August 23rd, 2011 by Hasham
Business Moral Issues
Activities that promote ethical business may include certain community service projects. A community that respects, admires and trusts a corporation or business is that business’ greatest asset. Donations of time and money cannot create a perception of a company’s business ethics, but they can further the fine reputation of a company that already practices ethical business behavior. Some corporations organize a league of community softball teams. Others work with charity groups to organize food drives at the local food bank, sponsor a group in the Special Olympics or encourage employees to volunteer their time preparing holiday dinners for disadvantaged people.
Ethical business practices, in essence, involve doing the right thing in the normal course of business. Companies with a good track record of aboveboard dealings and great customer responsiveness develop a good reputation, leading to long-term stability and a loyal customer base. In today’s Internet era, ethical business practices are critical as Web-savvy consumers learn to seek out positive and negative information on businesses, shopping at the ethical ones and shunning the bad.
In the U.S., a wide array of regulations and laws are in place to protect employees, consumers and communities. Ethical business practices require diligent safety measures and environmentally sound procedures, whether local regulations require them or not.
Ethical businesses do not lie. Advertising should always reflect reality. While it’s okay to promote loss-leaders, customer-driving special bargains that generate a net loss for a business, it’s not okay to run bait-and-switch campaigns where an advertised quality product is swapped out for a lower-quality one when the store “runs out.” Warranties and guarantees should always be up-front, in writing and honored in a timely fashion.
Customer service is the public face of your business. Personnel must be well-trained and able to respond appropriately to customer issues. Ideally, they should be empowered to address low-level problems by themselves, without supervisor escalation. When your customer service properly reflects and displays ethical business practices, your business reputation always improves.When the officers of a company determine which employees to hire or what vendors to use, one of the primary concerns is trust. Companies dealing with the economy have come to terms with the concept that paying more to a company or individual with a reputation for fulfilling their promises often costs less than selecting the lowest bidder. To make this selection, the values, ethics and morals of a vendor, employee or customer often come under scrutiny.
The values of a company or individual are the core things that drive and motivate effort. A good restaurant values cleanliness, quality of food and good customer service. A data entry clerk values speed and accuracy of data entry. In business terms, values are what drive a person or company to perform.Ethics are the codified standards of behavior of a given industry or social setting. Lawyers are expected to maintain confidentiality. Doctors are expected to remain emotionally separate from those in their care. Ethics are always recorded in some form and often the subject of academic study. They are the codified promises a company or individual make concerning quality, cost and time frame related to delivery of goods and services.
Morals are a definition of what actions are right, just and fair. Morality is based less on the fulfillment of promises, and more on conforming to wide social beliefs. Morals are not always written but usually understood by most members of a society, including those who choose to act against the common morality.
To act ethically is to fulfill the promises one has made. To act morally is to live within the standard of good and evil defined by society. A given action can be moral, ethical, both or neither. A criminal who promises to deliver immoral services is ethical if he fulfills his promise. A lawyer who divulges information proving his client is guilty of a terrible crime may be acting morally, but he is breaking the ethics of his profession.
This course is an interdisciplinary examination of the moral and ethical issues arising from contemporary business practices and economic systems from the perspective of a variety of religious, philosophical, and political traditions. Each class meeting will feature discussion of classic and/or contemporary texts in religion, philosophy, and related disciplines along with application of ideas and principles from those traditions to case studies in business and economics. Readings will acquaint the students with a variety of course is an interdisciplinary examination relevant for both individual and corporate ethics in businesses, communities, and the global economy. Case studies will apply the insights of these traditions to questions of business conduct, obligations to stakeholders, employer-employee relations, workplace diversity, pollution and the environment, and the role of multinational corporations in the global economy. The student will gain broad knowledge of a variety of ethical approaches to wealth, business, and the economy; cultivate critical skills in written and oral ethical argumentation and analysis; and learn to apply complex moral concepts to concrete cases.
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