What Is It?
Business ethics is a form of doing business whose primary goal is to obtain public approval. The form consisting of a set of policies that, when followed, leads to a chance for fair trade, equal market chances, and long-term development.
Some of the policies are self-imposed; some of them are law regulated (working hours). Most of them still inhabit the grey area of doing business.
To a large number of traders and managers, it’s a fabrication designed to make them miserable. To others, mostly something you only talk about.
However, it feels like business ethics is gradually overwhelming the free market economy. It leaves little or no space for discrimination, bribery, or insider trading, as well as other unethical business practices.
Does Anyone Care?
You cannot care about something you don’t know. However, the growing number of corporations and movements are undertaking huge steps in raising awareness about right and wrong in business.
It is less and less challenging to find a business ethics course, a research center, or a textbook dealing with the subject. The study is elaborate and the implementation faster than we can imagine.
If your company promotes long-term investments, sustainable supply networks, gender equality, and is firmly against child labor, let everybody know about it. Web design Houston programmers will undoubtedly know how to integrate it on your company’s website.
Different Theories of Business Ethics
To most people, this phrase sounds new. However, it was as far back as in Aristotle’s time that fair trade was dwelt upon. Through time, different theories of ethics emerged.
Consequentialism judges the morality of the action from the standpoint of the action. In business, this could easily mean that if you made money, it doesn’t matter if you worked a few people to death in the process.
Consequentialism branches further into utilitarianism. Utilitarianism says it’s ok, as long as most of the people are satisfied. Where does this leave the marginal groups?
Welfarism is an interesting one. Its goal is economic prosperity and wellbeing – lots of free space for unethical decisions on the way.
Deontology could be a bit more helpful. In deontology, it is the process that counts, not the outcome – a set of rules that guarantees ethical behavior must be followed. The inevitable question is: who sets those rules? Not to mention the fact that in business, you cannot disregard the outcome.
Virtue ethics focuses on the virtues one manifests in the process. The process of gaining and developing virtues is also considered essential. This theory seems like the most logical one. However, we must not forget that different cultures have different ideas of virtues. They also change through time. What was virtuous in the 4th century, might well be considered outrageous today.
Therefore, philosophy is beneficial, making us aware of all the aspects we need to keep in mind. It, however, does not give a straight answer and rules upon which to act. It is only clear that filling your pockets with money was never good enough.
Naturally, with many countries accepting the free market economy, the concept evolved and expanded. The anti-corporate activism of the ’60 and ’70 in the USA shed new light upon it. Nowadays, being ethical is to a point law obliging.
Let’s try going the other way around and see what not to do. Restraining yourself from being an unethical decision-maker might do the trick. Keep track of where the study of ethics is going at a given moment in time. Use common sense. Keep all the aspects you read about in mind and develop your ethical business approach.
We have all heard that tip which says that even when you are very sad, you should put on a smile, no matter how artificial and unsincere it looked. Eventually, it will catch on and become sincere, thus improving the way we feel and the state we are in. The result could be satisfying and far-reaching.
If you feel like you don’t have the ethical value system built in you, try and create one. Practice being a considerate, altruistic, nature-loving, open-minded manager by reading textbooks. Eventually, you will experience all the benefits of being one: your team will follow with much mutual respect. The result will be better productivity. You will gain public approval and acknowledgment.
It is a fact that business ethics matters more now than ever before. Fortunately for all of us, it seems it is not going to change any time soon. If you plan to stay competitive, dedicate some time and energy to promote and practice ethical behavior.
Liam Collins is a tech pundit and Web enthusiast working at TuiSpace.com. He spends most of his time reading and writing about the current affairs in the world of information technology. When he isn’t working, he likes going for long bike rides and walks in nature.