Business Ethics and Social Responsibility

Business Ethics and Social Responsibility

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What is Ethics?

 As provided by “Business Management: A Contemporary Compilation” by (Nieuwenhuizen, Drotskie & Oosthuizen 2014), ethics can be defined as moral principles that govern or influence a person’s behaviour.

 As provided by “Business Management: A Contemporary Compilation” by (Nieuwenhuizen et al.2014), business ethics can be defined as written or unwritten codes of principles or values that govern decisions and actions within an organisation.

 According to, ethics are defined as moral principles that govern a person's behaviour or the conducting of an activity.

 Therefore from this, we can deduce that ethics play an important role in the workplace as these principles determine the manner in which tasks are conducted by individuals, the moral standing of an individual and how these things affect the way in which an entity will operate.

Types of ethics, namely 3 :

 Descriptive ethics: This a description of people’s behaviour and/or the moral standards they claim to follow.
 Normative ethics: Creating or evaluating moral standards. It is therefore an attempt to figure out what people should do or whether current moral behaviour is reasonable. (Nieuwenhuizen et al.2014)
 Analytical ethics: The study of assumptions people make under normative ethics. (Nieuwenhuizen et al.2014)

The main characteristics of a business’s ethics are:
 Ethical decisions will differ with each person as different people will perceive ethical issues differently.

 Ethical decisions are not limited to individuals, affecting a wide range of situations

 Most ethical issues involve a trade-off between cost a business will incur and benefits it will receive

 The results of most ethical/unethical decisions are usually not clear

 It is noted that ethical decisions are involuntary human actions

What is our ethics/the ethics of an organisation based on?

 Generic Inheritance: Individuals are passed down traditions as they grow older, therefore making an individual’s background a great influence on their ethical behaviour

 Religion: What a person believes in has an impact on his/her ethical behaviour

 Philosophical systems: The way people perceive things, life and it’s purpose is the core of their philosophical system and whichever system one is exposed to influences one’s ethical behaviour

 Cultural experience: The experience a person has when dealing with a different culture in society influences their norms and ethics.

 The legal system: laws are the embodiement of a society’s ethical standards and therefore, the types of laws people are exposed to influences their norms and ethics as individuals

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Ethics, Values and Norms/Etiek, waardes en norme

 With ethics, come values and norms. These three things are often interdependent
 Values can be defined as the context within which an organisation/sociiety’s norms are established and justified
 As defined on, values are important and lasting beliefs or ideals shared by the members of a culture about what is good or bad and desirable or undesirable.
 Norms can be defined as the social rules that govern people’s actions towards one another
 Norms can be seen as guidelines as to what is considered, in society, to be normal or morally correct. This is the general belief as to how an individual should conduct themselves.

What is the relevance of ethics in a business/ an organisation:

 Good ethical behaviour betters an organisation in various ways, such as : - Making the business more attractive as it is seen as trustworthy
- Making the business’s product/service more attractive as consumers are more likely to want to engage with the organisation
- Attracting investors, as commendable behaviour and the sustaining of a profitable organisation is assurance that investement in the business is a worthy cause
 It is important that ethics in a business are kept in order for the business not to fall easily into disreputation
 According to , “Highprofile misconduct cases often involve companies which have an ethics policy or code in place. Recent research also suggests that many staff are unaware of these policies” ; therefore it is important that employees of an organisation are well aware of the structures, ethics policies and regulations in place

 What is leadership ?

 As defined by, Leadership is “an act or instance of leading; guidance; direction”

 Leadership and it’s role a business/an organisation:

 In a business/organisation, good leadership is essential in the running of an ethically based and profitable business

 Good leadership ensures that there is no stagnance in production, that tasks are completed in due time and that a high standard of discipline is maintained such that the business is not disreputed in its operation

 A leader will influence the behaviour of the individuals they either employ or oversee, in turn , affecting the way in which the busines operates and how much succcess can be achieved

 Ethics work hand in hand with good leadership, ensuring that whomever fills a leadership position is integral, unbiased and professional in their decision-making

 As a leader, characteristics such as being motivational, being a visionary and optimism are important
- A leader must assume the risk/failure factors in the operations carried out
- Good leadership involves giving credit where it is due and awarding good work/ work that helps improve the business or the demand for the product on sale or service being offered

- Leadership is not merely a formal position or a particular set of ways a leader is expected to behave , but the ability of a person or persons in authority to steer the business on a clearly positive path, with the growth of the business, having growth of each and every individual creating a part of that business

 With problems encountered, strategies that will work towards solutions will be necessary – this is where leaders within the organisation will come in, in order to collectively “guide” a business out of adversity

 Does leadership affect the success of a business?

 The answer to the above is yes. A team or department in an organisation/business that is lead effectively is likely to be more productive than teams/deprtments with behaviour contrary to their own. Being well lead does not only provide more solutions to problems encountered but makes it easier to prevent any mishaps from occuring

 As discussed on by Sudhakar I.Prabu on his blog, the difference effective leaders create and Sudhakar states that: “At the heart of every successful business/organization are dynamic leaders who inspire, direct, enable, and empower individuals to do more with less and achieve business/organization objectives.”

Nieuwenhuizen, C. ,Drotskie, A. & Oosthuizen, T.F.J., 2014, Business Management: A Contemporary Compilation, Roodeport, Gauteng

Beer, A. , Business Management – A Contemporary Approach: supplement for IMM Students written by Andreas , S.A

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