The business ethics field of study has evolved through five distinct stages. These stages are before 1960, the 1960s, the 1970s, the 1980s, and the 1990s. It also continues to evolve in the twenty-first century. With each stage come new changes. In the last 30 years the ethics field of study, starting from the 1980s, has shown multiple changes. In 1980 business ethics was acknowledged as a field of study. A group of institutions with diverse interests promoted its study causing business ethics organizations to grow and include thousands of members. The 1980s also brought forth the development of the Defense Industry Initiative (DII) on Business Ethics and Conduct. This Defense Industry Initiative includes six principles. These six principles are as follows: 1.
Supports codes of conduct and their widespread distribution 2.
Member companies are expected to provide ethics training for their employees as well as continuous support between training periods. 3.
Defense contractors must create an open atmosphere in which employees feel comfortable reporting violations without fear of retribution. 4.
Companies need to perform extensive internal audits and develop effective internal reporting and voluntary disclosure plans. 5.
DII insists that member companies preserve the integrity of the defense industry. 6.
Member companies must adopt a philosophy of public accountability. Another change that occurred during the 1980s was the lift of many tariffs and trade barriers, and businesses merged and divested within an increasingly growing atmosphere. The fourth distinctive stage of the business ethics field that brought change over the last 30 years is the stage 1990s. In the 1990s Congress approved the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations. This set the tone for organizational ethical compliance programs in the 1990s. The guidelines broke new ground by codifying into law incentives to reward organizations for taking action to prevent misconduct such as...
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