Ethical Principals

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Ethical Principles in the Corporate World

By:
Brian Renshaw
Courtney Kubat
Stephanie Angellotto
IFMG 300 B04

Abstract

Ethical issues are an area of the corporate world that most businesses deal with on a regular basis. The importance is growing with the continuous development of technology. Companies need to be aware of ethical obligations of their products and decisions. Privacy is a problem that occurs due to the fact that companies can access individuals’ information on the history of the websites a person has visited to develop customer trends through cookies, web bugs, and other means. Following ethical principles is essential to keep corporations on top and away from any negative consequences that unethical practices may lead to. This paper will look at different areas of ethics involved in the corporate world, such as, privacy, technological trends, and liability, as well as several other important areas.

Introduction

The importance of ethics in business is growing as firms become more dependent on information systems. The consequences of unethical behavior can cause harm to the company and society. Scandals like Enron, Arthur Anderson, and WorldCom had a devastating impact on the people that depended on those companies. The ease of Information Systems has caused concern that employees may be tempted to use unethical behavior. Technology can give a company access to information of a user without the user’s knowledge. Increased technology has made it easier than ever to copy copyrighted materials. Corporations also have to be aware that their systems might fail, raising the question who is responsible for failed systems? The company? The consumer? All of these situations are examples of ethical situations that corporations face everyday. Ethical behavior can exist through technology, intellectual property, and quality of life, accountability, privacy, as well as ethical principles. When corporations are faced with an ethical issue it is important that they understand the consequences of their decisions. The corporation is responsible for the negative and positive outcomes of a situation. That is why ethics are important; since a simple decision to cut costs on a product could become harmful to a company and cost a lot more money and hurt the company’s reputation. If corporations refuse to be accountable for their actions it can have a devastating impact on the corporate culture of the firm. An equation created by Klitgaard states that monopoly plus discretion, minus accountability equals corruption (Osbourne, 294). If nobody takes their actions seriously it can only lead to corrupt behavior from employees of an organization. Not only can corporations be hurt by law suits and other physical damages as a result of unethical decisions, but their image can be hurt. The reputation or organizations and their executives have been hurt by various scandals. J Singh writes, “A recent survey by Gallup indicates that 82 per cent of the public no longer trusts management for taking proper care of the shareholders; 90 per cent do not trust them for taking care of the employees” (Singh, 61). Companies are losing people’s trust. Who is willing to invest in a company or buy products from a company that cannot be trusted? The results of unethical behavior can destroy a company. Arthur Andersen was a leading accounting firm until a few employees committed unethical and illegal actions. The damage to the company’s image outweighed all the legal problems and led to the end of the company. It is very important to remember that image is part of the loss a firm can take when they are accountable and liable for their decisions that may be unethical. How can firms reduce the negative consequences of their decisions, which will reduce lawsuits as well as harm to their reputation? There are several ethical principles that will help firms to make better decisions. One principle is...
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