THE CASE FOR ETHICAL BEHAVIOUR IN TODAY’S BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT
Despite the presence of professional ethical codes designed to govern professional conduct in specific industries, there has been numerous cases of unethical conducts which have led to the collapse of great companies in the past such as Enron and Worldcom. In recent times however, many organisations have been taking practical steps to incorporate ethical principles in the daily operations of the business in.
The importance of business ethics cannot be overemphasized in the role it plays for any organisations whose objective is to continue in business for the foreseeable future. In the bid to maximize profitability, several ...view middle of the document...
Each human has a duty to acknowledge that every other person possesses human dignity which gives them intrinsic value. It follows that we have a duty to treat other people with respect and care as we reasonable would like ourselves to be treated by others.
According to Prof. J. Elegido, ethics is concerned with keeping two things in mind when making decisions
1. Acting intelligently: this has to do with not allowing our urges, desires and emotions to champion our decision making. Rational decision making involves controlling our emotions and using the right means to achieve our objectives.
2. Putting the concern of others into consideration: this has to do with considering the possible ways in which our actions may impact on other individuals apart from ourselves.
Ethics and the Law
Most laws are drawn from the principles of ethics but not all laws are ethical. It is worth noting that ethics stands above the law. However, this does not mean that there are no consequences for disregarding the law if it goes against ethical standards.
What is Business Ethics?
In the business sense, the concept of ethical behaviour is identical to the concept of human ethical behavior – given than a business organisation is regarded as a corporate citizen (a member of the community in which it operates). Business ethics involves applying the principles of ethics in the formulation of policies and procedures, as well as the decision making process of a business organisation.
Principles of Business Ethics
Ethical behavior in business is governed by the following fundamental principles:
1. Solidarity: As human beings it is not ethical right to act selfishly. We need to recognize that we do not exist by our own selves, rather we co-exist amongst other human beings who, in one way or another, may depend on us for the fulfillment of their own intrinsic needs. Likewise, we cannot find true fulfillment solely in ourselves, but by showing concern for the wellbeing of others achieve, we foster a culture of care.
2. Refraining from inflicting direct or indirect willed harm on others: The principle states that when the action of an individual is targeted at inflicting harm on another individual to achieve his own objective, or as an objective in itself, then such person is acting unethically for example withholding employee benefits from a deserving employee.
3. Acceptance of harmful side effects: This principle acknowledges that there are some reasonable circumstances where an individual’s actions may cause unprecedented harmful side-effect on others. It is our duty to consider the side-effects of our decisions on others even when our objective is not to cause harm.
4. Role Responsibility: According to this principle, everybody does not have equal responsibility to ensure the wellbeing of every other individual. Some are given this responsibility, for example by virtue of nature, through age difference between a child and an adult. This gives such...