency and necessity for the incorporation of ethics and social responsibility in business decision-making and strategic planning is heightened together with the compulsory provision of pertinent education to forthcoming business leaders in order to operate a sustainable and protected organisation. I believe that business ethics goes beyond the laws and legality, instead it teaches positive attributes such as respect, honesty, politeness which should be adopted into business practices (Inc.com, 1996). Furthermore, Ghillyer suggests in his book Business Ethics Now that there is a choice guidance for persons by ways of either moral standards or the moral compass of others in determining suitable behaviour which has influences stemming from cultural backgrounds or traditions to the norms of the environment in which we are positioned (2012). On the other hand, the social responsibility of a company deals with the management of its business processes so that a holistic positive impact on stakeholders and society is fashioned (Mallenbaker.net, 2004). The social responsibility of a company is often associated with the triple bottom line profit, people, and planet which can be theorized as the stewardship of the economy, society and the environment are at the organizations concentration (Zipcon.net, 1953 Elkington, 1998). This paper aims to satisfy the requirements of firstly defining business ethic and social responsibility. Subsequently, unethical issues encountered in Marpol Distributions Ltd will be identified and addressed.
2.Defining Business Ethics and Social Responsibility Business ethics refers to the underlying framework for carrying on business by adhering to generally accepted standards of right behaviour (highered.mcgraw-hill.com n.d.).It involves discernment of right, good and propriety from wrong, evil and propriety thereafter taking actions accordingly to the choice made. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development in its publication Making Good Business Sensedefined Social Responsibility as the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large (Holme and Watts 2000) it focuses on the quality of their management regarding both processes and persons alongside the nature and extent of impacts on society. Although the terms social responsibility and ethics are used interchangeably, meanings differ. Business ethics relates to an individuals or a work groups decisions that society evaluates as right or wrong, whereas social responsibility is a broader concept that concerns the impact of the entire businesss activities on society (highered.mcgraw-hill.com n.d.).
These definitions were chosen mainly because, they added to the scope of business ethical behaviour and societal responsibility, it brings clarity to the concept of values and morals and overall contribution to society as individuals and businesses. Ethical standards helps to the shape both the internal and external construct of any organization .Companies that rely on ethical standards which includes values and morals rely less on legislation from central or state government . The belief that business ethics is an essential element in any organization influences the companys impact towards its social responsibility. Organizations involved in the wholesale supply of goods and raw materials, such as Marpol Distribution Limited should strive to maintain or incorporate the necessary values and morals to aid in its decision making process . According to Hartman (2005,p2), who made the suggestion that ethics involves judgments as to good and bad, right and wrong, and what ought to be. This therefore will have a major impact in the dynamics of the organization. 3.A lack of business ethics and social responsibility at Marpol Distribution Limited With intentions of implementing ethical practices into the business procedures, one must firstly understand business ethics which requires the identification of ethical issues within the organization.
Ethical issues are identifiable problems, situations, or opportunities that requires a person to choose from among several actions that may be evaluated as right or wrong, ethical or unethical (highered.mcgraw-hill.com n.d.). In most cases this usually implicates much deliberation between choosing monetary gain over conducting oneself fittingly. Considering the business activities of Marpol Distribution Limited we can diagnose ethical disputes that they have encountered. As previously mentioned this organization is typically family-managed and operated with its traditional methods of approach immutable. While remaining old-fashioned might work in favour of some companies, it has had the reverse effect on Marpol Distribution Limited. Quality assurance is a major facet in the operations of Marpol Distribution as the expectations of customers of this supply company is quite high together with responsibilities to societal contribution and development. The issue arises therefore, when a lack of standard up brings in relations of values and morals are recognised. Values tend to be seen as end goals sought by individual and vary from person to person based on their desires for profit, law, virtue or charity (See Appendix). Morals tend to be seen as rules or duties that govern behaviour in our personal interactions they are our personal guiding principles (Optimal.org 1997).
Generally, ethics can be seen to be the same for people within the same culture (Hartman, 2005, p2). Companies like Marpol Distribution Limited, led by its vision statement to ensure profit and continuous growth has had negative impact of ethical behaviour. This therefore has resulted in a loss of customer supplier relationship and indirectly affected its profit margin The consequences of unethical behaviour and unethical business institutions are too serious to be ignored (Des Jardins, p. 3). As suggested by Des Jardins, business ethics are simply too serious for Marpol Distribution to ignore. Corporate Governance or the lack thereof has certainly contributed negatively to the current situation of Marpol Distribution Limited. This is demonstrated as this profit driven organisation fails to emulate the necessary attributes to generate good governance such as responsiveness values of fairness, accountability, responsibility and transparency emphasis on non-monetary aspects of operations etc. (Unescap.org 2013).
This is also extended to unethical leadership which constitutes employee insolence as it has been suggested that employees emulate the behaviours of those above them based on their perception of ethics observed (Davis 2004). In addition, the company has become loyal to its family-run business style and as a result the recruitment process that exists within this company has failed them seeing as the workforce comprises of unskilled and unqualified family members who have prevailed over a more appropriate workforce.