Ethics: Framework of Business Decision-Making

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Ethics should be the framework of business decision making but to determine what our ethics are or should be we must first take a look at our culture and values. Culture is the behaviors and beliefs that are characteristics of a particular group of people that when taken together constitute a design for living. Based on our culture, we form values that become abstract ideas about what a group believes to be good, right, or desirable. Cultures have norms that are formed by their values to determine what the social rules and guidelines are for appropriate behavior. These norms are used to form a moral set of principles that are used to guide and shape behaviors that become an ethical system. Values and norms form the bedrock of a culture and should also be used to define what is ethical for a business. Too often, ethics and culture clash in the business world and decisions are made that go against our morals or norms, sometimes even without realizing it, until it’s too late and public opinion has been tainted or corrupted by bad business ethic decisions. Businesses and employees have a social responsibility to consider the consequences of their actions when making business decisions. There should be a presumption in favor of decisions that have both good economic and social consequences. Business ethics means that there is more than just an economic “bottom line” to a business decision. Some believe that business ethics is an oxymoron becomes good business and ethics do not belong together and recent public opinion says that you can trust a lawyer and maybe even politicians before you can trust a successful business person. This has to be changed but the only way to do that is to change the way we do business. Good management needs to mean more than maximizing stakeholder value. Value should be more than just finances. We need to create value for our customers and manage suppliers so that they want to make our business better. We should manage...
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