January 31, 2011
Ethical and Moral Issues in Business
Dictionary.com defines ethics as the body of moral principles or values governing or distinctive of a particular culture or group. The group in the definition could be an organization or business. The word moral is defined as pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong. (Dictionary.com, 2011) An employee of a corporation oftentimes is faced with making a decision that causes them to examine their ethical or moral judgment in executing their decisions. In this paper, we examine the differences between ethical and moral issues and the differences between personal and business ethics. We also provide real world examples of common ethical problems in business.
The difference between ethical and moral issues is as simple as the difference between right and wrong. The major difference between ethics and moral issue is the authority that governs the decision. Business ethical guidelines are set by the management of the business. Moral guidelines are self-imposed and learned behaviors from parents, associates and religious background. A business owner and the governmental entity where that business resides have the right to determine the business ethics of the corporation. However, the moral issues are decisions that are made by the individual employee based on his or her personal experience. For example, a manager of a restaurant may be faced with an ethical and moral dilemma when a person who is hungry with no money requests a free meal. As a company employee, it would be unethical for him or her to give away free food. However, as a fellow human being who has sympathy for mankind, his moral being may want to give the person a free meal.
Personal and business ethics are two different areas. Trevino and Nelson (2007), defines ethics as—the principles, norms, and standards of conduct governing an individual or...