Moral behavior in the face of immoral environment: a significant test for the firm’s ethical behavior is the nature of business transactions when the environment does not enforce high standards, thus enables ethically questionable (and maybe more profitable) conduct. Examples may include environmental issues (e.g. CO emissions), human rights (e.g. child labor), safety in the workplace, discrimination and sexual harassment.
At this moment, America's highest economic need is higher ethical standards -- standards enforced by strict laws and upheld by responsible business leaders.
“What is Business Ethics?” Essay - Useful Essays
Achille Silvestrini, Cardinal of the Roman Curia, May 20th, 2004, at a congress of the Union of Industrialists of Rome, organized under the theme "Business, Ethics and Legality"
Institute of Business Ethics Homepage
As mentioned earlier, issues of business ethics have a long history, and are thoroughly referred to in civilian and religious writings. Throughout the various forms of commerce, matters such as competition, accurate reporting and pricing (to name a few) are part of all major transcripts, including Aristotle, the Old Testament, the Koran and even appear in Buddhist writings. However, this interest in business ethics has grown significantly during the 20th century, reaching a peak today due to several main reasons:
First and foremost is the unique role of corporations in the modern society. This form of business, whose economic and social power may be immense and involves numerous stakeholders, motivated further thinking regarding the means in which possible negative influence of corporations can be restricted.
A History of Business Ethics - Markkula Center for …
A typical whistle-blower statute (e.g., 5 USC § 1213)is designed to protect employees who report:While such statutes serve an important and vital purpose, the topic of thisessay is limited to discussing freedom of learned professionals,specifically the right of a professional to object to and to refuse to do an ethical act.
Encyclopedia of Business, 2nd ed. Ethics: Em-Exp
Thus, it is better to define business ethics through the types of responsibilities it does and does not deal with. That is, instead of suggesting “the best one way” of e.g. corporate governance, the business ethics school will emphasize the moral underpinnings of the matter and will support the decisions and actions only from those perspectives. Finally, ethics differ from law by the sense that not everything that is legal is also moral. For instance, although it is legal for a company to pollute to environment to some extent, many would argue that pollution is inherently immoral and hence unethical.
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My candidate for an ethic to replace the idea of maximizing shareholder value thinking would be building and sharing wealth. Why? Shareholder value thinking was always about creating wealth. The terminology got in the way, however. The very word ‘value’ implies an immediacy that in most cases should have no place in the conduct of great business enterprises.