Putting Ethics Before Business

    Some
people believe that ethics is of little concern to business people. Ethics is
ethics and business is business. When faced with an ethical dilemma today, many
upwardly managers tend to take the position that they must wear two hats and
cloak themselves with two separate, conflicting codes of ethics. One is
applying to the professional or technical aspects of their work and the other
is for their business behavior.

 

Ethics
is the discipline that examines one’s moral standards or the moral standards of
a society. It asks how these standards apply to our lives and whether these
standards are reasonable or unreasonable that is whether they are supported by
good reasons or poor ones.

 

Business
ethics is a specialized study of moral right and wrong. It concentrates on
moral standards as they apply to business policies, institutions and behavior
through which modern societies produce and distribute goods and services, and
to the people who work within these organizations. Business ethics in other
words is a form of applied ethics. It includes not only the analysis of moral
norms and moral values, but also attempts to apply the conclusions of this
analysis to that assortment of institutions, technologies, transactions,
activities, and pursuits that is called business.

 

Business
is a cooperative activity whose very existence requires ethical behavior.
First, any individual business will collapse if all of its managers, employees
and customers come to think that it is morally permissible o steal from, lie to
or break their agreements with the company. Because no business can exist
entirely without ethics, the pursuit of business requires at least a minimal
adherence to ethics. Second, all businesses require a stable society in which
to carry on their business dealings. Yet the stability of any society requires
that its members adhere to some minimal standards of ethics.

 

Business
cannot strive without ethics; it is in the best interest of business to promote
ethical behavior both among its own members as well as within its larger
society. There are many difficulties involved in trying to study whether
ethical companies are more profitable than unethical ones.  The results have been mixed. Although,
several studies have found a positive relationship between socially responsible
behavior and profitability, some have found no such relationship. Other studies
have looked at how socially responsible firms perform on the stock market and
have concluded that ethical companies provide higher returns than other
companies. Together, all these studies suggest that, by and large, ethics does
not detract from profit and seems to contribute to profits. When employees
believe an organization is just, they are more willing to follow the
organization’s managers, do what managers say and see managers’ leadership as
legitimate. In short ethics is the key component for any business.


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