Business, sustainability and society

Powerful Essays
Topics: Ethics
MN3481: Business, sustainability and society

The issue of defining ethics becomes problematic when debating whether one’s intentions should be taken into account. Crane and Matten define business ethics as the study of business situations, activities, and decisions where issues of right and wrong are addressed (Crane & Matten). It is argued by some that business and ethics contradict one another, thus business ethics is an oxymoron. The main purpose of many businesses is to adhere to the needs and demands of their stakeholders, in particular to their shareholders, and this puts a huge emphasis on management to maximise profit which can, as has been the case in the past, force the firm to take unethical actions. There are many other unethical issues which occur in the modern day in age but for the duration of this essay I will be using an extended example of Wal-Mart’s irresponsible dumping of hazardous waste, analysing the firm’s unethical decision using four theories.
Kantianism argues a form of deontological ethics which, as defined by Crook are “ethical systems that teach that some acts are morally obligatory without regard for their consequences" (An Intro to Christian Ethics), focuses on non-consequentialist ethics implying that actions are either ethical or unethical, regardless of the outcome of the action and instead focusing on the motivation. Immanuel Kant holds that duty, firm obedience towards ethical law, disregarding its potential actions, is the standard of morality.
By Kant’s reasoning, we must all abide by the ‘categorical imperative’; stated by Wolff to be, paraphrased, ‘about what one should do regardless of what their aims or goals are’.
Kant’s first maxim, paraphrased, declares one’s duty is only to act in such a manner that can be based on worldwide law; all people, at all times, must be able to apply to ethical principles. Kant’s perspective on morality does not depend on the person as such behaviour would mean that there is no



Bibliography: Andrew Crane, 2010. Business Ethics: Managing Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability in the Age of Globalization. 3 Edition. Oxford University Press, USA. Friedrich Paulsen, 2010. A System of Ethics. Edition. Nabu Press. Howard J. Curzer, 1998. Ethical Theory and Moral Problems. 1 Edition. Cengage Learning. Hutchinson, 1995. The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy). 1st Edition. Cambridge University Press. Immanuel Kant, 1998. Kant: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy). Edition. Cambridge University Press. Peter Byrne, 1992. The Philosophical and Theological Foundations of Ethics: An Introduction to Moral Theory and its Relation to Religious Belief. 1st Edition. Palgrave Macmillan. Roger H. Crook Ph.D., 2006. An Introduction to Christian Ethics (5th Edition). 5 Edition. Pearson.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Powerful Essays

    Business Sustainability

    • 640 Words
    • 3 Pages

    BMO5501 – BUSINESS ETHICS AND SUSTAINABILITY Country Briefing Paper Sustainability: Issues and Challenges in Australia and Afghanistan Prepared by: 1. Massouda Nazari (3867371) 2. 3. 4. 1. Introduction: Background & Context 2. Economic Context 3. Economic & Political System…

    • 640 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Business Sustainability

    • 704 Words
    • 3 Pages

    ------------------------------------------------- Business Sustainability Business sustainability is often defined as managing the triple bottom line - a process by which firms manage their financial, social and environmental risks, obligations and opportunities. These three impacts are sometimes referred to as profits, people and planet. However, this approach relies on an accounting based perspective and does not fully capture the time element that is inherent within business sustainability. A more robust definition is that business sustainability…

    • 704 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Systems, Society and Sustainability The global challenge of sustainable development requires solutions and mindsets that bridge traditional divisions between nature and culture, and the technical and social sciences. Sustainable development requires that engineers and other professionals are able to include social and ecological considerations alongside technical and economic requirements in managing projects and infrastructure. This course outlines the challenges of sustainability, introduces…

    • 3717 Words
    • 15 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Business ethics and sustainability Tata Steel Ltd. – a case study What is business ethics and sustainability ? Business ethics Business ethics (also Corporate Ethics) is defined as the accepted set of moral values and codes of conduct applied in business practice and decision making. These applied ethics or professional ethics are defined by its business or corporate policies and is corporate standards of a business organisation. Business ethics means ‘taking the right course’. Acting ethically…

    • 2650 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Best Essays

    MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION BUSINESS ETHICS AND SUSTAINABILITY BMO5501 BUSINESS ETHICS AND SUSTAINABILITY BMO5501 Assignment 1 Part B: Sustainability Recommendation Report VU Lecturer: Ms Judith Watson Local Tutor: Mr Paul Linus Andrews Prepared by: Chua Yu Kiat (VU ID 4185059) Jullian John (VU ID 4202536) Teoh Xuan Jing (VU ID 4184633) Wong Wing Tien (VU ID 3906101) Assignment 1 Part B: Sustainability Recommendation…

    • 4655 Words
    • 19 Pages
    Best Essays
  • Good Essays

    critically analysing the situation of sustainability in Indooroopilly State High School, which is concerned with the social and environmental responsibilities of the school. We will also be looking at business sustainability at Indooroopilly, which is also concerned with the financial aspects of sustainability. This is an overview of our presentation: first, we will define business sustainability. Then, we will talk about the importance of business sustainability at Indooroopilly, afterwards going…

    • 1506 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Business Continuity and Sustainability: Avon Business continuity and sustainability are common terms used in the business world today, they both are important to the strategic plan and decisions in relationship to today’s business world. Business continuity is the activity of an organization looking at the business functions that relate to uniform and reliable practice and making sure all stakeholders are aware and have access to those activities. According to Merriam-Webster.com (2010), sustain…

    • 2015 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    ENVIRONMENT SUSTAINABILITY IN BUSINESS Under this sub theme, agriculture is a very important area and i have chosen to work on it as agriculture taking place in a unsustainable way has numerous impacts on the environment. Heavy rain and irrigation leads to agrochemical runoff contaminating waterways,heavy metals and toxic materials go into water bodies;leading to eutrophication , a build-up of chemicals in the soil can impact plants,which in turn can be transferred to wildlife and humans who eat…

    • 293 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    How Business Sustainability changed me: Taking Business Sustainability course has changed me on a personal level. I’ve never had a deep connection with nature. As a kid I have spent many family vacations in the middle of a forest because of my father’s fascination with his job (He is a retired forest engineer/carried out forestry research). To be honest, I never really understood his relationship with trees and nature. Now I value nature more. I appreciate environment more. I acknowledge that…

    • 472 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Business Model Innovation for Sustainability _______________ Karan GIROTRA Serguei NETESSINE 2013/64/TOM Business Model Innovation for Sustainability Karan Girotra* Serguei Netessine** * Assistant Professor of Technology and Operations Management at INSEAD, Boulevard de Constance 77305 Fontainebleau Cedex, France. Email: karan.girotra@insead.edu ** The Timken Chaired Professor of Global Technology and Innovation, Professor of Technology and Operations Management at…

    • 5492 Words
    • 26 Pages
    Powerful Essays