Here we are going to describe an introduction to business ethics. Business ethics is the evaluation of business activities and behavior as right or wrong.
Ethical standards in business are based on commonly accepted principles of behavior established by the expectations of society, the industry, and an individual’s personal values.
Introduction to business ethics
According to Nuner and Kelling “Managerial ethics or business ethics are standard of organizations in carrying out their business”
The gray area between what is legal and what is patently illegal is the domain of ethical dispute. People working in business frequently face ethical questions. For instance, is it ethical to take home pens and pencils from the office?
Is it okay to make a short, personal long-distance call on the company phone, use the company mail for a few personal items, or take the company car on a trip to the mall? Is it unethical to “pad” an expense account?
Should family members be hired even if there was a more qualified person available? Should an employee withhold information from a local reporter who is investing in whether or not the company is dumping hazardous waste into a local river?
These are examples of ethical dilemmas that individuals face which have no absolute right or wrong answers. There are no agreed-upon ethical standards that guide all behavior in organizations because ethical behavior depends on what society considers the norm for such behavior and on whom in judging the behavior.
And since there is such an individual quality, individual interpretations of what is and is not ethical serve to keep the gray area in constant ebb and flow.
Ethics and values are intimately related. Values are learned early in life from parents and family, teachers, and significant others and are either reinforced or altered by subsequent experience.
Values consist of those enduring beliefs which specify that a certain mode of conduct or end-state of existence is personally or socially desirable.
Nowadays, a business organization cannot do whatever it likes to do. It cannot focus on its profit maximization. At the same time, it has to consider the profit as well as the welfare of society. So, it has to follow some rules and regulations and social customs and obligations.
By doing this a business enterprise can satisfy the different categories of people in society. Business ethics refers to the moral judgment of business enterprises towards society.
So we can say, ethics follow from values and concern an individual’s beliefs about what is right or wrong, good or bad. There is always a degree of subjective judgment involved.
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