Ethical and Moral Issues in Business LaTonya Beeler September 13, 2010 MGT 216 Ray Crum Ethics and morals are essential to the success of a business. The two are synonymous with one another. According to DeGeorge, “ethics is a systematic attempt to make sense of our individual and social moral experience… to determine the rules that ought to govern human conduct, the values worth pursuing, and the character traits deserving development in life (DeGeorge, 2010, pg. 13). ” Consumers rely on business to make moral and ethical decision regarding all business transactions.
If the consumer does not believe that a business is moral or ethical he or she will not patronize the business, which in turn causes the business to lose money causing adverse effects on the economy. This essay will ascertain the differences between ethical and moral issues, the difference between personal and business ethics as well as provide examples of common ethical problems in business for each of the aforementioned ethics. Ethics and morals are words that people use interchangeably in regards to conduct and how people interact with society.
However, some differences exist between the two in business. Ethics are a set of rules or codified system implemented by a company that explains how one should act on-the-job whereas morals are set in stone and is principles by which an entire society is supposed to live by. One can distinguish between ethics and morals by understanding that ethics is the action or conduct of what an individual deems right or wrong, therefore morals are the basis to which ethics stand on.
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For instance, if two big businesses were in competition with one another for the same customers one of the companies may choose to bribe an employee of the other company for internal information to use against the other company to gain a competitive advantage. Bribery is a common ethical problem that occurs in business. Personal ethics can refer to an individual’s life outside of work whereas business ethics pertain to the moral aspects of business to consumer interaction or business to business interaction. The foundation of personal and business ethics are equivalent.
What differentiates the two are how they are enacted. For example, there are retail stores that require their employees to promote the sale of store credit cards. The customers may not be knowledgeable of the rules in the fine print; however the customer service associate is well aware but cannot disclose certain information because he or she has to comply with code of ethics of the company. This directly conflicts with the personal ethics of the employee and the business ethics to which he or she has to comply with.
The aforementioned example is a common ethical problem seen in the retail business. Ethics and morals are essential in the success of a business because they determine whether or not a customer will continue to patronize the business or take his or her money to another business. A company is only as successful as the people who work there. The employee in a business goes to work and employs his or her personal ethics in conjunction with the code of ethics implemented in the place he or she works. Differences are apparent in morals and ethics.
The difference is ethics are a codified system in a business to which employees have to adhere to and morals are the basis to which one determines right from wrong. Just as there are differences in ethic and morals, there are differences between personal and business ethics. The difference is how personal and business ethics are enacted. Businesses can prevent scandals within the company by ensuring that all employees including management adhere to the business code of ethics.
Reference DeGeorge, R. T. (2010). Business ethics (7th ed. ). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
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