Business Ethics Concepts & Cases
Manuel G. Velasquez
Summary of the main points of the first two chapters in the book. The remaining chapters are application of the concepts summarized as relating to political forms of government and market systems. These further chapters are less relevant to the DBA class that this summary was prepared for.
Chapter 1 – Ethics & Business
Ethics is the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group. It is the study of morality.
Morality are the standards that an individual or group has about what is right and wrong, or good and evil.
Moral norms can usually be expressed as general rules or statements, such ...view middle of the document...
The ultimate aim of ethics is to develop a body of moral standards that we feel are reasonable to hold – standards that we have thought about carefully and have decided are justified standards for us to accept and apply to the choices that fill our lives.
Although ethics is a normative study of ethics, the social sciences engage in a descriptive study of ethics. A normative study aims to discover what should be. A descriptive study attempts to describe or explain the world without reaching any conclusions about whether the world is as it should be.
1.1 The Nature of Business Ethics
Business ethics concentrates on the moral standards as they apply to business policies, institutions, and behavior. Business ethics, in other words, is a form of applied ethics. It includes not only the analysis of moral norms and moral values, but also attempts to apply the conclusions of this analysis to that assortment of institutions, technologies, transactions, activities, and pursuits that we call business.
Business ethics investigates three different kinds of issues: systemic, corporate, and individual. Systemic issues in business ethics are ethical questions raised about the economic, political, legal, and other social systems within which businesses operate. Corporate issues in business ethics are ethical questions raised about a particular company. Individual issues in business ethics are ethical questions raised about a particular individual or particular individuals within a company.
Because corporate acts originate in the choices and actions of human individuals, it is these individuals who must be seen as the primary bearers of moral duties and moral responsibility. Nonetheless, it makes perfectly good sense to say that a corporate organization has moral duties and that it is morally responsible for its acts.
The fact that multinationals operate in more than one country produces ethical dilemmas for their managers that managers of firms limited to a single country do not face.
• The ability to shift its operations between countries enables the multinational to escape the social controls that a single nation might attempt to impose on the multinational and can allow the multinational to play one country against another.
• It can sometimes transfer raw materials, goods and capital among its plants in different countries at terms that enable it to escape taxes and fiscal obligations that companies limited to a single nation must bear.
• They often have the opportunity to transfer a new technology or set of products from a more developed country into nations that are less developed.
• It is often faced with the quandary of deciding which of these different norms and standards to implement in its many operations.
Ethical relativism is the view that there are no ethical standards that are absolutely true and that apply or should be applied to the companies and people of all societies. Thus, the theory of ethical relativism...