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Business Ethics

Introduction

Business EthicsIntroduction
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  1. Preface
  2. 1 Why Ethics Matter
    1. Introduction
    2. 1.1 Being a Professional of Integrity
    3. 1.2 Ethics and Profitability
    4. 1.3 Multiple versus Single Ethical Standards
    5. Summary
    6. Key Terms
    7. Assessment Questions
    8. End Notes
  3. 2 Ethics from Antiquity to the Present
    1. Introduction
    2. 2.1 The Concept of Ethical Business in Ancient Athens
    3. 2.2 Ethical Advice for Nobles and Civil Servants in Ancient China
    4. 2.3 Comparing the Virtue Ethics of East and West
    5. 2.4 Utilitarianism: The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number
    6. 2.5 Deontology: Ethics as Duty
    7. 2.6 A Theory of Justice
    8. Summary
    9. Key Terms
    10. Assessment Questions
    11. End Notes
  4. 3 Defining and Prioritizing Stakeholders
    1. Introduction
    2. 3.1 Adopting a Stakeholder Orientation
    3. 3.2 Weighing Stakeholder Claims
    4. 3.3 Ethical Decision-Making and Prioritizing Stakeholders
    5. 3.4 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
    6. Summary
    7. Key Terms
    8. Assessment Questions
    9. End Notes
  5. 4 Three Special Stakeholders: Society, the Environment, and Government
    1. Introduction
    2. 4.1 Corporate Law and Corporate Responsibility
    3. 4.2 Sustainability: Business and the Environment
    4. 4.3 Government and the Private Sector
    5. Summary
    6. Key Terms
    7. Assessment Questions
    8. End Notes
  6. 5 The Impact of Culture and Time on Business Ethics
    1. Introduction
    2. 5.1 The Relationship between Business Ethics and Culture
    3. 5.2 Business Ethics over Time
    4. 5.3 The Influence of Geography and Religion
    5. 5.4 Are the Values Central to Business Ethics Universal?
    6. Summary
    7. Key Terms
    8. Assessment Questions
    9. End Notes
  7. 6 What Employers Owe Employees
    1. Introduction
    2. 6.1 The Workplace Environment and Working Conditions
    3. 6.2 What Constitutes a Fair Wage?
    4. 6.3 An Organized Workforce
    5. 6.4 Privacy in the Workplace
    6. Summary
    7. Key Terms
    8. Assessment Questions
    9. End Notes
  8. 7 What Employees Owe Employers
    1. Introduction
    2. 7.1 Loyalty to the Company
    3. 7.2 Loyalty to the Brand and to Customers
    4. 7.3 Contributing to a Positive Work Atmosphere
    5. 7.4 Financial Integrity
    6. 7.5 Criticism of the Company and Whistleblowing
    7. Summary
    8. Key Terms
    9. Assessment Questions
    10. End Notes
  9. 8 Recognizing and Respecting the Rights of All
    1. Introduction
    2. 8.1 Diversity and Inclusion in the Workforce
    3. 8.2 Accommodating Different Abilities and Faiths
    4. 8.3 Sexual Identification and Orientation
    5. 8.4 Income Inequalities
    6. 8.5 Animal Rights and the Implications for Business
    7. Summary
    8. Key Terms
    9. Assessment Questions
    10. End Notes
  10. 9 Professions under the Microscope
    1. Introduction
    2. 9.1 Entrepreneurship and Start-Up Culture
    3. 9.2 The Influence of Advertising
    4. 9.3 The Insurance Industry
    5. 9.4 Ethical Issues in the Provision of Health Care
    6. Summary
    7. Key Terms
    8. Assessment Questions
    9. End Notes
  11. 10 Changing Work Environments and Future Trends
    1. Introduction
    2. 10.1 More Telecommuting or Less?
    3. 10.2 Workplace Campuses
    4. 10.3 Alternatives to Traditional Patterns of Work
    5. 10.4 Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and the Workplace of the Future
    6. Summary
    7. Key Terms
    8. Assessment Questions
    9. End Notes
  12. 11 Epilogue: Why Ethics Still Matter
    1. Introduction
    2. 11.1 Business Ethics in an Evolving Environment
    3. 11.2 Committing to an Ethical View
    4. 11.3 Becoming an Ethical Professional
    5. 11.4 Making a Difference in the Business World
    6. End Notes
  13. A | The Lives of Ethical Philosophers
  14. B | Profiles in Business Ethics: Contemporary Thought Leaders
  15. C | A Succinct Theory of Business Ethics
  16. Answer Key
    1. Chapter 1
    2. Chapter 2
    3. Chapter 3
    4. Chapter 4
    5. Chapter 5
    6. Chapter 6
    7. Chapter 7
    8. Chapter 8
    9. Chapter 9
    10. Chapter 10
    11. Chapter 11
  17. Index
A photo of a statue depicting the figure of Justice.
Figure 2.1 Their accuracy and practical use in the marketplace made scales, held aloft here by the figure of Justice in Bruges, Belgium, a common symbol in jurisprudence and law in the East and the West. Even today, the concept of counterbalancing different ideas and philosophies underlies many approaches to the law and ethics. (credit: modification of “Golden Lady Justice” by Emmanuel Huybrechts/Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

From the time of barter to the age of bitcoin, most people engaged in business transactions have sought trust. Without trust, which is a fundamental outcome of ethical behavior, not just business relationships but all relationships would collapse. To develop insight into our own concepts of ethics, this chapter looks at how ethical systems have developed over time, beginning with the distinction between ethics and the law.

Ethics are the standards of behavior to which we hold ourselves accountable in our personal and professional lives. Laws and regulations set the minimal standards by which society lives out those ethical norms. Because laws are minimal standards, it is not uncommon for an act to be legal but generally deemed unethical. The fact is that law and ethics are not always the same. Always, however, they are in dialogue, and each informs the other. The greatest challenge in business decision-making is moving beyond the letter of the law to create a culture of ethics (Figure 2.1).

Can you identify a moment in your life when it was hard to follow your conscience, or your personal morality conflicted with societal norms? What was the nature of the conflict, and how did you approach it?

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© Sep 24, 2018 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 license. The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.