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BUSINESS ETHIC. LECTURE 13. What is ethic?. Ethics is a study which seeks to address questions about morality; that is, about concepts such as good and bad, right and wrong, justice, and virtue. A set of principles of right conduct. What is business ethics?.

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business ethic

BUSINESS ETHIC

LECTURE 13

what is ethic
What is ethic?
  • Ethics is a study which seeks to address questions about morality; that is, about concepts such as good and bad, right and wrong, justice, and virtue.
  • A set of principles of right conduct.
what is business ethics
What is business ethics?
  • Business ethics is about relationships, values, justice, and identity (personal, professional, corporate, national, and global)
  • the intersection between business and ethics and is fundamental to the relationships between business and society at large.
  • Business ethics engage essential questions
    • Why does the modern corporation exist in the first place?
    • What is right and wrong, good and bad, and harmful and beneficial regarding decisions and actions in organization transactions?
    • How does it treat its stakeholders?
unethical business practice of employees
Unethical business practice of employees
  • Abusive and intimidating behavior
  • Misreporting hours worked
  • Lying
  • Withholding needed information
  • Employees in transitioning organization (merger, acquisition, or restructuring) observe misconduct and feel pressure at rates that are nearly double those in more stable organizations
  • Younger managers (under age 30) with low tenure in their organizations are twice as likely to feel pressure to compromise ethics standards
  • Senior and middle managers have less fear of reporting misconduct and are more satisfied with the response of their organizations. They also feel that honesty and respect are practiced more frequently than do lower level employees.
unethical business practices by industry
Unethical business practices by industry
  • Most of unethical behavior happens in the following areas
    • Government
    • Sales
    • Law
    • Media
    • Finance
    • Medicine
    • Banking
    • Manufacturing
why does ethics matter in business
Why does ethics matter in business?
  • “Doing the right thing” matters
  • To companies and employers, acting legally and ethically means saving billions of dollars each year in lawsuits, settlements, and theft.
  • CNN reported that an estimated one out of three business closes because of employee theft.
  • Costs to businesses also include deterioration of relationships; damage to reputation; declining employee productivity; creativity, and loyalty; ineffective information flow throughout the organization; and absenteeism.
  • For business leaders and managers, managing ethically also means managing with integrity
  • Integrity will shape and influences the values, tone, and culture of the organization; the communications among the members; and the realism, commitment, and imagination of everyone in a company.
business ethics levels
Business ethics levels

International level

Societal level

Association level

Organizational level

Individual l level

a framework for classifying ethical levels
A framework for classifying ethical levels

Descriptive

Normative

Analytical

Ethics of the system

Ethics of the organization

Ethics of the person

business ethics myths
Business ethics myths

Ethics is personal

Information is neutral and amoral

Business and ethics don’t mix

5

MYTHS

Good business means good ethics

Business ethics is relative

myth 1 ethics is a personal individual affair not a public or debatable matter
Myth 1: Ethics is a personal, Individual affair, not a public or debatable matter
  • Individual ethics is based on personal or religious beliefs, and that one decides what is right and wrong in the privacy of one’s conscience.
  • Individual ethical choices are most often influenced by discussions, conversations and debates and made in group contexts
  • Individuals often rely on organizations and groups for meaning, direction, and purpose
  • Individuals are integral parts of organizational cultures, which have standards to govern what is acceptable
  • It is argued that integrating ethics into the strategic management process is the right thing to do
  • ‘doing well by doing good’
myth 2 business and ethics do not mix
Myth 2: ‘Business and ethics do not mix’
  • This myth holds that business practices are basically amoral-not necessarily immoral-because business operate in a free market.
  • Asserts that management is based on scientific, rather than religious or ethical, principles
myth 3 ethics in business is relative
Myth 3: ‘Ethics in business is relative’
  • More popular myths, and it holds that no right or wrong way of believing or acting exists
  • Right and wrong are in the eyes of the beholder
  • The claim that ethics is not based solely on absolutes has some truth to it
  • All ethics is relative contradicts everyday experience. E.g. a person or society believes something to be right makes it right is problematic when examined.
  • The question that can be asked regarding this myth is
    • Relative to whom or what? And why?
  • The logic for this ethic, which answers that question with ‘Relative to me, myself and my interests’
myth 4 good business means good ethics
Myth 4: “Good business means good ethics”
  • Executives and firms that maintain a good corporate image, practice fair and equitable dealings with customers and employees, and earn profits by legitimate, legal means are real ethical?
  • Do you think ‘Good ethics means good business’?
  • Do you think ‘ethical first and also profitable’?
  • What happens, if what should be ethically done is not the best thing for business?
  • What happens when good ethics is not good business?
  • The ethical thing to do may not always be the best interests of the firm
  • Do you think we should promote business ethics in our business?
myth 5 information and computing are amoral
Myth 5: “Information and computing are amoral”
  • This myth holds that information and computing are neither moral nor immoral but are amoral
  • They are in a ‘gray zone’ a questionable area regarding ethics
  • Information and computing have positive dimensions, such as empowerment and enlightenment through exposure to information, increased efficiency, and quick access to online global communities.
  • Information about individuals can be used as ‘a form of control, power, and manipulation’
  • The negative side: the misuse of information and computing.
    • Fraud
    • Misrepresentation
    • Falsehood
why use ethical reasoning in business
Why use ethical reasoning in business?
  • There are 3 reasons:
    • Many times laws do not cover all aspects or ‘gray areas’ of a problem

E.g. tobacco industry.

    • Free market and regulated-market mechanisms do not effectively inform owners and managers how to respond to complex issues that have far-reaching ethical consequences
    • Complex moral problems require ‘an intuitive or learned understanding and concern for fairness, justice, due process to people, groups, human, and communities’. Ethics plays a role in business because laws are many times insufficient or guide action.
can business ethics be taught and trained
Can business ethics be taught and trained?
  • Because laws and legal enforcement are not always sufficient to help guide or solve complex human problems relating to business situations, the questions arise:
    • Can ethics help?
    • If so, how?
    • Can business ethics be taught?
slide17
Cont…
  • Decisions depend on:
    • Facts
    • Inferences and rigorous
    • Ethical reasoning
  • Ethics courses and training can do the following:
    • Provide people with rationales, ideas, and vocabulary to help them participate effectively in ethical decision making process
    • Help people ‘make sense’ of their environments
    • Enhance sensitivity to moral issues and commitment to finding moral solutions
    • Enhancemoral reflectivenessand strengthen moral courage
    • Improve the moral climate of firms by providing ethical concepts and tools for creating ethical codes and social audits
quick test of your ethical beliefs
Quick test of your ethical beliefs
  • Answer each following with your first reaction. Circle the number, from 1 to 4, the best represents your beliefs if
  • 1 represents ‘completely agree’ and
  • 4 represents ‘completely disagree’.
slide19

Answer each following with your first reaction. Circle the number, from 1 to 4, the best represents your beliefs if 1 represents ‘completely agree’ and 4 represents ‘completely disagree’

answer

ANSWER

Total your scores by adding up the numbers you circled. The lowest possible score is 10, the highest score is 40. Be ready to give reasons for your answer.

THE LOWER YOU SCORE, THE MORE QUESTIONNABLE YOUR ETHICAL PRINCIPLES REGARDING BUSINESS ACTIVITIES

references
References
  • Weiss, J.W.(2006). Business ethics. 4th Edition, Thompson South-Western
  • McNamara, C. (1997) Complete guide to ethics management: An ethics toolkit for managers. http://www.managementhelp.org/ethics/ethxgde.htm#anchor26548. Assessed on 11/10/08