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Can Business Ethics Exist? Essay

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Niall Fitzgerald, stated, “Corporate social responsibility is a hard-edged business decision. Not because it is a nice thing to do or because people are forcing us to do it... because it is good for our business.” (as cited in Elliot, 2003, para. 14) What is social responsibility? Peter F. Drucker (1981) suggests it is today’s business ethics as defined by society’s ever-changing values, values based on people functioning as a group. Milton Friedman’s (1970) view of social responsibilities is one of individual ethics. Both Drucker and Friedman interchangeably use these terms; ethics and social responsibility, in their case views on the subject. Business ethics and social responsibility are like fraternal twins, born from a womb of moral imperatives and as such, share a base genetic foot-stamp in scope and ideology. In the case views as presented by Peter F. Drucker and Milton Friedman, what ethics and social responsibility is varies between an individual and business view.
Friedman (1970) is very clear on the line between individual ethics and business. An individual acts in his own right based upon his personal morality code. He takes on responsibilities unique to him in a singular fashion such as marriage. A business, however, is a collective of reasoning from group thought defined by social convention. It is soulless as societal pressures dictate the ethical code. Individual responsibilities however, are self-assign because he adopts his own code of ethics and consequences. When the individual is working as an executive, he is required to balance the needs of the stockholders and the owners of the business all the while producing profit. His individual ethical leanings, either consensual or conflicted, are su...


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Elliot, L. (2003, July 4). Cleaning agentInterview Niall FitzGerald co-chairman and chief executive Unilever. theguardian. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2003/jul/05/unilever1?INTCMP=SRCH
Friedman, M. (1970, September 13). The Social Responsibility Of Business is to increase its profits. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F10F11FB3E5810718EDDAA0994D1405B808BF1D3&scp=2&sq=The%20Social%20Responsibility%20of%20Business%20is%20to%20Increase%20its%20Profits&st=cse
Josephson Institute Quotations Bank. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://josephsoninstitute.org/quotes/quotations.php?q=Education
Mackey, J. (2005, October). Rethinking the social responsibility of business. reason.com. Retrieved from http://reason.com/archives/2005/10/01/rethinking-the-social-responsi/3


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