Business Ethics

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Businesses have power through their ability to spend vast amounts of money. They have the ability to enhance or change situations that the common individual does not. As organizations affect many people, they have obligations to their employees, consumers, community and the world. They have a responsibility to conduct business in a way that is not harmful and which positively benefits as many people as possible and themselves. Although this sounds simple, it is "easier said than done!" as there will always be a conflict of interest between various groups of people. Any decisions made by businesses need to be made with an informed awareness of the specific situation and then act according to some sort of system of principals which is Business Ethics. What is Business Ethics? Business ethics is exactly the same as normal ethics, and that is knowing what is right or wrong, and learning what is right and what is wrong in a business environment. Then doing the right thing, but "the right thing" is not as straightforward as explained in many business ethics books. Most ethical dilemmas in the workplace are not simply a matter of "Should she steal from him?" or "Should he lie to his boss?" Businesses cannot function without ethics, why? Society dictates a set of rules and conformities and seeing as all businesses strive after common goals it means that these goals can only be achieved on the basis of standards, values and morals in society. It can be assumed that business life has to be called 'moral' as well. As in society, standards and values are spontaneously formed once people come that's when morals come into effect, and when businesses decide on implicit or explicit ways to achieve certain goals and then are agreed on. Businesses in general are working on the basis of an ethics that settles different interests. The standards and values within companies can be characterized as mutual respect. In this respect it is in everyone's interest, and is considering people as an end in themselves, not as a means, reciprocity and fairness. This ethics is passed down and filtered to a group of stakeholders who have an interest in the company. These parties usually are: personnel, customers, suppliers, subcontractors, shareholders, society and those who speak on behalf of the environment and future generations. Many ethicists say there's always a right thing to do based on moral principle, and others believe the right thing to do depends on the situation, ultimately it's up to the individual on what they do and on what they believe to be the "right" thing is.
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