Ethical Issues in Contemporary Business

Posted on 24. Jan, 2009 by in Business ethics

Andrew asked:

Business ethics is crucial to overall society well being and corporate organizations, if to view the issue from the business standpoint. Public confidence is ethical business operation is only yet to recover, as of February 2004, 75 percent of Americans found the image of big corporations either “not good” or even “terrible”. The crucial step when it comes to business ethics – is to admit existence of a problem that is essentially based in the difference in the corporate values of different stakeholder groups. While society wants to receive well paid jobs, the focus of many organizations remains on cost minimization and maximization of productivity levels. While society wants to purchase goods at the lowest prices possible, businesses are normally profit seeking entities. Finally, it is crucial for society to sustain environmentally clean surroundings, whereas for business – this goal is followed by additional costs. These conflicts are fundamental to the nature of business, it is crucial for managers to find the balance between different stakeholder groups including workers, customers, company owners, and the larger community.

Rapid technologic and scientific innovation followed by globalization makes the need to balance between stakeholders needs even more difficult. Ethical standards and practices often are not even able to keep with scientific innovation such as cloning. When it comes to business practices issues arise with U.S. job outsourcing to Third World community, valuation of intangible assets in the new technological era (Mayer, 2004). Despite the rising difficulties, it is crucial for managers to find the balance – otherwise a company might cease to exist unable to compete in the market place.

The role of business ethics in contemporary marketplace should be mainly discussed from the pragmatic approach. In order for business to exist, there must be a community of potential buyers and sellers, whereas this community and overall public morality are the two indivisible and integrated parts. Obviously, in order to preserve business, organizations must sustain a certain level of morality in order to successfully function and remain competitive. As business are interested in the first place in profitability of an enterprise, they are, therefore, interested in maintenance of a positive corporate image. Consequently, businesses are interested in ethical practices.

Consequently, marketplace is realizing undervaluation and investors are less likely to put own money to generate profits. The effect on economy overall is direct – while series of scandals created a boom in the stock market, now economy is developing at a lower rates, as the cost of funds to be used in business is raising. As such, the relationship between ethical malpractice and economic stagnation is direct – ethical scandals undermine public trust, whereas business, investors, and society overall are the ones to bare the costs of unethical practices of individuals. Consequently, the role of ethical behavior in contemporary marketplace from the value created for society can hardly be overestimated

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