Business Ethics Essay, Research Paper
What is business ethics? The answer to this question may be as simple as a company that complies with all the relevant rules and regulations. Or it may be more complex detailing the ways in which the corporation interacts with the world at large. The answer may also depend on who is asked the question. Many believe there is always a right thing to do based on moral principles and others believe the right thing to do depends on the situation and ultimately it is up to the individual. A customer may view a safe product as proof of an ethical business. An employee may see ethics evinced in fair wages and full benefits. A stockholder may consider protection from liability to be the corporation’s major ethical obligation. In fact, all of these answers are accurate because the ethics of a business is demonstrated through its practices.
Attention to business ethics is critical during times of fundamental change, times such as now. Values that were previously taken for granted are now strongly questioned. Many of these values are no longer even followed. As a result, there is no clear moral direction to guide leaders through dilemmas about what is right or wrong. They must rely on themselves. Therefore, attention to ethics in the workplace is indeed important because it helps ensure that when leaders are struggling in a time of crisis, they retain a strong moral compass. Nonetheless, this attention comes from differing motivations.
There are a number of motivations behind the ethics of a business. There could be social pressure to address these issues. Social awareness raises expectations of businesses that are now are being held accountable to use their financial and social influences to address social problems such as poverty, crime, environmental protection, public health, and the overall improvement of society.
There are also organizational reasons to practice good business ethics. Society assesses the ethics of corporations by their performance. Companies that are thought of as moral and responsible do more than stay out of trouble. A good reputation leads to community and moral support, and as a result, employee moral and productivity increases. Ultimately, the costs are higher for ignoring these issues because the goodwill of a business is the most important aspect of that business.
Personal values also lead individuals to want to do the right thing. For instance, many people feel that business ethics is only the obvious– be good, do not lie, cheat or steal. And for these individuals, these principles can go right out the window during times of stress. Yet others only do the right thing because of personal gratification of being praised by others afterwards. Moreover, others, such as myself, want to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. We believe we should show grace and mercy to others as it has been shown to us. Indeed individuals at any level in the corporation must act upon their personal values to do the right thing. This must be relevant outside the workplace as well as inside.
Clearly, these issues are much more complicated than any simple answer. However, it helps to have an immeasurable amount of morals and faith to live life by. For a corporation to be successful and strong, ethics must be the vital stone for which the foundation is built upon.