Why a Good Understanding of Business Ethics is Important: Crane and Matten’s 8 Points

Satisfactory Essays
Why a Good Understanding of Business Ethics is Important: Crane and Matten’s 8 Points1

1. The power and influence of business in society is greater than ever before. Evidence suggests that many members of the public are uneasy with such developments (Bernstein, 2000). For instance, one recent poll of more than 20 leading economic nations revealed that almost 75% of residents believed large companies had too much influence on the decisions of their government (Cywinski, 2008). Business ethics helps us to understand why this is happening, what its implications might be, and how we might address this situation.
2. Business has the potential to provide a major contribution to our societies, in terms of producing the products and services that we want, providing employment, paying taxes, and acting as an engine for economic development, to name just a few examples. How, or indeed whether, this contribution is made raises significant ethical issues that go to the heart of the social role of business in contemporary society. As a 2008 global survey conducted by McKinsey shows, about 50% of business executives think that corporations make a mostly or somewhat positive contribution to society, whilst some 25% believe that their contribution is mostly or somewhat negative (McKinsey Quarterly, 2008).
3. Business malpractices have the potential to inflict enormous harm on individuals, on communities and on the environment. Through helping us to understand more about the causes and consequences of these malpractices business ethics seeks, as the founding editor of the Journal of Business Ethics has suggested (Michalos 1998), ‘to improve the human condition.’
4. The demands being placed on business to be ethical by its various stakeholders are constantly becoming more complex and more challenging. Business ethics provides the means to appreciate and understand theses challenges more clearly, in order that firms can meet these ethical expectations more

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