©2012 / ISBN: 9780205017669
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BUSINESS ETHICS IS APPLIED ETHICS. IT IS THE APPLICATION OF OUR UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT IS GOOD AND RIGHT TO THAT ASSORTMENT OF INSTITUTIONS, TECHNOLOGIES, TRANSACTIONS, ACTIVITIES, AND PURSUITS THAT WE CALL BUSINESS.
DISCUSSION OF BUSINESS ETHICS MUST BEGIN BY PROVIDING A
FRAMEWORK OF BASIC PRINCIPLES FOR UNDERSTANDING WHAT IS MEANT BY THE TERMS GOOD AND RIGHT; ONLY THEN CAN ONE PROCEED TO PROFITABLY DISCUSS THE IMPLICATIONS THESE HAVE FOR OUR BUSINESS WORLD.
THESE FIRST TWO CHAPTERS PROVIDE SUCH A FRAMEWORK. CHAPTER 1 DESCRIBES WHAT CHAPTER 2
BUSINESS ETHICS IS IN GENERAL AND EXPLAINS THE GENERAL ORIENTATION OF THE BOOK.
DESCRIBES SEVERAL SPECIFIC APPROACHES TO BUSINESS ETHICS, WHICH TOGETHER FURNISH A BASIS FOR ANALYZING ETHICAL ISSUES IN BUSINESS.
Ethics and Business
What is “business ethics”? What is corporate social responsibility? Is ethical relativism right? How does moral development happen? What role do emotions have in ethical reasoning? What are the impediments to moral behavior? When is a person morally responsible for doing wrong?
In business the handshake is an expression of trust, and ethical behavior is the foundation of trust.
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Maybe the best way to introduce a discussion of business ethics is by looking at how a real company has incorporated ethics into its operations. Consider then how Merck & Co., Inc., a U.S. drug company, dealt with the issue of river blindness. River blindness is a debilitating disease that has afflicted about 18 million impoverished people living in remote villages along the banks of rivers in tropical regions of Africa and Latin America. The disease is caused by a tiny parasitic worm that is passed from person to person by the bite of the black fly, which breeds in fast-flowing river waters. The tiny worms burrow under a person’s skin, where they grow as long as 2 feet curled up inside ugly round nodules half an inch to an inch in diameter. Inside the nodules, the female worms reproduce by releasing millions of microscopic offspring called microfilariae that wriggle their way throughout the body moving beneath the skin, discoloring it as they migrate, and causing lesions and such intense itching that victims sometimes commit suicide. Eventually, the microfilariae invade the eyes and blind the victim. In some West African villages, the parasite had already blinded more than 60 percent of villagers over fifty-five. The World Health Organization estimated that the disease had blinded 270,000 people and left another 500,000 with impaired vision. Pesticides no longer stop the black fly because it has developed immunity to them. Moreover, until the events described below, the only drugs available to treat the parasite in humans were so expensive, had such severe side effects, and required such lengthy hospital stays that the treatments were impractical for the destitute victims who lived in isolated rural villages. In many countries, young people fled the areas along the rivers, abandoning large tracts of rich fertile land. Villagers who stayed to live along the rivers accepted the nodules, the torturous itching, and eventual blindness as an inescapable part of life. In 1980, Dr. Bill Campbell and Dr. Mohammed Aziz, research scientists working for Merck, discovered evidence that one of the company’s best-selling animal drugs, Ivermectin, might kill the parasite that causes river blindness. Dr....