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Business And The Notion Of Ethics

1214 words - 5 pages

the notion of ethics has been around for generations, it has been seen in religion and philosophy. Although it has only been in the last few decades that the business world has adopted this principle of doing the right thing, not just doing what will lead to most profits. The concept of ethics encompasses a ‘systematic’ process of considering the ‘moral consequences’ of ones actions, as stated by (text book). However there isn’t a succinct agreement about what business ethics is. Lewis P (1985) believes this is mainly due to the fact that the ethics of a business will only be as ethical as those who are a part of it. Research done prior to 1985 also found that profit is not the sole motive ...view middle of the document...

Though most organisations have assumed documents, it is up to the individual organisation and its stakeholders to uphold these values. Some organisations such as, ANZ bank, as stated in their code of conduct and ethics, to strive for ‘outstanding performance’ however without compromising on organisational principles such as trust and honesty. The document also pledges values such as respect, confidentiality, safety, responsibility and integrity. The values of an organisation aren’t only helpful in maintaining the corporate culture of the firm but often, certain values and beliefs can attract customers to do business with one firm over another. This is due to their values and ethical practices. When it is seen that these practices are breached, depending on the size and public face of the organisation, it can cause media outcry, leading to loss of customers or public support. Conversely when an organisation is seen to be acting in an ethical and socially responsible manner, beyond the minimum, this can cause good publicity and attract further customers, for example creating new green infrastructure, this stimulates the economy as it provides many opportunities for labourers.

In the long run the key business objective of most organisations is profit making. How profit is made, and where savings are made, can sometimes clash with ethical practices. For example child labour in third world countries is often used to produce goods at a cheaper cost to the organisations; however this is unethical as conditions are often poor and dangerous, and it takes jobs offshore. ANZ bank has recently been caught up in said clash. ANZ has been found to be financing a Cambodian sugar plantation that uses child labour. Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie (2014) writing for the Sunday morning herald found that ANZ has been backing this project in Cambodia since 2010, however it wasn’t just the use of child labour that was shocking. Many of the families who were relocated from the plantation site are now facing starvation as there now isn’t ‘adequate food supplies’ as the areas where relocation took place are not suitable for growing or plantation. It was also found that the conditions of the sugar plantation were in breach of many of ANZ’s own stated ethical claims, as specified in their own code of conduct & ethics, page 8, respecting the rights of ‘all individuals’ to be able to work in a ‘safe’ space that encourages ‘wellbeing.’ The code of ethics and conduct also stated that ANZ standards often ‘exceed’ those required by law; however it is evident that this isn’t the case in third world countries. After more and more...

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