File Name: morality and ethics in corporate world .zip
- What Are Business Ethics? Definition, Importance and Tips
- Corporate Business World: Ethics and Morality
- Values in Tension: Ethics Away from Home
What Are Business Ethics? Definition, Importance and Tips
Without a backdrop of shared attitudes, and without familiar laws and judicial procedures that define standards of ethical conduct, certainty is elusive. Should a company invest in a foreign country where civil and political rights are violated?
If companies in developed countries shift facilities to developing nations that lack strict environmental and health regulations, or if those companies choose to fill management and other top-level positions in a host nation with people from the home country, whose standards should prevail? Even the best-informed, best-intentioned executives must rethink their assumptions about business practice in foreign settings.
Such difficulties are unavoidable for businesspeople who live and work abroad. But how can managers resolve the problems? What are the principles that can help them work through the maze of cultural differences and establish codes of conduct for globally ethical business practice? One answer is as old as philosophical discourse. If the people of Indonesia tolerate the bribery of their public officials, so what? Their attitude is no better or worse than that of people in Denmark or Singapore who refuse to offer or accept bribes.
Likewise, if Belgians fail to find insider trading morally repugnant, who cares? Not enforcing insider-trading laws is no more or less ethical than enforcing such laws.
The inadequacy of cultural relativism, however, becomes apparent when the practices in question are more damaging than petty bribery or insider trading. In the late s, some European tanneries and pharmaceutical companies were looking for cheap waste-dumping sites. Nigeria agreed to take highly toxic polychlorinated biphenyls. Unprotected local workers, wearing thongs and shorts, unloaded barrels of PCBs and placed them near a residential area.
Neither the residents nor the workers knew that the barrels contained toxic waste. We may denounce governments that permit such abuses, but many countries are unable to police transnational corporations adequately even if they want to. And in many countries, the combination of ineffective enforcement and inadequate regulations leads to behavior by unscrupulous companies that is clearly wrong. A few years ago, for example, a group of investors became interested in restoring the SS United States , once a luxurious ocean liner.
Before the actual restoration could begin, the ship had to be stripped of its asbestos lining. A bid from a U.
In October , the ship was towed to Sevastopol. A cultural relativist would have no problem with that outcome, but I do. A country has the right to establish its own health and safety regulations, but in the case described above, the standards and the terms of the contract could not possibly have protected workers in Sevastopol from known health risks. Even if the contract met Ukranian standards, ethical businesspeople must object.
Cultural relativism is morally blind. There are fundamental values that cross cultures, and companies must uphold them. Before jumping on the cultural relativism bandwagon, stop and consider the potential economic consequences of a when-in-Rome attitude toward business ethics.
There are similar laws against software piracy in those countries. What, then, accounts for the differences? The annual report of the Software Publishers Association connects software piracy directly to culture and attitude. But people in some countries regard the practice as less unethical than people in other countries do. Confucian culture, for example, stresses that individuals should share what they create with society.
That may be, in part, what prompts the Chinese and other Asians to view the concept of intellectual property as a means for the West to monopolize its technological superiority.
What happens if ethical attitudes around the world permit large-scale software piracy? When ethics fail to support technological creativity, there are consequences that go beyond statistics—jobs are lost and livelihoods jeopardized.
Companies must do more than lobby foreign governments for tougher enforcement of piracy laws. They must cooperate with other companies and with local organizations to help citizens understand the consequences of piracy and to encourage the evolution of a different ethic toward the practice. At the other end of the spectrum from cultural relativism is ethical imperialism, which directs people to do everywhere exactly as they do at home.
Again, an understandably appealing approach but one that is clearly inadequate. Consider the large U. Under the banner of global consistency, instructors used the same approach to train Saudi Arabian managers that they had used with U. The instructors failed to consider how the exercise would work in a culture with strict conventions governing relationships between men and women.
As a result, the training sessions were ludicrous. They baffled and offended the Saudi participants, and the message to avoid coercion and sexual discrimination was lost. The theory behind ethical imperialism is absolutism, which is based on three problematic principles. Absolutists believe that there is a single list of truths, that they can be expressed only with one set of concepts, and that they call for exactly the same behavior around the world. In some cultures, loyalty to a community—family, organization, or society—is the foundation of all ethical behavior.
The Japanese, for example, define business ethics in terms of loyalty to their companies, their business networks, and their nation. Americans place a higher value on liberty than on loyalty; the U.
It is hard to conclude that truth lies on one side or the other, but an absolutist would have us select just one.
The second problem with absolutism is the presumption that people must express moral truth using only one set of concepts. For instance, some absolutists insist that the language of basic rights provide the framework for any discussion of ethics.
That means, though, that entire cultural traditions must be ignored. The notion of a right evolved with the rise of democracy in post-Renaissance Europe and the United States, but the term is not found in either Confucian or Buddhist traditions. We all learn ethics in the context of our particular cultures, and the power in the principles is deeply tied to the way in which they are expressed. The third problem with absolutism is the belief in a global standard of ethical behavior.
Context must shape ethical practice. Very low wages, for example, may be considered unethical in rich, advanced countries, but developing nations may be acting ethically if they encourage investment and improve living standards by accepting low wages. Likewise, when people are malnourished or starving, a government may be wise to use more fertilizer in order to improve crop yields, even though that means settling for relatively high levels of thermal water pollution. When cultures have different standards of ethical behavior—and different ways of handling unethical behavior—a company that takes an absolutist approach may find itself making a disastrous mistake.
When a manager at a large U. Even the traditional litmus test—What would people think of your actions if they were written up on the front page of the newspaper? Companies must help managers distinguish between practices that are merely different and those that are wrong.
For relativists, nothing is sacred and nothing is wrong. For absolutists, many things that are different are wrong. Neither extreme illuminates the real world of business decision making. The answer lies somewhere in between. Consider those principles in action. In Japan, people doing business together often exchange gifts—sometimes expensive ones—in keeping with long-standing Japanese tradition. When U. To them, accepting a gift felt like accepting a bribe.
As Western companies have become more familiar with Japanese traditions, however, most have come to tolerate the practice and to set different limits on gift giving in Japan than they do elsewhere. Respecting differences is a crucial ethical practice. Research shows that management ethics differ among cultures; respecting those differences means recognizing that some cultures have obvious weaknesses—as well as hidden strengths.
In some parts of the Far East, stealing credit from a subordinate is nearly an unpardonable sin. People often equate respect for local traditions with cultural relativism. That is incorrect. Some practices are clearly wrong. Since the incident at Bhopal, Union Carbide has become a leader in advising companies on using hazardous technologies safely in developing countries. Some activities are wrong no matter where they take place. But some practices that are unethical in one setting may be acceptable in another.
In hot climates, however, it quickly becomes harmless through exposure to intense solar radiation and high soil temperatures. As long as the chemical is monitored, companies may be able to use EDB ethically in certain parts of the world. Few ethical questions are easy for managers to answer. Another is what Westerners call the Golden Rule, which is recognizable in every major religious and ethical tradition around the world.
In Book 15 of his Analects , for instance, Confucius counsels people to maintain reciprocity, or not to do to others what they do not want done to themselves. Although no single list would satisfy every scholar, I believe it is possible to articulate three core values that incorporate the work of scores of theologians and philosophers around the world.
To be broadly relevant, these values must include elements found in both Western and non-Western cultural and religious traditions. At first glance, the values expressed in the two lists seem quite different.
Nonetheless, in the spirit of what philosopher John Rawls calls overlapping consensus , one can see that the seemingly divergent values converge at key points.
Despite important differences between Western and non-Western cultural and religious traditions, both express shared attitudes about what it means to be human. Finally, members of a community must work together to support and improve the institutions on which the community depends. I call those three values respect for human dignity , respect for basic rights , and good citizenship.
Those values must be the starting point for all companies as they formulate and evaluate standards of ethical conduct at home and abroad. But they are only a starting point. Companies need much more specific guidelines, and the first step to developing those is to translate the core human values into core values for business.
What does it mean, for example, for a company to respect human dignity?
Corporate Business World: Ethics and Morality
Ethics and morals are a requirement in the corporate business world. Each day employees are faced with moral and ethical issues; and because they have their own individual set of morals, they behave differently. Many have formed a good understanding of the basics of ethics, leadership, morality and social responsibility; but most do not really understand the true meaning of values, ethics and morality. However, recent history teaches us 12 ethical principles that include two additional values, namely leadership, and reputation and morals to the list that I will discuss in this essay. I will also discuss the differences between ethical and moral issues. In business, ethics and character count.
Values in Tension: Ethics Away from Home
Without a backdrop of shared attitudes, and without familiar laws and judicial procedures that define standards of ethical conduct, certainty is elusive. Should a company invest in a foreign country where civil and political rights are violated? If companies in developed countries shift facilities to developing nations that lack strict environmental and health regulations, or if those companies choose to fill management and other top-level positions in a host nation with people from the home country, whose standards should prevail?
Your company or organization may uphold a set of business ethics to maintain employee welfare, accountability, and overall company reputation. You can also develop personal business ethics to become a more professional employee in your workplace. In this article, we explore what business ethics are, why they are important, and how you can apply them in your workplace. Business ethics are a set of principles that determine what is right, wrong, and appropriate in the workplace.
Some people argue that a company's sole purpose is to maximize profits and that focusing on any other concerns is a violation of fiduciary responsibility. But just because business is a highly competitive field does not mean that a company has to be amoral. A company can still make money while adhering to an ethical code of business operations.