Organizational Ethics and Social Responsibility MGT 16
December 1, 2010
Whether or not a company can influence the ethical behavior within their organization or whether there are just a few bad apples who were not brought up with good character continues to be debated. This debate raises the question as to whether or not ethical behavior should be a priority within the business and academic environments. Understanding the differences between ethical and moral issues and the complexity of business versus personal ethics will explain why business ethics must be actively addressed through forrmal channels. According to Trevino & Nelson, ethics focuses on the conduct of which values and principles govern an individual group (2004). Ethics can be driven by external factors such as society, peer groups, religions, and profession; therefore, ethics can also change if any one of these factors change. For instance, hunting certain animals for sport is considered acceptable until they are listed as endangered and it then becomes illegal. Morris quotes Velasquez when defining morals as dealing with matters that can either benefit or cause harm to another individual and morals are not either established or changed by authoritative figures (Morris, 2004). A person’s morals are influenced by religion, family, friends, and life experiences and are concerned with what is right or wrong as defined on a deeper, individual personal level. They do not change easily and generally require a paradigm shift on a personal level. For example, it will always be considered immoral to commit murder. When there is a conflict between an employee’s moral beliefs and a company’s code of ethics, it can be difficult to determine the best course of action. For instance, if a doctor witnesses a fellow doctor engage in taking an illegal drug, he or she may believe that the right moral action would be...