Business Ethics Notes

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A Definition for Business Ethics
Business ethics can be defined as written and unwritten codes of principles and values that govern decisions and actions within a company. In the business world, the organization’s culture sets standards for determining the difference between good and bad decision making and behavior. In the most basic terms, a definition for business ethics boils down to knowing the difference between right and wrong and choosing to do what is right. The phrase 'business ethics' can be used to describe the actions of individuals within an organization, as well as the organization as a whole. Business Definition for: Business Ethics

a system of moral principles applied in the commercial world. Business ethics provide guidelines for acceptable behavior by organizations in both their strategy formulation and day-to-day operations. An ethical approach is becoming necessary both for corporate success and a positive corporate image. Following pressure from consumers for more ethical and responsible business practices, many organizations are choosing to make a public commitment to ethical business by formulating codes of conduct and operating principles. In doing so, they must translate into action the concepts of personal and corporate accountability, corporate giving, corporate governance, and whistleblowing. Business ethics Business ethics (also known as Corporate ethics) is a form of applied ethics or professional ethics that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that arise in a business environment. It applies to all aspects of business conduct and is relevant to the conduct of individuals and business organizations as a whole. Applied ethics is a field of ethics that deals with ethical questions in many fields such as medical, technical, legal and business ethics. In the increasingly conscience-focused marketplaces of the 21st century, the demand for more ethical business processes and actions (known as ethicism) is increasing.[1] Simultaneously, pressure is applied on industry to improve business ethics through new public initiatives and laws (e.g. higher UK road tax for higher-emission vehicles).[2] Businesses can often attain short-term gains by acting in an unethical fashion; however, such behaviours tend to undermine the economy over time. Business ethics can be both a normative) and a descriptive discipline. As a corporate practice and a career specialization, the field is primarily normative. In academia descriptive approaches are also taken. The range and quantity of business ethical issues reflects the degree to which business is perceived to be at odds with non-economic social values. Historically, interest in business ethics accelerated dramatically during the 1980s and 1990s, both within major corporations and within academia. For example, today most major corporate websites lay emphasis on commitment to promoting non-economic social values under a variety of headings (e.g. ethics codes, social responsibility charters). In some cases, corporations have redefined their core values in the light of business ethical considerations (e.g. BP's "beyond petroleum" environmental tilt). Corporate social responsibility or CSR: an umbrella term under which the ethical rights and duties existing between companies and society is debated. Issues regarding the moral rights and duties between a company and its shareholders: fiduciary responsibility, stakeholder concept v. shareholder concept. Ethical issues concerning relations between different companies: e.g. hostile take-overs, industrial espionage. Political contributions made by corporations.

Law reform, such as the ethical debate over introducing a crime of corporate manslaughter. The misuse of corporate ethics policies as marketing instruments. See also: corporate abuse, corporate crime.

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