Business will never be sustainable because profit is the main driver

Topics: Ethics, Management, Business ethics Pages: 6 (1768 words) Published: April 3, 2014
Assessment item 2: Essay (Individual)
Write an individual academic essay of 2000 words (+/-10%) on the one of the following questions: 2. “Business will never be sustainable because profit is the main driver”. Discuss.

Business sustainability and profits are two significant issues, which modern organization’s stakeholders are concerning. It is unrealistic that companies can achieve both optimal financial success and also preserve certain ethical dignities. Therefore, moral principles inevitable to be suffered as firm’s profit is higher prioritise, and even be sacrificed. It is critical to acknowledge that business ethics, which tends to lead to ethical dilemmas, is problematic and has abstracted enormous of public debate. I agree with the argument that business is unable to sustain as profit is the central driver, and try to explore, in terms of business deontology, how it able to sustain. However, it is necessary to recognise the counter argument that the organisation is the neutral instrument formed under the motivation of the entrepreneur. Generating profit is essential and fundamental. Therefore, an organisation is free and should be free to maximise economics interests (Friedman cited in Clegg 2012).This essay, which constructed in four sections, will discuss on business sustainability in long-term perspective together with consideration of business ethics. In Section One, I will introduce the concept of business ethics and corporate social responsibility through the works of Wray-Bliss (2007) and Clegg et al (2012).Next, I may argue that shareholders may have divergent of interests and profit is not the only target they aim. Under the light of the research of Parker (2002), empirical study of Fernando et al (2008), and Schwartz (2000); Section Two will stress the role of moral principles, explain how ‘ethics’ and ‘ profit’ can and cannot be aligned, and illustrate contemporary challenges which organisations are facing to become sustainable. By analysing on multidiscipline approaches to business ethics, Section Three endeavours to draw a critical perception through the works of Wray-Bliss (2007) and Clegg et al (2012). All in all, I am also acknowledged that this writing does have it owns biases and limitations. Section I: The Concept of Business Ethics and Corporation Social Responsibility In the early of the eighteenth century, utilitarianism, which originated by Jeremy Bentham (1748 -1832), had raised the complex conception of moral principles. He stated the right thing to do, is maximising the utility, which means ‘the greatest good for the greatest number of people’ (Wray-Bliss 2007). Put another way, the morality depends on the consequential result of an act. Similarly, the business ethics defined as the reflection on the ethical behaviour of business organisations (Clegg et al 2012). However, the intrinsic goal of behaviour can be categorically wrong, for example, outsourcing the production to developing countries, which provide jobs to help poor people. However, the right thing viewed one party can be wrong in another. In this instance, a number of local employees suffered the job-cut and people in developing countries be exploited. Apparently, this simple definition is ambiguous and debate-able as ‘good’ outcome be hardly measured. Thus, the controversy of business ethics has lasting over decades and going on till now. Recently, the failure of many large corporations and the extreme point is global financial crisis, forced people to re-examine about core values beyond figures shown in financial statement. To re-gain public faith, the business world needed to re-assure for the community and environment which they bounded in. Corporate leaders explained the reassurance as business ethics, and the initial idea is the organisation should take responsibility for their own actions to the public (Wray-Bliss 2007). Since then, the term of ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’, the shorthand title, became popular....


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Clegg, S.,Kornberger, M., Pitsis, T. 2011, ‘Chapter Eleven: Managing Ethics & CSR’, Managing and Organisations: An introduction to theory and practice,3rdedn, Sage, London, pp. 404-442.
Fernando, M., Dharmage, S. & Almeida, S. 2008, 'Ethical ideologies of senior Australian managers: An empirical study ', Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 82, no. 1, pp. 145-55.
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Schwartz, M. 2000, 'Why ethical codes constitute an unconscionable regression ', Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 23, no.2, pp.173-84.
Stubbs, W. &Cocklin, C. 2008, ‘Conceptualizing a “Sustainability Business Model”, Organisation & Environment,vol. 21, no. 2, Sage Publications, viewed 13 October 2013 .
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CSR in Austria: from implicit to explicit, by Markus A. Hollerer (2010)
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