Ethical Values in Business Essay
Ethical Values in Business
The corporate world – an integral part of our lives, the soul of a country’s economic growth, a world filled with hustle – bustle 24*7, a world that generates employment for every second person you meet… But, sadly, it is also the domicile of power games and foul play and this is the reason why a look at ‘ETHICS AND VALUES IN BUSNIESS’ is critical and relevant. Business has created wealth that has given an unprecedented number of individuals’ financial control of their lives. It has expanded a person’s horizon infinitely, broken down all perceivable barriers. In short, business has been a prime mover in making it possible for millions to pursue their lives in a wealthy, healthy, rational and exciting world.
Yet no other human institution has been so plagued by suspicions of immorality. “Business ethics,” the old joke goes, “Isn’t that a contradiction in terms?” Business ethics is a form of the art of applied ethics that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that can arise in a business environment. In the increasingly conscience-focused marketplaces of the 21st century, the demand for more ethical business processes and actions ~ Ethicism, is increasing. Simultaneously, pressure is applied on industry to improve business ethics through new public initiatives and laws. This paper takes a peek into the enterprises that have proved that there is room for ethics and values in business. See how ethical corporates already are and how their ethics facilitate them to be leaders in their industry.
SCOPE OF THIS PAPER:
Understanding ethics and the concept of Business Ethics Impact of ethics in the Manufacturing Sector Education Sector IT/ITES & BPO Sector Food Industry Media and Advertising Cases and Examples
The corporate world – an integral part of our lives, the soul of a country’s economic growth, a world filled with hustle – bustle 24*7, a world that generates employment for every second person you meet… But, sadly, it is also the domicile of power games and foul play and this is the reason why a look at ‘ETHICS AND VALUES IN BUSNIESS’ is critical and relevant. Of the Institutions that have contributed to the quality of human life, business ranks with science, art, and education.
Business has created the wealth that has given unprecedented numbers of individuals’ financial control of their lives. It has expanded immeasurably the range of goods and services available to individuals. It has broken down countless centuriesold barriers of racial, sexual, religious, and ethnic prejudice. And it has been the vehicle for countless numbers of individuals to develop their fullest potentials in achieving their dreams. In short, business has been a prime mover in making it possible for millions to pursue their lives in a wealthy, healthy, rational and exciting world. Yet no other human institution has been so plagued by suspicions of immorality. “Business ethics,” the old joke goes, “Isn’t that a contradiction in terms?”
The credibility of the term ‘Business Ethics’ has come into question, in recent times as ‘business ethics’ is increasingly being considered an oxymoron. It is generally believed that business and ethics cannot coexist and organizations are said to thrive on unethical practices. Business ethics, as far from being a contradiction in terms, has become one of the most important areas of managerial competence and responsibility. The ethics question warrants exploration on several levels: 1. At the macro- level: focusing on the ethical rightness of the system. 2. At the corporate-level: focusing the decisions that impact others. 3. At the individual-level: within an entity.
The major issues in business ethics can be classified into four areas: The relationship between business and consumers The relationship between employers and employees The nature and value of special forms of business organization—most notably, that of the corporation The nature and value of financial markets The issue of the proper scope of government regulation cuts across these four categories. Miscellaneous issues such as waste disposal (“the environment”) and investing in morally dubious foreign nations (such as Communist China or Iraq) are often debated in the business ethics literature, but are primarily issues of political theory and so do not fit into the above business ethics categories.
Changing Corporate Landscape
Increasing number of Corporate Scandals Concern towards the wealth creation process It’s Mr.Clean vs. Ms Controversial (12/7/2007) BJP smells a scam in wheat import contracts (12/7/2007) Sweet & Sour: Light on calories, light on value? (23/6/2007) Fresh battle: China plays down food-safety troubles (14/6/2007) BP CEO quits over scandal (02/05/2007) Siemens CEO, dogged by bribery affair, quits (26/4/2007) Nasdaq founder Macklin dead (02/02/2007) Siemens chief quits as co faces bribery, corruption charges (21/4/2007) CFOs find it ‘ suffocating’ these days (29/1/2007) Ex-Cendant chairman gets over 12 years in jail (19/01/2007) ~Source: Economic Times, Mumbai
According to a specials report in Times of India; It is disgraceful that the poverty ratio is 28% (according to a recent government estimate) after half a century of independence. Why so? It is because, despite spending enormous sums, the government has failed dismally to provide every village
with the basics of growth.
The concept of Business Ethics has come to mean various things to various people, but generally it’s coming to know what it right or wrong in the workplace and doing what’s right -this is in regard to effects of products/services and in relationships with stakeholders. Caveat emptor: This ancient Latin proverb let the buyer beware, tells us that business ethics has been a societal concern going back a long ways indeed. Ethics is not an exact science. People define Ethics in accordance with their own set of values which differ depending on time, place and culture. Webster’s defines Ethics as “the discipline dealing with what is good and bad or right and wrong or with moral duty and obligation.”
The word derives from the Greek word meaning “moral,” a Latin word with roots in “mores” or “customs”—in other words the values held by society. Business Ethics is a form of the art of applied ethics that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that can arise in a business environment. In the increasingly conscience-focused marketplaces of the 21st century, the demand for more ethical business processes and actions ~ Ethicism, is increasing. Simultaneously, pressure is applied on industry to improve business ethics through new public initiatives and laws.
The simplest definition of ethics and moral values would be to not distinguish between the two and say that they describe what is right and what is wrong in human behavior and what ought to be. Business ethics are the desired norms of behavior exclusively dealing with commercial transactions. Moral values are deep seated ideas and feelings that manifest themselves as behavior or conduct. If we know the consequences of our actions we can convert values into rules of behavior that can then be described as ethics, i.e, Values + Knowledge = Ethics In the business world, ethics often are displaced by greed when there is a periodic frenzy of rising stock market prices. Inevitably, a steep downturn then inflicts losses on investors and on businesses with a concomitant reduction in the work force. An excessive competitive spirit tends to induce unethical business practices so the business world becomes a battlefield where the normal rules are flouted, skirted or simply disregarded. The ensuing instability is bad for the economy and for the government.
TWO BROAD AREAS OF BUSINESS ETHICS
1. Managerial mischief. Madsen and Shafritz, in their book “Essentials of Business Ethics” explain that “managerial mischief” includes “illegal, unethical, or questionable practices of individual managers or organizations, as well as the causes of such behaviours and remedies to eradicate them.” There has been a great deal written about managerial mischief, leading many to believe that business ethics is merely a matter of preaching the basics of what is right and wrong. More often, though, business ethics is a matter of dealing with dilemmas that have no clear indication of what is right or wrong. 2. Moral mazes. The other broad area of business ethics is “moral mazes of management” and includes the numerous ethical problems that managers must deal with on a daily
basis, such as potential conflicts of interest, wrongful use of resources, mismanagement of contracts and agreements, etc.
THREE APPROACHES TO ETHICS
The field of ethics, also called moral philosophy, involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior. Philosophers today usually divide ethical theories into three general subject areas or three main approaches to ethics – Normative Ethics, Descriptive Ethics and Meta-Ethics.
NORMATIVE ETHICS: This was the prevalent form of ethics in philosophy until the end of the 19th century. What things are good and bad and what kind of actions / behavior are right and wrong. It involves how people ought to act on the principles, how they make moral choices, and how rules apply to individual lives. It includes a consideration of the importance of human freedom, and a discussion of the limits of a human’s responsibility for moral decisions and for the consequences of actions.
Consideration for the role of conscience in moral decision making is also a part of Normative ethics. This may come from an established group of culture, such as the Christian tradition, or it may be based on some other way of thinking. This is the traditional way of doing Ethics. DESCRIPTIVE ETHICS: It is the study of ways in which different people and different societies have answered moral questions. It can be described as moral sociology or moral anthropology, a description of the moral code prevailing in different societies. It involves different approaches inside one society to the resolution of ethical problems.
META-ETHICS: This is sometimes called moral philosophy or philosophical ethics. This group attracts most interest today. It seeks to understand the meaning and function moral language, of ethical terms like good and bad. It looks at the logic used in arriving at the conclusion of an argument that justifies a moral choice. Posing an ethical question illustrates the different ways the two positions respond to it. If you asked the question “Is pre-marital sex right,” a Normative Ethical answer would be more concerned with the reasons why it might be right or wrong, how they relate to certain teachings, or traditions of, say the Christian Church, or some other group.
A meta-Ethical response would be more interested in what you mean by right, and what it means by a right sexual action as opposed to a wrong one. Meta Ethics has produced a number of different schools, which we will look at over the coming few weeks: Ethical Naturalism (Definism) Ethical Non-naturalism (Intuitionism) Ethical Non-cognitivism (Emotivism)
FOUR VIEWS OF ETHICS
Recent corporate scandals including Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, and ImClone may cause many to conclude that corporate has no ethics. The term ethics refers to rules and principles that define right and wrong conduct. FOUR VIEWS OF ETHICS
1. UTILITARIAN VIEW of ethics says that: Ethical decisions are made solely on the basis of their outcomes or consequences. Greatest good is provided for the greatest number Encourages efficiency and productivity and is consistent with the goal of profit maximization
2. RIGHTS VIEW of ethics is concerned with respecting and protecting individual liberties and privileges such as the rights to privacy, free speech, and due process. Respecting and protecting individual liberties and privileges Seeks to protect individual rights of conscience, free speech, life and safety, and due process To make ethical decisions, managers need to avoid interfering with the fundamental rights of others
3. Theory of Justice View of ethics is where managers impose and enforce rules fairly and impartially and do so by following all legal rules and regulations. Organizational rules are enforced fairly and impartially and follow all legal rules and regulations Protects the interests of underrepresented stakeholders and the rights of employees
4. INTEGRATIVE SOCIAL CONTRACTS theory proposes that ethical decisions be based on existing ethical norms in industries and communities in determining what constitutes right and wrong. Acts are moral when they promote the individual’s best long-term interests, which ultimately leads to the greater good Individualism is believed to lead to honesty and integrity because that works best in the long run
OVERVIEW OF ISSUES IN BUSINESS ETHICS
GENERAL BUSINESS ETHICS
This part of business ethics overlaps with the philosophy of business, one of the aims of which is to determine the fundamental purposes of a company. If a company’s main purpose is to maximize the returns to its shareholders, then it could be seen as unethical for a company to consider the interests and rights of anyone else.
Corporate social responsibility or CSR: an umbrella term under which the ethical rights and duties existing between companies and society is debated. Issues regarding the moral rights and duties between a company and its shareholders: fiduciary responsibility, stakeholder concept v. shareholder concept. Ethical issues concerning relations between different companies:
e.g. hostile takeovers, industrial espionage.
Leadership issues: corporate governance.
Political contributions made by corporations.
Law reform, such as the ethical debate over introducing a crime of corporate manslaughter. The misuse of corporate ethics policies as marketing instruments.
Professional ethics covers the myriad practical ethical problems and phenomena which arise out of specific functional areas of companies or in relation to recognized business professions.
ETHICS OF ACCOUNTING INFORMATION Creative accounting, earnings management, misleading financial analysis. Insider trading, securities fraud, bucket shop, forex scams: concerns (criminal) manipulation of the financial markets.
Executive compensation: concerns excessive payments made to corporate CEO’s. Bribery, kickbacks, and facilitation payments: while these may be in the (short-term) interests of the company and its shareholders, these practices may be anti-competitive or offend against the values of society.
ETHICS OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT The ethics of human resource management (HRM) covers those ethical issues arising around the employer-employee relationship, such as the rights and duties owed between employer and employee. Discrimination issues include discrimination on the bases of age (ageism), gender, race, religion, disabilities, weight and attractiveness. See also: affirmative action, sexual harassment. Issues surrounding the representation of employees and the democratization of the workplace: union busting, strike breaking.
Issues affecting the privacy of the employee: workplace surveillance, drug testing. Issues affecting the privacy of the employer: whistle-blowing. Issues relating to the fairness of the employment contract and the balance of power between employer and employee: slavery, indentured servitude, employment law. Occupational safety and health.
ETHICS OF SALES AND MARKETING Marketing which goes beyond the mere provision of information about (and access to) a product may seek to manipulate our values and behavior. To some extent society regards this as acceptable, but where is the ethical line to be drawn? Marketing ethics overlaps strongly with media ethics, because marketing makes heavy use of media. However, media ethics is a much larger topic and extends outside business ethics. Pricing: price fixing, price discrimination, price skimming. Anti-competitive practices: these include but go beyond pricing tactics to cover issues such as manipulation of loyalty and supply chains. See: anti-competitive practices, antitrust law. Specific marketing strategies: greenwash, bait and switch, shill, viral marketing, spam (electronic), pyramid scheme, planned obsolescence. Content of advertisements: attack ads, subliminal messages, sex in advertising, products regarded as immoral or harmful Children and marketing: marketing in schools.
ETHICS OF PRODUCTION This area of business ethics deals with the duties of a company to ensure that products and production processes do not cause harm. Some of the more acute dilemmas in this area arise out of the fact that there is usually a degree of danger in any product or production process and it is difficult to define a degree of permissibility, or the degree of permissibility may depend on the changing state of preventative technologies or changing social perceptions of acceptable risk.
Defective, addictive and inherently dangerous products and services (e.g. tobacco, alcohol, weapons, motor vehicles, chemical manufacturing, bungee jumping). Ethical relations between the company and the environment: pollution, environmental ethics, carbon emissions trading. Ethical problems arising out of new technologies: genetically modified food, mobile phone radiation and health. Product testing ethics: animal rights and animal testing, use of economically disadvantaged groups (such as students) as test objects.
ETHICS OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS Knowledge and skills are valuable but not easily “ownable” objects. Nor is it obvious who has the greater rights to an idea: the company who trained the employee or the employee themselves? The country in which the plant grew, or the company which discovered and developed the plant’s medicinal potential? As a result, attempts to assert ownership and ethical disputes over ownership arise. Patent infringement, copyright infringement, trademark infringement. Misuse of the intellectual property systems to stifle competition: patent misuse, copyright misuse, patent troll, submarine patent. Even the notion of intellectual property itself has been criticised on ethical grounds: see intellectual property. Employee raiding: the practice of attracting key employees away from a competitor to take unfair advantage of the knowledge or skills they may possess.
The practice of employing all the most talented people in a specific field, regardless of need, in order to prevent any competitors employing them. Bioprospecting (ethical) and biopiracy (unethical). Business intelligence and industrial espionage.
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS ETHICS AND ETHICS OF ECONOMIC SYSTEMS The issues here are grouped together because they involve a much wider, global view on business ethical matters.
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS ETHICS While business ethics emerged as a field in the 1970s, international business ethics did not emerge until the late 1990s, looking back on the international developments of that decade. Many new practical issues arose out of the international context of business. Theoretical issues such as cultural relativity of ethical values receive more emphasis in this field. Other, older issues can be grouped here as well. Issues and subfields include: The search for universal values as a basis for international commercial behavior. Comparison of business ethical traditions in different countries. Comparison of business ethical traditions from various religious perspectives. Ethical issues arising out of international business transactions; e.g. bioprospecting and biopiracy in the pharmaceutical industry; the fair trade movement; transfer pricing. Issues such as globalization and cultural imperialism.
Varying global standards – e.g. the use of child labour. The way in which multinationals take advantage of international differences, such as outsourcing production (e.g. clothes) and services (e.g. call centre’s) to low-wage countries. The permissibility of international commerce with pariah states.
THEORETICAL ISSUES IN BUSINESS ETHICS
Business ethics can be examined from various perspectives, including the perspective of the employee, the commercial enterprise, and society as a whole. Very often, situations arise in which there is conflict between one or more of the parties, such that serving the interest of one party is a detriment to the other(s). For example, a particular outcome might be good for the employee, whereas, it would be bad for the company, society, or vice versa. Some ethicists (e.g., Henry Sidgwick) see the principal role of ethics as the harmonization and reconciliation of conflicting interests.
ETHICAL ISSUES AND APPROACHES
Philosophers and others disagree about the purpose of a business ethic in society. For example, some suggest that the principal purpose of a business is to maximize returns to its owners, or in the case of a publicly-traded concern, its shareholders. Thus, under this view, only those activities that
increase profitability and shareholder value should be encouraged. Some believe that the only companies that are likely to survive in a competitive marketplace are those that place profit maximization above everything else. However, some point out that self interest would still require a business to obey the law and adhere to basic moral rules, because the consequences of failing to do so could be very costly in fines, loss of licensure, or company reputation. The economist Milton Friedman was a leading proponent of this view.
Other theorists contend that a business has moral duties that extend well beyond serving the interests of its owners or stockholders, and that these duties consist of more than simply obeying the law. They believe a business has moral responsibilities to so-called stakeholders, people who have an interest in the conduct of the business, which might include employees, customers, vendors, the local community, or even society as a whole. They would say that stakeholders have certain rights with regard to how the business operates, and some would suggest that this includes even rights of governance. Some theorists have adapted social contract theory to business, whereby companies become quasi-democratic associations, and employees and other stakeholders are given voice over a company’s operations.
This approach has become especially popular subsequent to the revival of contract theory in political philosophy, which is largely due to John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice, and the advent of the consensus-oriented approach to solving business problems, an aspect of the “quality movement” that emerged in the 1980s. Professors Thomas Donaldson and Thomas Dunfee proposed a version of contract theory for business, which they call Integrative Social Contracts Theory. They posit that conflicting interests are best resolved by formulating a “fair agreement” between the parties, using a combination of i) Macro-principles that all rational people would agree upon as universal principles, and, ii) Micro-principles formulated by actual agreements among the interested parties. Critics say the proponents of contract theories miss a central point, namely, that a business is someone’s property and not a mini-state or a means of distributing social justice.
Ethical issues can arise when companies must comply with multiple and sometimes conflicting legal or cultural standards, as in the case of multinational companies that operate in countries with varying practices. The question arises, for example, ought a company to obey the laws of its home country, or should it follow the less stringent laws of the developing country in which it does business? To illustrate, United States law forbids companies from paying bribes either domestically or overseas; however, in other parts of the world, bribery is a customary, accepted way of doing business. Similar problems can occur with regard to child labor, employee safety, work hours, wages, discrimination, and environmental protection laws. It is sometimes claimed that a Gresham’s law of ethics applies in which bad ethical practices drive out good ethical practices. It is claimed that in a competitive business environment, those companies that survive are the ones that recognize that their only role is to maximize profits. On this view, the competitive system fosters a downward ethical spiral.
ETHICS IN MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY
In the corporate world, business ethics have a major role to play in the manufacturing sector too. It is the duty of the manufacturer to produce the products and goods according to the customer’s requirements and satisfaction. He / She has to produce goods which is of good quality, reasonable price and to top it all it should be safe to use by the customer. In case if the products produced by a particular company are not up to the customer’s expectations or requirements then the customer has a right to question the manufacturer and be compensated for the damage caused to him on using the product. Thus, all companies are taking great care and paying attention to produce proper and good quality products adhering to the standards, lest their company’s reputation does not get affected. Despite all these consumer rights assuming great importance in the society, do all manufacturing industries follow ethical values and principles in their day to day lives?
“A Business that makes nothing but Money is a Poor kind of Business.” ~ Henry Ford Whether it is for the sake of beating competition or simply because it makes good business sense, companies now have started to internalize business ethics and values. Ethics have become a part and parcel of the entire manufacturing process. Sometime back the bottom line of an enterprise used to be monetary profits but this bottom line today comprises a whole gamut of subjects like quality assurance, environmental friendly practices, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and many more. Gone are the days when companies could act philanthropic and charitable by parting with a miniscule portion of their profits. There is no recognition for an organization that fails to recognize ethics and values in its domain area.
Motorola is known around the world for innovation and leadership in wireless and broadband communications. Inspired by its vision of Seamless Mobility, the people of Motorola are committed to helping people get and stay connected simply and seamlessly to information, and entertainment that you want and need. Motorola does this by designing and delivering the “must have” products, “must do” experiences and powerful networks — along with a full complement of support services. A Fortune 100 company with global presence and impact, Motorola had sales of US$35.3 billion in 2005.
KEY BELIEFS – THE WAY MOTOROLA WILL ALWAYS ACT
Motorola’s Key Beliefs have been in existence for decades, and Motorola continues to have a strong culture of corporate ethics and citizenship. Since its original establishment in the 1970s, its Code of Business Conduct has provided Motorola employees guidance for their business activities, placing a priority on establishing trust with its stakeholders. However, it is not enough to declare its good values. Motorola is committed to acting on them–through the potential of its technology and the way they conduct their business. The EthicsLine offers information, advice and suggestions. Use it to discuss any concern or problem – not just for emergencies. The EthicsLine strives to make sure that all questions or concerns are handled fairly, discreetly and thoroughly.
ETHICAL PRACTICES PRACTICED BY MOTOROLA
Times will change. Our products will change. Our people will change. Our customers will change. What will not change is our commitment to our key beliefs. The key beliefs define who they are as individuals and as a company – to each other, its customers, its shareholders, its suppliers, its competitors and its communities. Uncompromising integrity means staying true to what they believe. Motorola adheres to honesty, fairness and doing the right thing without compromise, even when circumstances make it difficult. Constant respect for people means how Motorola treats everyone with dignity. Constant respect applies to every individual they interact with around the world. The Code of Business Conduct is a guide to help Motorolans live up to Motorola’s high ethical standards — and their own. It summarizes many of the laws that Motorola and all Motorolans are required to live by. The Code goes beyond the legal minimums, however, by describing the ethical values we share as Motorolans.
The Code is neither a contract nor a comprehensive manual that covers every situation Motorolans throughout the world might encounter. It highlights key issues and identifies policies and resources to help Motorolans reach decisions that will make Motorola proud.
MOTOROLA’s RESPONSIBILITY TO MOTOROLANS
We respect the dignity of each Motorolan. Motorolans will treat each other with respect and fairness at all times. They will value the difference of diverse individuals from around the world. Employment decisions will be based on business reasons, such as qualifications, talents and achievements, and will comply with local and national employment laws. Abusive, harassing or offensive conduct is unacceptable, whether verbal, physical or visual. Examples include derogatory comments based on racial or ethnic characteristics and unwelcome sexual advances.
The Motorolans are encouraged to speak out if a co-worker’s conduct makes them uncomfortable and to report harassment if it occurs. They are all responsible for maintaining a safe workplace by following safety and health rules and practices. They are responsible for immediately reporting accidents, injuries and unsafe equipment, practices or conditions to a supervisor or other designated person. Motorola is committed to keeping its workplaces free from hazards. To protect the safety of all employees, each of them must report to work free from the influence of any substance that could prevent them from conducting work activities safely and effectively. Threats or acts of violence or physical intimidation are prohibited.
MOTOROLA’s RESPONSIBILITY TO CUSTOMERS AND CONSUMERS
We earn customer loyalty by delivering on our promises. Maintaining Motorola’s valuable reputation requires complying with its quality processes and safety requirements. Motorola builds long-term relationships with its customers by demonstrating honesty and integrity. Its marketing and advertising will be accurate and truthful. Deliberately misleading messages, omissions of important facts or false claims about its competitors’ offerings are unacceptable. They obtain business legally and ethically. Bribes or kickbacks are unacceptable. Guidance on customer gifts, travel and entertainment is in the Conflicts of Interest section of this Code. Motorola protects its customer information that is sensitive, private or confidential – just as carefully as they protect their own. Only those who have a need to know, have access to confidential information.
MOTOROLA’s RESPONSIBILITY TO COMMUNITIES
As a global corporate citizen, Motorola creates products and provides services that benefit people around the world. Motorola serves society by providing life-enhancing products and services at a fair price, and by actively supporting the communities in which they operate. Motorola, the Motorola Foundation and Motorolans throughout the world provide generous financial and voluntary support to thousands of worthwhile community programs. Motorolans are free to support community, charity and political organizations and causes of their choice, as long as they make it clear that their views and actions are not those of Motorola. Employees’ outside activities must not interfere with job performance. No Motorolan may pressure another employee to express a view that is contrary to a personal belief, or to contribute to or support political, religious or charitable causes.
Motorola respects the environment by complying with all applicable environmental laws in all countries in which they conduct operations. Motorola is committed to protecting the environment by minimizing the environmental impact of its operations and operating its businesses in ways that foster sustainable use of the world’s natural resources. Motorolans must comply with Motorola’s environmental policies and programs. Notify management if hazardous materials come into contact with the environment or are improperly handled or discarded. Motorola provides fair, accurate, timely and easy to understand information to the public. To ensure professional and consistent handling, requests from the media are forwarded to the local communications group or Corporate Communications. Requests from financial analysts and shareholders are forwarded to Investor Relations.
ETHICS IN THE EDUCATION SECTOR
Human beings have an innate ethical sense that urges them to make predictable choices. Although most people believe that their actions are guided by logic and reason, reason often acts only as a mechanism to justify these choices. Ethics education is about recognizing the real power of one’s innate ethical sense and how it influences our behavior. In this way we can free reason to become a tool to truly guide our actions. Without the wisdom that results from understanding one’s innate ethical self, reason remains a powerful propaganda prop for unchallenged intrinsic human ethical imperatives. Educational institutions are microcosms of culture and the society that supports them. As such, they should be bastions of ethical behavior. These institutions should be the training ground for students to determine and practice their personal ethics code which will guide them for the remained of their lives. Each classroom becomes a laboratory of the process of decision making, and of critically examining choices in the workplace, interpersonal relationships, and personal lives. Teachers can play an important role in assisting students to view ethical choices as a vital part of their future lives, both as professionals and in their daily living.
“The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings.” ~ Albert Schweitzer, German doctor and Theologian.
SCHOOL OF ETHICS
Business ethics to students has become a critical issue as the future of any nation lies in creating not just CEO’s and headers but in creating successful individuals who are ethically strong. Ethics can be taught in two major ways:
1. THE PHILOSOPHY
The best way to encourage students on this path would be to ask students to think of actions that they consider morally right and wrong. Responses like “that is what our society says” should be gently resisted, on the grounds that they do not account for why certain kinds of actions are favored over others. Later the exercise is repeated with business situations like deceptive product representation, the subjection of employees to unsafe or dangerous working conditions (particularly without their consent), discrimination, padding expense reports and other self-interested lines, monopolistic practices that exclude competitors from the market, and so forth.
2. CONVERSATIONAL METHOD OF TEACHING BUSINESS ETHICS
Using conversational learning in business ethics teaching efforts will allow students to become self-reflective, to learn the value of dialogue and good moral conversation, to learn about others’ learning experiences and attitudes, and to apply the knowledge gained to organizational life. The process seems to foster a trusting environment, one in which students engage in active participation and take personal risks in the classroom.
ROLE OF THE STUDENT
Listening to others with the intention of learning with them Reflecting intentionally to gain organizational life. Being open – minded and accepting that there are multiple legitimate and viable perspectives and possibilities in any situation. Understanding that there is no right answer or right approach in an ethical situation. Being proactive in anticipating potential ethical and moral dilemmas and finding different ways to learn from different perspectives about how one might address such dilemmas. more understanding of the complexities of
ROLE OF THE TEACHER
The conversational methods of teaching business ethics have the following requisites:Knowing one’s strengths and shortcomings, being honest with oneself, continuously striving to increase our ethical (and other) self – awareness, seeking and listening to feedback from responsible peers and colleagues. Building an atmosphere of trust and psychological safety and a norm of collective responsibility in the classroom. Generating empathy in the students and making them learn from each other’s experiences. Reflecting and building on differences in perspectives of different students. Emphasizing relationships and social interactions and proactively managing the dynamics of ethical and moral situations, challenges, opportunities and dilemmas.
In the long run meaningful dialogue promotes deeper commitment to the goal, purpose of mission of teaching business ethics. However, it is important to recognize that the introduction to talking and learning about values, beliefs, morals and other ethically related issues often generates in students powerful emotional responses ranging from self doubt and shame to
frustration and confusion.
ETHICS IN the it sector
Ethics in IT industry and BPO is a form of art of applied ethics that examines ethical rules and principles within a commercial context, the various moral or ethical problems that can arise in a setting of any industry and any special duties or obligations that apply to persons who are engaged. Every IT industry has one or more values, whether they are consciously aware of it or not. Another way of saying it is that a value is a statement of the company’s intention and commitment to achieve a high level of performance on a specific Qualitative or Quantitative factor. As a part of more comprehensive compliance and ethic programs in IT companies, many companies have formulated internal policies pertaining to the ethical conduct of employees. These policies can be simple exhortations in broad, highly generalized language, or they can be more detailed policies containing specific requirements.
They are generally meant to identify the companies’ expectations of workers and to offer guidance on handling some of the more common ethical problems that might arise. It is hoped that having such a policy will lead to:Ethical Awareness Improvements in ethical policies Consistency in application Avoidance of ethical disasters An increasing number of companies also require employees to attend seminars regarding ethical conduct, which often include discussions of the company’s policies, specific case studies and legal requirements. Some companies even require their employees to sign agreements stating that they will abide to the ethical codes and practices. “Every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity an obligation;
ETHICs – bpo – security
Why must BPO Companies hire “Ethical Hackers”
BPO organizations must secure their IT infrastructure and networks. Just as corporations employ auditors to routinely examine financial records, so should BPO Service Providers audit security policy. Without security audits and compliance controls, no real security exists. This is a big problem. There are plenty of individuals waiting to test and probe your organization’s security stance. These individuals range from government to corporate spies, to hackers, crackers, script kiddies, or those who write and release malicious code into the wild. Their presence in your network is not a good thing!
Who are Ethical Hackers?
An ethical hacker is most similar to a penetration tester. The ethical hacker is an individual who is employed or contracted to undertake an attempted penetration test. These individuals use the same methods employed by hackers. In case you were unsure; hacking is a felony in the United States. Ethical Hackers have written authorization to probe a network. Only then is this attempted hack legal, as there is a contract between the ethical hacker and the organization. In 1995, long before today’s stringent guidelines, one individual received 3 felony counts, 5 years probation, 480 hours of community service, and a $68,000 legal bill for failing to insure proper authorization.
How is Ethical Hacking Performed?
Primarily, ethical hackers are employed in groups to perform penetration tests. These groups are commonly referred as “Red Teams”. These individuals are paid by the organization to poke, prod, and determine the overall level of security. Again, what is important here is that they have been given written permission to perform this test and have detailed boundaries to work within. Don’t be lulled into believing that the penalties fro legal penetration are low, it is a felony!!
What is the Test about?
The Certified Ethical Hacker Exam consists of 21 domains covered in 50
questions. It has a two – hour time limit. These questions have multiple choice answer options. During the test, it is allowed to mark questions for which the answers are not too sure about and then return for later review. The domains were compiled to evaluate the full range of security testing. One must also demonstrate how hacker tools work and demonstrate knowledge of professional security tools, as well as how these tools are utilized. The 21 domains are as follows: 1. Ethics and Legal Issues 2. Footprinting 3. Scanning 4. Enumeration 5. System Hacking 6. Trojans and Backdoors 7. Sniffers 8. Denial of Service 9. Social Engineering 10.Session Hijacking 11.Hacking Web Servers 12.We Application Vulnerabilities 13.Web Based Password Cracking Techniques 14.SQL Injection 15.Hacking Wireless Networks 16.Virus and Worms 17.Hacking Novell 18.Hacking Linux 19.IDS, Firewalls, and Honeypots 20.Buffer Overflows 21.Cryptography
ETHICS IN the food sector
Whether we eat to live or live to eat, we all would have been out to eat, at some point in our lives. The above statement is seriously understated since most of us eat out at least once a week. Whenever we visit a hotel or buy some packaged food, it indirectly indicates the trustworthiness of the brand. The underlying factor contributing towards a brand image is the ethics followed by the company. The food industry shoulders a huge responsibility; the health of their patrons / consumers. The industry has to adhere to laws, procedures, norms and several quality standards. Right from the raw materials, the various ingredients, procurement to the processing and packaging activities have to be meticulously carried out. Now let us see how the various ethical aspects are dealt with in this industry.
AAVIN Goodness of milk
The first cooperative diary was set up at Chennai city during the year 1927. The state diary development department was established in 1958. The first modern diary plant with a capacity to handle 50,000 litres per day of pasteurized milk was established in the year 1963 at Madhavaram near Chennai with the aid from New Zealand. A diary to handle 50,000 litres per day was set up at Madurai with the assistance of the UNICEF in 1967. The system consisted of supervised milking at the village level and the transportation of the raw milk in aluminum cans through hired transport vehicles to milk chilling plants or directly to the diary.
Quality control happens to be the core element of the organization. Especially since AAVIN deals with perishable products the quality standards and fulfilling them is crucial for the sustenance of the organization. It has added to AAVIN’S goodwill through the ages and also has led to diversification in the long run. The quality control department makes state of the art machines and techniques for fulfilling their promise to provide high quality and hygienic products. Aavin has taken up measures to improve the quality of raw milk procured at the village level milk co-operative societies and also to enforce clean milk practices at the society level to enhance the quality of milk at the initial level itself. The clean milk production programme, includes not only the production of good quality milk, but also improves animal management, feed and fodder, artificial insemination, training to farmers and society personnel, installation of bulk coolers, maintaining milk yard free from flies, dirt etc. and usage of SS vessels to maintain minimum level of bacterial load, according to Aavin sources. In the diary co-operatives, the milk procurement staff is given training in clean milk production at NDDB training centres.
The milk producers are educated for hygienic management of animals, milking methods and handling of milk. They are also provided with SS pails and antiseptic solutions for cleaning the animal udder etc. Massive awareness campaigns are carried out among the society members. At present Aavin has three diaries in Chennai, on at Ambattur with a capacity of 4LLPD (Lakh Litre per Day), at Madhavaram with a capacity of 2 LLPD and the third one at Sholinganallur with a capacity of 4 LLPD for procuring milk from district unions, process and packaging in sachets to cater to the needs of consumers in and around Chennai city. All the three diaries are certified with ISO 9001:2000. Efforts are also being taken to get the HACCP certification for these three diaries.
ETHICS IN media & advertising sector
Media Ethics is the subdivision of applied ethics dealing with the particular ethical principles and standards of media, including broadcast media, film, theatre, the arts, print media and the internet. This is the general definition of media ethics and as the definition suggests, there are many dimensions to media. In today’s world, media is given a lot of importance and is considered to be the voice of the public. But there are some who take undue advantage of the freedom given to them for the sake of money, fame or in most cases both. Breach of code of conduct in this industry has more effect on people as it can be seen and followed explicitly. People trust media to give them accurate information and are at time deceived by its exaggerated versions. Media is a double edged sword and it has to be handled very carefully. Its impact is long time and is very powerful and influencing. A balance has to be struck between the purpose of media with the code of ethics.
“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” ~ Oscar Wilde, Irish Dramatist and Poet
FACEBOOK – AD PLATFORM
Facebook Ads represent a completely new way of advertising online. For the last hundred years media has been pushed out to people, but now marketers are going to be a part of the conversation. And they’re going to do this by using the social graph in the same way our users do.” – Mark Zuckerberg (Zuckerberg), Founder and CEO, Facebook, in 2007.
“The new advertising system will target ads based on personal information shared by users with their friends… It also reeks of unethical practices since when these users joined Facebook they were not told or given the
chance to opt out and state that their personal information like interests, relationship status, work history, etc. should not be used.” – Sujatha Ganesan, a Business and Technology Lawyer, in 2007.
This case discusses the ethical and privacy concerns pertaining to Facebook’s new ad system. On November 06, 2007, Mark Zuckerberg (Zuckerberg), the founder and CEO of Facebook introduced an ad system called Facebook Ads to connect business houses with Facebook users. As of November 2007, Facebook had 55 million active registered users, and was the second fastest growing social networking site, with an astounding year-on-year growth rate of 133 percent. This new system was expected to facilitate offering of better targeted advertisements to the users. According to Zuckerberg, the new ad platform would provide a very different way of online advertising as it would give the advertiser a chance to ‘be a part of the conversation’ by using the ‘social graph’ in the same way as the Facebook users did.
Earlier this summer, a Miss America contestant was blackmailed using pictures from her old Facebook page to try to get her dethroned from her title of Miss New Jersey. Amy Polumbo had deleted her Facebook page before the state pageant, but that didn’t stop an anonymous sender who called themselves the “Committee to Save Miss America.” Polumbo did not give up her crown, and the photos that were sent were not as bad as they were made out to be. But it teaches us all a lesson, especially business owners, about how open one should be on social networking sites. Potential risk to using social networking sites for business related purposes is privacy. One of the hottest issues is Facebook’s new social ad policy, which allows you to basically become a free advertisement for any company they share information with.
Benefits of Managing Ethics in the Workplace
Many people are used to reading or hearing of the moral benefits of attention to business ethics. However, there are other types of benefits, as well. The following list describes various types of benefits from managing ethics in the workplace. Attention to business ethics has substantially improved society. A matter of decades ago, children in our country worked 16-hour days. Workers’ limbs were torn off and disabled workers were condemned to poverty and often to starvation. Trusts controlled some markets to the extent that prices were fixed and small businesses choked out. Price fixing crippled normal market forces. Employees were terminated based on personalities. Influence was applied through intimidation and harassment. Then society reacted and demanded that businesses place high value on fairness and equal rights. Anti-trust laws were instituted. Government agencies were established. Unions were organized. Laws and regulations were established.
Ethics programs help maintain a moral course in turbulent times. Attention to business ethics is critical during times of fundamental change — times much like those faced now by businesses, both nonprofit and for-profit. During times of change, there is often no clear moral compass to guide leaders through complex conflicts about what is right or wrong. Continuing attention to ethics in the workplace sensitizes leaders and staff to how they want to act — consistently. Ethics programs cultivate strong teamwork and productivity. Ethics programs align employee behaviors with those top priority ethical values preferred by leaders of the organization. Usually, an organization finds surprising disparity between its preferred values and the values actually reflected by behaviors in the workplace.
Ongoing attention and dialogue regarding values in the workplace builds openness, integrity and community — critical ingredients of strong teams in the workplace. Employees feel strong alignment between their values and those of the organization. They react with strong motivation and performance. Ethics programs support employee growth and meaning. Attention to ethics in the workplace helps employees face reality, both good and bad -in the organization and themselves. Employees feel full confidence they can admit and deal with whatever comes their way. Ethics programs are an insurance policy — they help ensure that policies are legal. There are an increasing number of lawsuits in regard to personnel matters and to effects of an organization’s services or products on stakeholders. Ethical principles are often state-of-the-art legal matters. These principles are often applied to current, major ethical issues to become legislation. Attention to ethics ensures highly ethical policies and procedures in the workplace. It’s far better to incur the cost of mechanisms to ensure ethical practices now than to incur costs of litigation later.
A major intent of well-designed personnel policies is to ensure ethical treatment of employees, e.g., in matters of hiring, evaluating, disciplining, firing, etc. Ethics programs help avoid criminal acts “of omission” and can lower fines. Ethics programs tend to detect ethical issues and violations early on so they can be reported or addressed. In some cases, when an organization is aware of an actual or potential violation and does not report it to the appropriate authorities, this can be considered a criminal act, e.g., in business dealings with certain government agencies, such as the Defense Department. Ethics programs help manage values associated with quality management, strategic planning and diversity management — this benefit needs far more attention. Ethics programs identify preferred values and ensuring organizational behaviors are aligned with those values. This effort includes recording the values, developing policies and procedures to align behaviors with preferred values, and then training all personnel about the policies and procedures.
This overall effort is very useful for several other programs in the workplace that require behaviors to be aligned with values, including quality management, strategic planning and diversity management. Total Quality Management includes high priority on certain operating values, e.g., trust among stakeholders, performance, reliability, measurement, and feedback. Eastman and Polaroid use ethics tools in their quality programs to ensure integrity in their relationships with stakeholders. Ethics management techniques are highly useful for managing strategic values, e.g., expand marketshare, reduce costs, etc. Ethics programs promote a strong public image. Attention to ethics is also strong public relations — admittedly, managing ethics should not be done primarily for reasons of public relations.
The fact that an organization regularly gives attention to its ethics can portray a strong positive to the public. People see those organizations as valuing people more than profit, as striving to operate with the utmost of integrity and honor. Aligning behavior with values is critical to effective marketing and public relations programs. Overall benefits of ethics programs: Managing ethical values in the workplace legitimizes managerial actions, strengthens the coherence and balance of the organization’s culture, improves trust in relationships between individuals and groups, supports greater consistency in standards and qualities of products, and cultivates greater sensitivity to the impact of the enterprise’s values and messages. Last – and most — formal attention to ethics in the workplace is the right thing to do.
Whenever and wherever there are meaningful discussions to create better socio-economic conditions in the society or to make the world a better place to live in, the discussions invariably touch Business and Industry or Trade and Commerce also besides other areas of human activities. Those who run their business or industry on principles of honesty, integrity and justice are the ones who raise the prestige of their nation and are inspiring examples unto others. However, there are people who indulge into unfair, unjust, dishonest or socially harmful activities and do not believe in fairplay and excellence. Business has created the wealth that has given unprecedented numbers of individual’s financial control of their lives.
It has expanded immeasurably the range of goods and services available to individuals. It has broken down countless centuries-old barriers of racial, sexual, religious, and ethnic prejudice. And it has been the vehicle for countless numbers of individuals to develop their fullest potentials in achieving their dreams. In short, business has been a prime mover in making it possible for millions to pursue their lives in a wealthy, healthy, rational and exciting world. Because business decisions often require specialized knowledge, ethical issues are often more complicated than those faced in personal life — and effective decision making requires consistency.
Because each business situation is different, and not all decisions are simple, many organizations have embraced ethical codes of conduct and rules of professional ethics to guide managers and employees. However, sometimes self-regulation proves insufficient to protect the interest of customers, organizations, or society. At that point, pressures for regulation and enactment of legislation to protect the interests of all parties in the exchange process will likely occur. Maintaining a strong ethical culture is essential for complying with the laws and regulations, but this alone cannot be the motivation for ethical culture building. Beyond the large impact an organization’s culture has on the bottom line, the development of programs to foster ethical conduct must maintain a focus on fairness, encouragement, and communication at all employee levels. Along these lines, employees must be given the appropriate tools and models to align their behavior with company culture and engage in ethical decision-making.
The attitudes, choices, and actions of business leaders play a primary role in the creation of an organization’s ethical culture and climate; expectations for employees’ ethical behavior can only be set as high as the organization’s leadership is willing to meet. A leader’s ability to consistently promote ethical conduct in an organization is critical to ensuring that employees understand how to make “doing what is right” a priority. Thus it can be concluded that, Ethics are important not only in business but in all aspects of life because it is an essential part of the foundation on which of a civilized society is build. A business or society that lacks ethical principles is bound to fail sooner or later.
“Live in such a way that you would not be Ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.” ~ Will Rogers