Business Ethics

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Business ethics is the conduct within companies and corporations deemed acceptable by society. Consumers rely on businesses to be honest in representing the products they sell in addition to use of economic resources. Due to the availability of electronic communications, consumers are now able to more closely monitor the activities of a company. Should a company’s behaviors be suspect, the information can be shared instantaneously.

Acceptable conduct regarding business practices has evolved over the past few decades. Practices such as gender or racial discrimination, are not only illegal, but appalling. Use of corporate resources to wine and dine clients is frowned upon – such resources could be used to help less fortunate consumers. Ignoring the environmental impact of production procedures justified by a less expensive product no longer appeals to the public. Most recently added to the list of suspect business ethics, the hiring of foreign labor then continuing to operate in a country where labor laws are insignificant.

As a result of increased consumer awareness, businesses are expected to take responsibility for the impact their policies and procedures have on the surrounding community and its environment. For example, when Hyundai moved its first stateside plant into Alabama, the company saw fit as a “responsible corporate citizen” to become involved in the local community. Through the implementation of charitable funding, Hyundai continues to assist not-for-profit organizations located throughout Alabama. Some companies might have considered the creation of thousands of jobs contribution enough to the local economy.

Despite the rising awareness of the importance of ethical business practice, unethical behavior does persist. One of the most common unethical behaviors within corporations is the misuse of corporate resources. The organization, for which I work, AAFES, serves the military. Our patrons must be authorized to shop at the facility. Most...
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