2.1 Understanding Business Ethics
- What philosophies and concepts shape personal ethical standards?
Ethics is a set of moral standards for judging whether something is right or wrong. A utilitarianism approach to setting personal ethical standards focuses on the consequences of an action taken by a person or organization. According to this approach, people should act so as to generate the greatest good for the greatest number. Every human is entitled to certain rights such as freedom and the pursuit of happiness. Another approach to ethical decision-making is justice, or what is fair according to accepted standards.
2.2 How Organizations Influence Ethical Conduct
- How can organizations encourage ethical business behavior?
Top management must shape the ethical culture of the organization. They should lead by example, offer ethics-training programs, and establish a formal code of ethics.
2.3 Managing a Socially Responsible Business
- What is corporate social responsibility?
Corporate social responsibility is the concern of businesses for the welfare of society as a whole. It consists of obligations beyond just making a profit and goes beyond what is required by law or union contract. Companies may engage in illegal and irresponsible behavior, irresponsible but legal behavior, or legal and responsible behavior. The vast majority of organizations act legally and try to be socially responsible.
2.4 Responsibilities to Stakeholders
- How do businesses meet their social responsibilities to various stakeholders?
Stakeholders are individuals or groups to whom business has a responsibility. Businesses are responsible to employees. They should provide a clean, safe working environment. Organizations can build employees’ self-worth through empowerment programs. Businesses also have a responsibility to customers to provide good, safe products and services. Organizations are responsible to the general public to be good corporate citizens. Firms must help protect the environment and provide a good place to work. Companies also engage in corporate philanthropy, which includes contributing cash, donating goods and services, and supporting volunteer efforts of employees. Finally, companies are responsible to investors. They should earn a reasonable profit for company owners.
2.5 Trends in Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility
- What are the trends in ethics and corporate social responsibility?
Today, corporate philanthropy is shifting away from simply giving to any needy group and is focusing instead on strategic giving, in which the philanthropy relates more closely to the corporate mission or goals and targets donations to areas where the firm operates.
A second trend is toward a new social contract between employer and employee. Instead of the employer having the sole responsibility for maintaining jobs, now the employee must assume part of the burden and find ways to add value to the organization.
As the world increasingly becomes a global community, multinational corporations are now expected to assume a global set of ethics and responsibility. Global companies must understand local customs. They should also involve local stakeholders in decision-making. Multinationals must also make certain that their suppliers are not engaged in human rights violations.