For the past few decades, many executives, administrators, social scientists, and the public at large have seen unethical behavior as a cancer working on the tissue of society. Many are concerned that a crisis of ethics in the West is undermining our competitive strength. This crisis involves businesspeople, government officials, customers, and employees. Especially worrisome is unethical behavior among employees at all levels of the business organization. For example, consider the notion that employees account for a higher percentage of retail thefts than do customers or the suggestion that one in every fifteen employees steals from his or her employer. Management of ethical issues require that organizations ensure that their managers and employees do not commit unethical acts and are familiar with how to deal with ethical issues in their everyday work lives.
Ethical failures are rooted in leadership failure, the lack of a corporate culture in which ethical concerns have been integrated, and unresponsiveness to key organizational stakeholders. This paper seeks to enhance our understanding of the causes of ethical debacles in an era when ethical missteps can often lead to corporate bankruptcies or worse. We assert that organizations wishing to behave ethically must do more than harbor good intentions. Such companies must implement policies that inculcate the corporate culture with ethical values. They must also commit to ethical behavior in all interactions with internal and external stakeholders, including investors, customers, employees, and the community.
The Challenge of Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility
As a society, we define ourselves by the values we choose to emphasize. Beginning in the 1980s, a frenzied quest for efficiency led to the endorsement of individualism over community. The resulting emphasis on short-term returns encouraged a speculative frenzy in the stock markets and merger mania on... [continues]
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