To me, ethics are founded standards of right and wrong.
-Why are employees and the public cynical about the ethics of business and its leaders? How does cynicism affect your thinking as an employee, manager, or business student?
They are cynical about it because they believe that not everyone is representing their true motives. Cynicism can affect the overall functionality of a company. People that are cynics about business ethics tend to not trust management or they don't believe that management actually pays attention to their needs. As a student it can affect your overall education.
-What are examples of criteria and decision-making systems used in making ethical judgments?
Relativism- All moral principles are valid relative to cultural tastes.
Divine command- Moral standards depending on religion.
Utilitarianism- Actions that are judged right or wrong based off of their consequences.
Deontology- Moral rules and duty.
Virtue Ethics- Internal morals.
--What is the effect of societal norms on business ethics? How does a business make ethical decisions if society has no established norms, such as with nanotechnology, or if there is a strong disagreement within society, such as with embryonic stem cell research?
Societal norms cause organizations to incorporate a code of ethics that would not counter societal norms.
-Are so-called bad apples the primary cause of ethical problems in organizations? Why or why not?
No, they can be the primary cause of ethical problems since they tend not to do their share of the work or act rude towards others, which essentially can destroy a teams dynamic and work flow. However it is up to the different organizations to analyze itself and figure out if it something within itself that is causing these people to become "bad apples".
-Is it possible for an action to be legal but unethical? Is it possible for an action to be ethical but illegal? Explain...