Business ethics is the implementation of the ethical values to business behaviour. It applies to any and all aspects of business conduct, from boardroom strategies and how companies treat their suppliers to sales techniques and accounting practices. Ethics goes beyond the legal requirements for a society and is, therefore, discretionary. Business ethics are an almost daily issue in the news, in business schools, in the workplace and in our homes. I pay a great deal of attention to business ethics and what’s written about them in my daily life as a strategic thinking, planning and business coach.
Business ethics is a behavior that all businesses stick to. Also known as corporate ethics or professional ethics, it incorporates moral guidelines as also the problems a business entity frequently faces. The term ‘business ethics’ became popular in the U.S. in the early 1970s. The Society for Business Ethics, a global institute that deals with business ethics and the implementation of moral principles was established in 1980. Businesses started specifying their ethical principles from the end of the 1980s, maybe to stay away from scandals in businesses.
If business ethics and values are left to the self of business houses and entrepreneurs, society may have many dead weight losses to bear. A few producers can collectively skimp on supply to increase market prices, a few strong buyers may collectively reduce demand till prices fall and a single unit can capture the entire supply chain and refuse its services to the open market and reserve them for the better price. To top it, the labor market can unite and ask for unreasonable increases in wages and members of the public transport unions can stand up for price hikes. Who decides whether all this is reasonable and hence ethical, or unreasonable and thus unethical? Who says that an earner who earns less than the minimum wages have a right to a wage increase even by somewhat unethical measures that require some employer arm-twisting? Who decides that every person who already earns millions in profits isn’t entitled to reducing worker wages to earn higher margins, as it is unethical? See what I mean, ethics changes depending on which side you view them from. What may be absolutely good for you may be a gross injustice for me. So if the contract is left to its own individual mechanics, the most important ethical issue of all will be that all those in strong positions will still be the ones manipulating the weaker ones. This is where business ethics comes in as a self-regulatory mechanism on the stronger players in the economy. Let us now turn to certain routine ethical issues that almost every business has to face.
There was a cyclonic storm and millions of fish were washed ashore and were struggling for life on the beach. A man came to the beach and patiently began to recover the fish, one by one, and throw them back into the sea. There is little point in my telling you what is ethically right or wrong. You already have an interpretation of this. But let’s understand what influences our understanding of ethics; our interpersonal relations with others, like our family, friends, neighbors, fellow workers, as same as the media.
Business ethics is a type of applied ethics that examines just rules and principles within a commercial context; the various moral or ethical issues that may arise in the course of a business setting; and any special duties or obligations that apply to persons who’re engaged in commerce. Implementing an ethics program in your organization accomplishes many things. First, research has found that more attention to ethics in the workplace has actually improved society overall, in that we no longer have to fear poverty due to accidents in the workplace, and our children are no longer forced to work.
Because of business ethics, people in the workplace have more rights, and thus are more productive.
There are so-called professional ethics, and in particular-business ethics. This includes standards of entrepreneur behavior. Entrepreneurial activity is not possible without the numerous contacts with people; it isn’t designed to work alone. Business code ethics need to be a member of your organization’s culture; and recent business ethics cases prove that need. Stories of large business fraud to small business embezzlement are being reported with ever-increasing frequency; unfortunately business ethics are under attack.
Ethics plays an ever growing role in our society today. Environmental ethics and business ethics must be first and foremost. This has become more common in our society today, especially after the Wall Street melt down a couple of years ago, and people have been swindled far too often by unethical business practices. The National Business Ethics Survey (NBES) gives an overview of the ethics in the workplace and the 2005 version indicates that ethical misconduct is increasing. And this is after Enron, et al.
The NBES included more than 3, 000 American workers and their survey found that more than half of American workers have observed at least one kind of ethical misconduct in the workplace. Ethics are a part of each and every one of our lives, good or bad. And when it comes to business ethics, the same thing applies, because some businesses have great ethics while others have poor. If you are not sure where your ethical radar might fall, here is something I think you should remember.