Business Ethics – Various Definitions and Theories Friday, Nov 28 2008 

Business Ethics:

The principles of conduct governing an individual or a group.

Business Ethics:

Ethics is the study of Morality.

 

Ethics is not the same as morality, it is a study  of various dimensions of Morality.

Ethics is the discipline that examines one’s moral standards or the moral standards of a society.

WHAT IS MORALITY?

The standards that an individual or a group about what is right and wrong or good and evil.

MORAL STANDARDS :

The norms about the  kinds of actions believed to be morally right and wrong as well as the values placed on the kinds of objects believed to be morally good and morally bad.

NON MORAL STANDARDS:

The standards by which we judge what is good or bad and right or wrong in a nonmoral way.

5 Characteristics of Moral Standards:

  1. Involved with serious injuries or benefits.
  2. Not established by Law or Legislature.
  3. Should be preferred to other values including self interest.
  4. Based on impartial considerations
  5. Associated with special emotions and vocabulary

NORMATIVE STUDY:

An investigation that attempts to reach conclusions about what things are good or bad or about what actions are right or wrong.

DESCRIPTIVE STUDY :

An investigation that attempts to describe or exploan the world without reaching any conclusions about whether the world is as it should be.

BUSINESS ETHICS:

A specialized study of moral right and wrong that concentrates on moral standards as they apply to business institutions, organizations and behaviour.

BUSINESS ETHICS STUDIES:

  • Moral Standards
  • How moral standards apply to social systems and organizations that produce and distribute goods and services.

KINDS OF ETHICAL ISSUES:

  • Systemic – Social Systems or institutions within which business operate.
  • Corporate – An Individual Company taken as a whole
  • Individual – A Particular individual or individuals within a company and their behaviours and decisions.

ETHICAL RELATIVISM :

A theory that there are no ethical standards that are absolutely true and that apply or should be applied to the companies and people of all societies.

Objections to Theory of Ethical Relativism:

  • Some moral standards are found in all societies.
  • Moral differences do not logically imply relativism
  • Relativism is incoherent
  • Relativism privileges the current moral standards of a society.

 

Kohlberg’s Three Levels of Moral Development :

  • Preconventional – Punishment and obedience; instrumental and relative.
  • Conventional – Interpersonal concordance; law and order
  • Postconventional – Social contract, universal principles

MORAL REASONING:

The reasoning process by which human behaviours, institutions or policies are judged to be in accordance with or in violation of moral standards.

Objections to Bringing Ethics into Business:

  • In a free market economy,the pursuit of profit will ensure maximum social benefit
  • A manager’s most important obligation is to the company.
  • Business ethichs is limited to obeying the law.

Arguments Supporting Ethics in Business:

  • Ethics applies to all human activities
  • Business cannot survive without ethics
  • Ethics is consistent with profit seeking
  • Prisoner’s dilemma argument
  • Customers and Employees care about Ethics

Elements of Moral Responsibility:

  • Individual must cause or fail to prevent an avoidable injury or wrong.
  • Individual must know what he is doing
  • Individual must act of his own free will.

RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:

http://www.scu.edu/ethics

http://www.ethics.acusd.edu

http://www.web-miner.com/busethics.htm

http://www.essential.org

http://www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml

http://www.betterworldlinks.org/book100.htm

http://www.corpwatch.org

http://www.worldwatch.org

http://www.arq.co.uk/ethicalbusiness

http://www.bsr.org

http://www.mallenbaker.net/csr

http://www.pwblf.org

For SME Tuesday, Nov 4 2008 

  1. Compete with the biggies, by getting the best management advice from experts.                                                                                                     
  2. Break the shackles.                                                                                                         
  3. Dream Big and Achieve it.

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