A Practical Guide To Evaluating Professional Business Ethics

3435 words - 14 pages

Business has created wealth that has given numerous individuals financial freedom, yet at the same time, it has widened the gap between the rich and the poor. The philosophy of business considers the primary principles that underlie the operations of an enterprise. Developing a balanced business ethic between profit-taking and honesty is perhaps one of the most difficult tasks for a corporation. In the wake of post-communism, we are now living in triumphant times of global capitalism; but the inevitability of corporate greed and deception in this system can create devastating results like Enron, WorldCom and Arthur Anderson.8 These corporations failed because of the people that work there; a series of deceptive operational decisions left these billion-dollar corporations and their millions of investors in demise. And there are many other examples of smaller companies undergoing "corporate restructuring" in an effort to save themselves. What business ethics involves is the plundering of natural resources, exploitation of labor in lesser-developed nations, unfair competition, impacts on the environment, treatment of employees and social responsibility.1 Business managers must keep all of these points in mind when making decisions on behalf of their organizations. This paper will look at the different factors a manager ought to look at when making informed decisions, with consideration of the stakeholders - the manager him/herself, the corporation and greater society. Through the use of the role-differentiated model, the utilitarian model and the professional contract model, I contend that a business manager has moral right but not the moral obligation to act up to the limits of law in any situation; in other words, the manager will be considered amoral only if he/she has broken the law.First we must understand that all business is anchored in the subjective viewpoints of the manager, of the corporation and of society. Each of these distinct and interconnected entities hold their own beliefs on what businesses ought and ought not to do, and these beliefs often conflict with one another. What we need is a practical method of resolving morality in business dilemmas, and I feel the best way to do it is by reducing business ethics to the law. Legal reduction gives us a more practical way of resolving black and white issues, whereby the grey area is significantly reduced in size. The law gives managers a clear view of the limits of a corporate decision.An opponent of this view might step in and argue that many business situations cannot be resolved to law. For example, if a business is giving customer ABC a favorable discount but not to customer XYZ, although not legally wrong some opponents would suggest that this is ethically wrong because all customers ought to be treated equally. However, we must recognize that this is part of regular business deals. Capitalism and wealth is created by imbalances of assets between countries, businesses and peoples....

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