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 Wikipedia.org, 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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