Ethical and Moral Issues in Business
Chantal A. Belaire
University of Phoenix
Organizational Ethics and Social Responsibility
November 30, 2010
Ethical and Moral Issues in Business
The difference between ethics and morals can seem somewhat unreasonable to many, but there is a basic, although subtle, difference. Morals define personal character, while ethics stress a social system in which those morals are applied. Ethics point to codes or standards of behavior expected by a group to which the individual belongs. This could be in several forms of ethics like national, social, company, professional, or even family. The ethics an individual practices can ...view middle of the document...
Just by being in business, many businesses have gained a bad reputation. The bottom line is that businesses are interested in making money. Making money is not wrong, but it is the manner in which some businesses conduct the business that brings up the question of ethical behavior. A part of very business should have good business ethics. If a business does not adhere to good business ethics and somehow breaks the law, the business usually is fined. Many businesses break anti-trust laws, ethically and environmentally, and receive fines worth millions. The problem is that the amount of money businesses are making out weights the fines applied. Billion dollar profits blind the businesses to the lack of business ethics, and the dollar sign usually wins ("Ethics", 2010).
Personal ethics is a category that determines what an individual believes what is right and wrong. Some philosophers suggest that personal ethics are learned from families, friends, teachers, and mentors. Others argue that personal ethics are not inherent at all and that children learn right from wrong solely from social conditioning. Some ethics may also be adopted from someone’s own personal experiences (White, USAFR, 1996).
Human Resources, the staff that makes up the organization are any business’s most important and expensive investment. Business ethics officers are usually in charge of managing business ethics, regularly report that the majority of calls from employees involve human issues (Trevino & Nelson, 2007)
The term human resource issues describe the ethical problems that occur when individuals work together. This includes privacy, discrimination, sexual, and other types of harassment, hiring and firing, performance evaluation, or simply how employees get along (Trevino & Nelson, 2007).
Discrimination occurs whenever something affects how an employee is treated other than qualifications. Racial, ethnic, religious, or sexual stereotypes can weave into the behavior of the most cultured individuals. It can be a subtle or not so subtle in hiring, promotions, layoff decisions, and working relationships. Some businesses create job requirements that eliminate certain perspective employees because of personal circumstances, not because of the qualifications (Trevino & Nelson, 2007).
Discrimination is an ethical problem beyond any legal protections because it is at the core of fairness in the workplace. Individuals expect fairness from businesses in general, but especially from employers (Trevino & Nelson, 2007).
Another common ethical problem is harassment, sexual or otherwise. The line between offensive and friendly is blurry. Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexually oriented behavior that makes an individual experience distress and uneasiness. An employee of higher status usually exhibits this behavior towards an employee of lower status. Most instances of sexual harassment have everything to do...