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Encyclopedia > Business ethics
Ethics
Theoretical

Meta-ethics
Normative · Descriptive
Consequentialism
Deontology
Virtue ethics
Ethics of care
Good and evil · Morality For other uses, see Ethics (disambiguation). ... In philosophy, meta-ethics or analytic ethics [1] is the branch of ethics that seeks to understand the nature of ethical properties, and ethical statements, attitudes, and judgments. ... Normative ethics is the branch of the philosophical study of ethics concerned with classifying actions as right and wrong, as opposed to descriptive ethics. ... Descriptive ethics, also known as comparative ethics, is the study of peoples beliefs about morality. ... Consequentialism refers to those moral theories which hold that the consequences of a particular action form the basis for any valid moral judgment about that action. ... Deontological ethics or deontology (Greek: δέον (deon) meaning obligation or duty) is an approach to ethics that focuses on the rightness or wrongness of actions themselves, as opposed to the rightness or wrongness of the consequences of those actions. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The ethics of care movement is a movement in twentieth century normative ethical theory that is largely inspired by the work of psychologist Carol Gilligan. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Morality (from the Latin manner, character, proper behavior) has three principal meanings. ...

Applied

Bioethics · Cyberethics · Medical
Engineering · Environmental
Human rights · Animal rights
Legal · Media
Business · Marketing
Religion · War
Applied ethics takes a theory of ethics, such as utilitarianism, social contract theory, or deontology, and applies its major principles to a particular set of circumstances and practices. ... Bioethics is the ethics of biological science and medicine. ... Medical ethics is primarily a field of applied ethics, the study of moral values and judgments as they apply to medicine. ... Engineering ethics is the field of ethics describing the obligations of those who are professional engineers to their clients or employers, and their obligations to society as a whole. ... Environmental ethics is the part of environmental philosophy which considers the ethical relationship between human beings and the natural environment. ... Human rights are rights which some hold to be inalienable and belonging to all humans. ... A man holds a monkey with a limb missing by a rope around her neck, a scene epitomizing the idea of animal ownership. ... Legal ethics refers to an ethical code governing those in the practice of law. ... Marketing ethics is the area of applied ethics which deals with the moral principles behind the operation and regulation of marketing. ... Just War theory is a doctrine of military ethics studied by moral theologians, ethicists and international policy makers which holds that a conflict can and ought to meet the criteria of philosophical, religious or political justice, provided it follows certain conditions. ...

Core issues

Justice · Value
Right · Duty · Virtue
Equality · Freedom · Trust
Free will · Consent
Moral responsibility This article is about the concept of justice. ... For other uses, see Universalism (disambiguation). ... Duty is a term loosely appliedDuty to any action (or course of action) whichDutyDuty is regarded as morally incumbent, apart from personal likes and dislikes or any external compulsion. ... Personification of virtue (Greek ἀρετή) in Celsus Library in Ephesos, Turkey Virtue (Latin virtus; Greek ) is moral excellence of a person. ... Egalitarianism (derived from the French word égal, meaning equal or level) is a political doctrine that holds that all people should be treated as equals from birth. ... For other uses, see Freedom. ... For other uses, see Trust. ... Free-Will is a Japanese independent record label founded in 1986. ... Consent (as a term of jurisprudence) is a possible justification against civil or criminal liability. ... Almanac · Categories · Glossaries · Lists · Overviews · Portals · Questions · Site news · Index Art | Culture | Geography | Health | History | Mathematics | People | Philosophy | Science | Society | Technology Wikipedia is an encyclopedia written by its users in over 200 languages worldwide. ...

Key thinkers

Confucius · Mencius
Aristotle · Aquinas
Hume · Kant
Bentham · Mill
Kierkegaard · Nietzsche
Hare · Rawls  · Nozick Confucius (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Kung-fu-tzu), lit. ... Mencius (Romanization; 孟子, pinyin: Mèng Zǐ; Wade-Giles: Meng Tzu; most accepted dates: 372 – 289 BCE; other possible dates: 385 – 303/302 BCE) was a Chinese philosopher who was arguably the most famous Confucian after Confucius himself. ... For other uses, see Aristotle (disambiguation). ... Aquinas redirects here. ... For other persons named David Hume, see David Hume (disambiguation). ... Kant redirects here. ... Jeremy Bentham (IPA: ) (26 February [O.S. 15 February 15] 1748) – June 6, 1832) was an English jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer. ... John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 8 May 1873), British philosopher, political economist, civil servant and Member of Parliament, was an influential liberal thinker of the 19th century. ... Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (pronounced , but usually Anglicized as ;  ) (5 May 1813 – 11 November 1855) was a prolific 19th century Danish philosopher and theologian. ... Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 – August 25, 1900) (IPA: ) was a nineteenth-century German philosopher and philologist. ... R.M. Hare Richard Mervyn Hare (March 21, 1919 – January 29, 2002) was an English moral philosopher, who held the post of Whites Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Oxford from 1966 until 1983. ... John Rawls (February 21, 1921 – November 24, 2002) was an American philosopher, a professor of political philosophy at Harvard University and author of A Theory of Justice (1971), Political Liberalism, Justice as Fairness: A Restatement, and The Law of Peoples. ... Origins Ideas Topics Related Philosophy Portal Politics Portal        Robert Nozick (November 16, 1938 â€“ January 23, 2002) was an American philosopher and Pellegrino University Professor at Harvard University. ...

Lists

List of ethics topics
List of ethicists To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... List of ethicists including religious or political figures recognized by those outside their tradition as having made major contributions to ideas about ethics, or raised major controversies by taking strong positions on previously unexplored problems. ...

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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. Applied ethics takes a theory of ethics, such as utilitarianism, social contract theory, or deontology, and applies its major principles to a particular set of circumstances and practices. ...


In the increasingly conscience-focused marketplaces of the 21st century, the demand for more ethical business processes and actions (known as ethicism) is increasing.[1] Simultaneously, pressure is applied on industry to improve business ethics through new public initiatives and laws (e.g. higher UK road tax for higher-emission vehicles).[2] The subject of this article may not satisfy the notability guideline or one of the following guidelines for inclusion on Wikipedia: Biographies, Books, Companies, Fiction, Music, Neologisms, Numbers, Web content, or several proposals for new guidelines. ... Simultaneity is the property of two events happening at the same time. ...


Business ethics can be both a normative and a descriptive discipline. As a corporate practice and a career specialization, the field is primarily normative. In academia descriptive approaches are also taken. The range and quantity of business ethical issues reflects the degree to which business is perceived to be at odds with non-economic social values. Historically, interest in business ethics accelerated dramatically during the 1980s and 1990s, both within major corporations and within academia. For example, today most major corporate websites lay emphasis on commitment to promoting non-economic social values under a variety of headings (e.g. ethics codes, social responsibility charters). In some cases, corporations have redefined their core values in the light of business ethical considerations (e.g. BP's "beyond petroleum" environmental tilt). In philosophy, normative is usually contrasted with positive, descriptive or explanatory when describing types of theories, beliefs, or statements. ... In linguistics, prescription is the laying down or prescribing of normative rules for a language. ... This article is about the energy corporation. ...

Contents

Overview of issues in business ethics

General business ethics

See also: corporate abuse, corporate crime. // Definition and scope The philosophy of business considers the fundamental principles that underlie the formation and operation of a business enterprise; the nature and purpose of a business, for example, is it primarily property or a social institution; its role in society; and the moral obligations that pertain to it. ... Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a concept whereby organizations consider the interests of society by taking responsibility for the impact of their activities on customers, employees, shareholders, communities and the environment in all aspects of their operations. ... The court of chancery, which governed fiduciary relations prior to the Judicature Acts The fiduciary duty is a legal relationship between two or more parties, most commonly a fiduciary or trustee and a principal or beneficiary, that in English common law is arguably the most important concept within the portion... The stakeholder concept states that a companys responsibilites are to all of its stakeholders. Stakeholders are people who affect, and are affected by, the company. ... This article needs cleanup. ... A takeover in business refers to one company (the acquirer, or bidder) purchasing another (the target). ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Competitive Intelligence. ... Corporate governance is the set of processes, customs, policies, laws and institutions affecting the way in which a corporation is directed, administered or controlled. ... Political campaign Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Campaign finance reform is the common term for the political effort in the United States to change the involvement of money in politics, primarily in political campaigns. ... Corporate manslaughter is a term in English law for an act of homicide committed by a company. ... Corporate abuse refers to incidents that involve unethical behavior on behalf of a corporation; a case of corporate abuse may be a scandal, fraud, or negligence toward the corporations employees and/or the local community. ... In criminology, corporate crime refers to crimes committed either by a corporation (i. ...


Professional ethics

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

Cases: accounting scandals, Enron, WorldCom Creative accounting and earnings management are euphemisms referring to accounting practices that may or may not follow the letter of the rules of standard accounting practices but certainly deviate from the spirit of those rules. ... Creative accounting and earnings management are euphemisms referring to accounting practices that deviate from standard accounting practices. ... Financial analysis of an organisation is misleading when it is used to misrepresent the organisation, its situation or its prospects. ... Insider trading is the trading of a corporations stock or other securities (e. ... For a discussion of the legal actions for securities fraud in the United States under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and SEC Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, see the Wiki entry for the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. ... A forex scam is any trading scheme used to defraud individual traders by convincing them that they can expect to gain an unreasonably high profit by trading in the foreign exchange market. ... Executive compensation is how top executives of business corporations are paid. ... Bribery is the practice of offering a professional money or other favours in order to circumvent ethics in a variety of professions. ... This article is about political corruption. ... A facilitation payment is an ethically questionable payment made in order to procure or speed up the provision of services. ... Accounting scandals, or corporate accounting scandals are political and business scandals which arise with the disclosure of misdeeds by trusted executives of large public corporations. ... Enron Creditors Recovery Corporation (formerly Enron Corporation) (former NYSE ticker symbol: ENE) was an American energy company based in Houston, Texas. ... For a time, WorldCom (WCOM) was the United States second largest long distance phone company (AT&T was the largest). ...


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. Human resource management (HRM) is the strategic and coherent approach to the management of an organizations most valued assets - the people working there who individually and collectively contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the business. ...

Manifestations Slavery Racial profiling Lynching Hate speech Hate crime Genocide (examples) Ethnocide Ethnic cleansing Pogrom Race war Religious persecution Blood libel Paternalism Police brutality Movements Policies Discriminatory Race / Religion / Sex segregation Apartheid Redlining Internment Ethnocracy Anti-discriminatory Affirmative action in the United States Emancipation Civil rights Desegregation Integration Equal opportunity... Manifestations Slavery Racial profiling Lynching Hate speech Hate crime Genocide (examples) Ethnocide Ethnic cleansing Pogrom Race war Religious persecution Blood libel Paternalism Police brutality Movements Policies Discriminatory Race / Religion / Sex segregation Apartheid Redlining Internment Ethnocracy Anti-discriminatory Emancipation Civil rights Desegregation Integration Equal opportunity Counter-discriminatory Affirmative action Racial quota... Disabilities are limitations in activity and/or functioning that are attributable to permanent medical conditions in physical, mental, emotional, and/or sensory domains and, significantly, are also due to societal responses to those limitations. ... Manifestations Slavery Racial profiling Lynching Hate speech Hate crime Genocide (examples) Ethnocide Ethnic cleansing Pogrom Race war Religious persecution Blood libel Paternalism Police brutality Movements Policies Discriminatory Race / Religion / Sex segregation Apartheid Redlining Internment Ethnocracy Anti-discriminatory Emancipation Civil rights Desegregation Integration Equal opportunity Counter-discriminatory Affirmative action Racial quota... Sexual harassment is harassment or unwelcome attention of a sexual nature. ... Pinkerton guards escort strikebreakers in Buchtel, Ohio, 1884 Union busting is a practice that is undertaken by an employer or their agents to prevent employees from joining a labor union, or to disempower, subvert, or destroy unions that already exist. ... Strike breaking is the practice of using intimidation, coercion and even murder to break the support for a union strike. ... Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to control the flow of information about themselves and thereby reveal themselves selectively. ... Businesses sometimes use workplace surveillance as a way of monitoring the activities of their employees. ... Drug testing is a subject of a lot of controversy. ... Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to control the flow of information about themselves and thereby reveal themselves selectively. ... A whistleblower is someone in an organization who witnesses behavior by members that is either contrary to the mission of the organization, or threatening to the public interest, and who decides to speak out publicly about it. ... Slave redirects here. ... An Indentured servant is an unfree labourer under contract to work (for a specified amount of time) for another person, often without any pay, but in exchange for accommodation, food, other essentials and/or free passage to a new country. ... Employment law is the branch of the law that deals with employment related issues. ... Occupational safety and health is a cross-disciplinary area concerned with protecting the safety, health and welfare of people engaged in work or employment. ...

Ethics of sales and marketing

Main article: marketing ethics

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. Marketing ethics is the area of applied ethics which deals with the moral principles behind the operation and regulation of marketing. ... Media ethics is that universe of ethics dealing with the particular ethical principles and standards of media, worldwide. ... Media ethics is that universe of ethics dealing with the particular ethical principles and standards of media, worldwide. ...

See also: memespace, disinformation, advertising techniques, false advertising, advertising regulation Price fixing is an agreement between business competitors to sell the same product or service at the same price. ... Price discrimination exists when sales of identical goods or services are transacted at different prices from the same provider. ... Price Skimming Price skimming is a pricing strategy in which a marketer sets a relatively high price for a product or service at first, then lowers the price over time. ... Anti-competitive practices are business or government practices that prevent and/or reduce competition in a market. ... Antitrust is also the name for a movie, see Antitrust (movie) Antitrust or competition laws legislate against trade practices that undermine competitiveness or are considered to be unfair. ... Greenwash (a portmanteau of green and whitewash) is a term that is used to describe the actions of a company, government, or other organization which advertises positive environmental practices while acting in the opposite way. ... A bait and switch is a form of fraud in which the fraudster lures in customers by advertising a good at an unprofitably low price, then reveals to potential customers that the advertised good is not available but that a substitute good is. ... A shill is an associate of a person selling goods or services who pretends no association to the seller and assumes the air of an enthusiastic customer. ... Viral marketing and viral advertising refer to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness, through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses. ... This article is about electronic spam. ... The unsustainable geometric progression of a classic pyramid scheme A pyramid scheme is a non-sustainable business model that involves the exchange of money primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme, usually without any product or service being delivered. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Planned obsolescence. ... An attack ad in election terms is an advertisement whose message is meant as an attack against another candidate or political party. ... A subliminal message is a signal or message embedded in another medium, designed to pass below the normal limits of perception. ... Sex in advertising is the use of sexual attraction as a tool of persuasion to draw interest to a particular product, for purpose of sale, generally using attractive models. ... An example of a schools corporate identity. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into underground economy. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... The memespace is an abstract cultural container populated by memes. ... For other uses, see Disinformation (disambiguation). ... // Advert redirects here. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Bold text Advertising regulation refers to the laws and rules defining the ways in which products can be advertised in a particular region. ...


Cases: Benetton. Benetton Group S.p. ...


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.

See also: product liability Bungee Jump in Normandy, France (Souleuvre Viaduct) Bungee jumping (or bungy jumping) is the sport that originated from New Zealand and was created by maverick daredevil A J Hackett, and his original jump from a bridge in Greenhithe, Auckland. ... Air pollution Pollution is the introduction of pollutants (whether chemical substances, or energy such as noise, heat, or light) into the environment to such a point that its effects become harmful to human health, other living organisms, or the environment. ... Environmental ethics is the part of environmental philosophy which considers the ethical relationship between human beings and the natural environment. ... Carbon emissions trading involves the trading of permits to emit carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases, calculated in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, tCO2e). ... Kenyans examining insect-resistant transgenic Bt corn. ... [[Image: ]] A Greenfield-type tower used in base stations for mobile telephony A mobile phone (Samsung) Mobile phone radiation and health concerns have been raised, especially following the enormous increase in the use of wireless mobile telephony throughout the world (as of August 2005, there were more than 2 billion... A man holds a monkey with a limb missing by a rope around her neck, a scene epitomizing the idea of animal ownership. ... Enos the space chimp before insertion into the Mercury-Atlas 5 capsule in 1961. ... Products liability is the area of law in which manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers, and others who make products available to the public are held responsible for the injuries those products cause. ...


Cases: Ford Pinto scandal, Bhopal disaster, asbestos / asbestos and the law. The Ford Pinto was a subcompact car manufactured by the Ford Motor Company for the North American market, first introduced on September 11, 1970, and built through the 1980 model year. ... The Bhopal Disaster took place in the early hours of the morning of December 3, 1984,[1] in the heart of the city of Bhopal in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. ... For other uses, see Asbestos (disambiguation). ... This article concerns asbestos-related legal and regulatory issues. ...


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.

Cases: private versus public interests in the Human Genome Project The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ... The Cathach of St. ... Trademark infringement is a violation of the exclusive rights attaching to a registered trademark without the authorisation of the trademark owner or any licensees (provided that such authorization was within the scope of the license). ... Patent misuse in the United States, is an affirmative defense used in patent litigation after the defendant has been found infringed a patent. ... Copyright misuse is an equitable defense against copyright infringement in the United States based on the unreasonable conduct of the copyright owner. ... Patent troll is a pejorative term used for a person or company that enforces its patents against one or more alleged infringers in a matter considered unduly aggressive or opportunistic (see List of patent trolls for examples). ... Submarine patent is an informal legal term for a patent published long after the original application was filed. ... For the 2006 film, see Intellectual Property (film). ... Employee raiding is the name given to the practice of unlawfully inducing an employee to leave one employer and take up employment with another employer. ... Bioprospecting is the collecting and testing of biological samples (plants, animals, micro-organisms) and the collecting of indigenous knowledge to help in discovering and exploiting genetic or biochemical resources Bioprospecting has primarily economic purposes (e. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Bioprospecting. ... The term business intelligence (BI) dates to 1958. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Competitive Intelligence. ... The Human Genome Project (HGP) is an international scientific research project. ...


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.[5] 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 behaviour.
  • 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 globalisation 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 centres) to low-wage countries.
  • The permissibility of international commerce with pariah states.

Bioprospecting is the collecting and testing of biological samples (plants, animals, micro-organisms) and the collecting of indigenous knowledge to help in discovering and exploiting genetic or biochemical resources Bioprospecting has primarily economic purposes (e. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Bioprospecting. ... For the product certification system ( ), see Fairtrade certification. ... Transfer pricing refers to the pricing of goods and services within a multi-divisional organization, particularly in regard to cross-border transactions. ... Globalization is a term used to describe the changes in societies and the world economy that are the result of dramatically increased trade and cultural exchange. ... Cultural imperialism is the practice of promoting, distinguishing, separating, artificially injecting of the culture or language of one nation in another. ... Child labour or labor is the phenomenon of children in employment. ...

Ethics of economic systems

This vaguely defined area, perhaps not part of but only related to business ethics,[6] is where business ethicists venture into the fields of political economy and political philosophy, focussing on the rights and wrongs of various systems for the distribution of economic benefits. The work of John Rawls (1921-2002) is a notable contribution. The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political economy was the original term for the study of production, the acts of buying and selling, and their relationships to laws, customs and government. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political philosophy is the study of fundamental questions about the state, government, politics, liberty, justice, property, rights, law and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why (or even if) they are needed, what makes a government legitimate, what... John Rawls (February 21, 1921 – November 24, 2002) was an American philosopher, a professor of political philosophy at Harvard University and author of A Theory of Justice (1971), Political Liberalism, Justice as Fairness: A Restatement, and The Law of Peoples. ... Year 1921 (MCMXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar). ... Also see: 2002 (number). ...


Theoretical issues in business ethics

Conflicting interests

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. Henry Sidgwick Henry Sidgwick (May 31, 1838–August 28, 1900) was an English philosopher. ...


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. Milton Friedman (July 31, 1912 – November 16, 2006) was an American Nobel Laureate economist and public intellectual. ...


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. A corporate stakeholder is a party who affects, or can be affected by, the companys actions. ...


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. John Lockes writings on the Social Contract were particularly influential among the American Founding Fathers. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political philosophy is the study of fundamental questions about the state, government, politics, liberty, justice, property, rights, law and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why (or even if) they are needed, what makes a government legitimate, what... John Rawls (February 21, 1921 – November 24, 2002) was an American philosopher, a professor of political philosophy at Harvard University and author of A Theory of Justice (1971), Political Liberalism, Justice as Fairness: A Restatement, and The Law of Peoples. ... For the Talib Kweli album Quality (album) Quality can refer to a. ... Professor Thomas Donaldson writes, teaches, and consults in the areas of business ethics, values, and leadership. ...


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. Greshams law is commonly stated as: When there is a legal tender currency, bad money drives good money out of circulation. or more accurately Money overvalued by the State will drive money undervalued by the State out of circulation. ...


Business ethics in the field

Corporate ethics policies

As part of more comprehensive compliance and ethics programs, many companies have formulated internal policies pertaining to the ethical conduct of employees. These policies can be simple exhortations in broad, highly-generalized language (typically called a corporate ethics statement), or they can be more detailed policies, containing specific behavioral requirements (typically called corporate ethics codes). They are generally meant to identify the company's expectations of workers and to offer guidance on handling some of the more common ethical problems that might arise in the course of doing business. It is hoped that having such a policy will lead to greater ethical awareness, consistency in application, and the avoidance of ethical disasters. // There has been a long history of business and government excesses and subsequent legal, public and political reaction. ...


An increasing number of companies also requires employees to attend seminars regarding business conduct, which often include discussion 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 by the company's rules of conduct.


Many companies are assessing the environmental factors that can lead employees to engage in unethical conduct.


Not everyone supports corporate policies that govern ethical conduct. Some claim that ethical problems are better dealt with by depending upon employees to use their own judgment.


Others believe that corporate ethics policies are primarily rooted in utilitarian concerns, and that they are mainly to limit the company's legal liability, or to curry public favor by giving the appearance of being a good corporate citizen. Ideally, the company will avoid a lawsuit because its employees will follow the rules. Should a lawsuit occur, the company can claim that the problem would not have arisen if the employee had only followed the code properly.


Sometimes there is disconnection between the company's code of ethics and the company's actual practices. Thus, whether or not such conduct is explicitly sanctioned by management, at worst, this makes the policy duplicitous, and, at best, it is merely a marketing tool.


To be successful, most ethicists would suggest that an ethics policy should be:

  • Given the unequivocal support of top management, by both word and example.
  • Explained in writing and orally, with periodic reinforcement.
  • Doable....something employees can both understand and perform.
  • Monitored by top management, with routine inspections for compliance and improvement.
  • Backed up by clearly stated consequences in the case of disobedience.
  • Remain neutral and nonsexist.

Ethics officers

Ethics officers (sometimes called "compliance" or "business conduct officers") have been appointed formally by organizations since the mid-1980s. One of the catalysts for the creation of this new role was a series of fraud, corruption and abuse scandals that afflicted the U.S. defense industry at that time. This led to the creation of the Defense Industry Initiative (DII), a pan-industry initiative to promote and ensure ethical business practices. The DII set an early benchmark for ethics management in corporations. In 1991, the Ethics & Compliance Officer Association (ECOA) -- originally the Ethics Officer Association (EOA)-- was founded at the Center for Business Ethics(at Bentley College, Waltham, MA) as a professional association for those responsible for managing organizations' efforts to achieve ethical best practices. The membership grew rapidly (the ECOA now has over 1,100 members) and was soon established as an independent organization.


Another critical factor in the decisions of companies to appoint ethics/compliance officers was the passing of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations in 1991, which set standards that organizations (large or small, commercial and non-commercial) had to follow to obtain a reduction in sentence if they should be convicted of a federal offense. Although intended to assist judges with sentencing, the influence in helping to establish best practices has been far-reaching.


In the wake of numerous corporate scandals between 2001-04 (affecting large corporations like Enron, WorldCom and Tyco), even small and medium-sized companies have begun to appoint ethics officers. They often report to the Chief Executive Officer and are responsible for assessing the ethical implications of the company's activities, making recommendations regarding the company's ethical policies, and disseminating information to employees. They are particularly interested in uncovering or preventing unethical and illegal actions. This trend is partly due to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the United States, which was enacted in reaction to the above scandals. A related trend is the introduction of risk assessment officers that monitor how shareholders' investments might be affected by the company's decisions. Before the signing ceremony of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, President George Bush meets with Senator Paul Sarbanes, Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao and other dignitaries in the Blue Room at the White House on July 30, 2002. ...


The effectiveness of ethics officers in the marketplace is not clear. If the appointment is made primarily as a reaction to legislative requirements, one might expect the efficacy to be minimal, at least, over the short term. In part, this is because ethical business practices result from a corporate culture that consistently places value on ethical behavior, a culture and climate that usually emanates from the top of the organization. The mere establishment of a position to oversee ethics will most likely be insufficient to inculcate ethical behaviour: a more systemic programme with consistent support from general management will be necessary.


The foundation for ethical behavior goes well beyond corporate culture and the policies of any given company, for it also depends greatly upon an individual's early moral training, the other institutions that affect an individual, the competitive business environment the company is in and, indeed, society as a whole.


Religious views on business ethics

The historical and global importance of religious views on business ethics is sometimes underestimated in standard introductions to business ethics. Particularly in Asia and the Middle East, religious and cultural perspectives have a strong influence on the conduct of business and the creation of business values. Many faiths have extensive literature and legal code on the accumulation and use of wealth; and many businesses rely on these ethical guidelines, both as a result of the religious beliefs of owners and managers, and as a way of ensuring that their actions meet the otherwise unwritten ethical standards...


Examples include:

  • Islamic banking, associated with the avoidance of charging interest on loans.
  • Traditional Confucian disapproval of the profit-seeking motive. [1]
  • Quaker testimony on fair dealing

Islamic banking refers to a system of banking or banking activity that is consistent with Islamic law (Sharia) principles and guided by Islamic economics. ... The Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as Quakers, or Friends, is a religious community founded in England in the 17th century. ... The Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as Quakers, or Friends, is a religious community founded in England in the 17th century. ...

Related disciplines

Business ethics should be distinguished from the philosophy of business, the branch of philosophy that deals with the philosophical, political, and ethical underpinnings of business and economics. Business ethics operates on the premise, for example, that the ethical operation of a private business is possible -- those who dispute that premise, such as libertarian socialists, (who contend that "business ethics" is an oxymoron) do so by definition outside of the domain of business ethics proper. In economics, a business (also called firm or enterprise) is a legally recognized organizational entity designed to provide goods and/or services to consumers or corporate entities such as governments, charities or other businesses. ... // Definition and scope The philosophy of business considers the fundamental principles that underlie the formation and operation of a business enterprise; the nature and purpose of a business, for example, is it primarily property or a social institution; its role in society; and the moral obligations that pertain to it. ... For other uses, see Philosophy (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Ethics (disambiguation). ... Face-to-face trading interactions on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor. ... Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that aim to create a society without political, economic or social hierarchies - a society in which all violent or coercive institutions would be dissolved, and in their place every person would have free, equal access to tools of information and production, or... This article is about the contradiction in terms. ...


The philosophy of business also deals with questions such as what, if any, are the social responsibilities of a business; business management theory; theories of individualism vs. collectivism; free will among participants in the marketplace; the role of self interest; invisible hand theories; the requirements of social justice; and natural rights, especially property rights, in relation to the business enterprise. Social responsibility is an ethical or ideological theory that an entity whether it is a government, corporation, organization or individual has a responsibility to society. ... Management (from Old French ménagement the art of conducting, directing, from Latin manu agere to lead by the hand) characterises the process of leading and directing all or part of an organization, often a business, through the deployment and manipulation of resources (human, financial, material, intellectual or intangible). ... The word theory has a number of distinct meanings in different fields of knowledge, depending on their methodologies and the context of discussion. ... For articles with similar names and topics, see Individual (disambiguation). ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Free-Will is a Japanese independent record label founded in 1986. ... A marketplace is the space, actual or metaphorical, in which a market operates. ... Self-interest can refer to any of the following concepts: Egoism Selfishness Ethical egoism Psychological egoism Individualism Objectivist ethics Hedonism Epicureanism Enlightened self-interest This is a disambiguation page: a list of articles associated with the same title. ... For other uses, see Invisible hand (disambiguation). ... Social justice refers to the concept of an unjust society that refers to more than just the administration of laws. ... For other uses, see Universalism (disambiguation). ... This page deals with property as ownership rights. ...


Business ethics is also related to political economy, which is economic analysis from political and historical perspectives. Political economy deals with the distributive consequences of economic actions. It asks who gains and who loses from economic activity, and is the resultant distribution fair or just, which are central ethical issues. The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political economy was the original term for the study of production, the acts of buying and selling, and their relationships to laws, customs and government. ... Economic history is the study of how economic phenomena evolved in the past. ... Face-to-face trading interactions on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor Look up economics in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Differences in national income equality around the world as measured by the national Gini coefficient. ...


See also

Bribery is a crime implying a sum or gift given alters the behaviour of the person in ways not consistent with the duties of that person. ... Business culture concerns the culture and etiquette involved in business practices. ... Commercial law or business law is the body of law which governs business and commerce and is often considered to be a branch of civil law and deals both with issues of private law and public law. ... The neutrality of this article is disputed. ... In criminology, corporate crime refers to crimes committed either by a corporation (i. ... Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a concept whereby organizations consider the interests of society by taking responsibility for the impact of their activities on customers, employees, shareholders, communities and the environment in all aspects of their operations. ... The subject of this article may not satisfy the notability guideline or one of the following guidelines for inclusion on Wikipedia: Biographies, Books, Companies, Fiction, Music, Neologisms, Numbers, Web content, or several proposals for new guidelines. ... For other uses, see Ethics (disambiguation). ... Ethical consumerism is buying things that are made ethically. ... In the context of a code adopted by a profession or by a governmental or quasi-governmental organ to regulate that profession, an ethical code may be styled as a code of professional responsibility, which may dispense with difficult issues of what behavior is ethical. Some codes of ethics are... The court of chancery, which governed fiduciary relations prior to the Judicature Acts The fiduciary duty is a legal relationship between two or more parties, most commonly a fiduciary or trustee and a principal or beneficiary, that in English common law is arguably the most important concept within the portion... For other uses, see Management (disambiguation). ... Optimism bias is the demonstrated systematic tendency for people to be over-optimistic about the outcome of planned actions. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political economy was the original term for the study of production, the acts of buying and selling, and their relationships to laws, customs and government. ... Strategic misrepresentation is the planned, systematic distortion or misstatement of fact—lying—in response to incentives in the budget process. ... Strategic planning is an organizations process SCREW YOU, RILEY of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy, including its capital and people. ...

References

  1. ^ Ethics the easy way. H.E.R.O.. Retrieved on 2008-05-21.
  2. ^ Miliband draws up green tax plan. BBC (2006-10-30). Retrieved on 2008-05-21.
  3. ^ Friedman, Milton. "The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Its Profits", The New York Times Magazine, 1970-09-13. 
  4. ^ Hare, R. M. (1979). "What is wrong with slavery". Philosophy and Public Affairs 8: 103–121. 
  5. ^ Enderle, Georges (1999). International Business Ethics. University of Notre Dame Press, 1. ISBN 0-268-01214-8. 
  6. ^ George, Richard de (1999). Business Ethics. 

The H.E.R.O. website Higher Education and Research Opportunities in the UK (HERO) is the official gateway website to the UK higher education system and also serves as an introduction to research organisations and bodies within the UK. The idea of a single site to promote the UK... 2008 (MMVIII) is the current year, a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Anno Domini (or common era), in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 141st day of the year (142nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see BBC (disambiguation). ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 303rd day of the year (304th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2008 (MMVIII) is the current year, a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Anno Domini (or common era), in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 141st day of the year (142nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The New York Times is an internationally known daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed in the United States and many other nations worldwide. ... Year 1970 (MCMLXX) was a common year starting on Thursday (link shows full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 256th day of the year (257th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The University of Notre Dame Press is a university press that is part of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, United States. ...

Further reading

Map highlighting Englewood Cliffs location within Bergen County. ... Pearson can mean Pearson PLC the media conglomerate. ... Norman E. Bowie is a professor of strategic management, and of philosophy. ... Blackwell Publishing was formed in 2001 from two Oxford-based academic publishing companies, Blackwell Science and Blackwell Publishers and is the worlds leading society publisher, partnering with 665 academic and professional societies. ... Pearson can mean Pearson PLC the media conglomerate. ... Incorporated Village in 1956. ... The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. ... Belmont is a city in San Mateo County, California, United States. ... For other companies called Thomson, see Thomson (disambiguation). ... The University of Chicago Press is the largest university press in the U.S. It is operated by the University of Chicago and publishes a wide variety of academic titles, including The Chicago Manual of Style, dozens of academic journals including Critical Inquiry, and a wide array of texts covering... Nickname: Location of Denver in the State of Colorado Location of Colorado in the United States Coordinates: , Country United States State State of Colorado City and County Denver[1] Founded 1858-11-22, as Denver City, K.T.[2] Incorporated 1861-11-07, as Denver City, C.T.[3] Consolidated... Jeffrey L. Seglin writes The Right Thing, a weekly column on general ethics syndicated by the New York Times Syndicate (http://jeffreyseglin. ... Robert C. Solomon (September 14, 1942 – January 2, 2007) was a distinguished professor and scholar of continental philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. ... Harcourt Trade Publishers is a U.S. publishing firm, and one of the worlds largest publishers of textbooks. ...

External links

  • EthicsWorld, the gateway to resources on corporate ethics and public sector governance.
  • Podcast interview with Dov Seidman of LRN - Ethical Business Cultures at DishyMix
  • Business Ethics in Knowledge@Wharton, the Wharton School's online business journal.
  • Business ethics section from the website of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics
  • Economics and Economic Justice in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  • Commerce with a conscience. Dame Anita Roddick (The Body Shop founder) asks: Can business deliver social change?
  • The Conference Board Ethics Program
  • Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business Annual Business Ethics Forum
  • Ethicism.com Quotes about business and consumer ethics.
  • Journal of Business Ethics Since its initiation in 1980, the journal publishes original articles from a wide variety of methodological and disciplinary perspectives concerning ethical issues related to business.
  • Grant Thornton IBR Corporate Social Responsibility: a necessity not a choice.
  • Business Ethics Resources A starting point to search on recent books on business ethics.
[1] Markkula Center home page The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University provides a nationally preeminent academic forum for research and dialogue concerning all areas of applied ethics. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
Business Ethics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) (5985 words)
Although self-conscious, academic business ethics is of recent vintage, its intellectual roots are found in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) and business-and-society literatures originating in law and in business in the early and middle 20th century (see, e.g., Berle and Means 1932).
That academic business ethics is focused mainly on public policy toward the large corporation and the institutions of capitalism can be seen in a characterization of the field due to Solomon (1991).
Although conceptually the micro level business ethics of which Solomon writes speaks to the circumstances of that worldwide majority, in practice that micro ethics is little developed by and commands scant attention from academic business ethicists.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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