Business Ethics and Ethical Decision Making

Business ethics involves choices and judgments about acceptable standards and principles of conduct that guide behavior of individuals and groups. Basic standards of business ethics are codified as laws and regulations to encourage organizations to conform to society’s expectations of business conduct. Business ethics requires individuals and organizations to accept responsibility for their actions.

In any organization, people are bound to have conflicts. These conflicts form the foundation of business ethics. Ethical conflicts arise due to the different values embraced by people or groups in an organization. A legal system is at times used to resolve these ethical conflicts. Values learnt through different socializations other than the work related ones, might not provide adequate guidelines for big decision making.

Ethical issues in business refer to problems that require an individual or an organization to make a choice among a number of actions. These actions must be evaluated as ethical or unethical, right or wrong. Common ethical issues in organizations include discrimination, fraud, abusive behavior and conflict of interest. An ethical issue does not necessarily have to be unethical. Some ethical issues require thought and investigation, thus not necessarily cases of unethical behavior

Ethical decision making process is influenced by opportunity, organizational relationship and individual factors. In individual factors, the individual makes ethical choices based on his/ her beliefs as to what is right or wrong.

Individuals base their ethical decisions on moral philosophies. These philosophies are classified as egoism, utilitarianism, consequentialism, ethical formalism and justice theory. Organizational relationship influences this process due to the fact that some decisions require the involvement of committees.

Business ethics and ethical decision making

Companies should follow prevailing standards and principles of business and society. These standards and principles form the nature of ethics in business. Companies have a duty to adhere to these standards to ensure shareholder satisfaction.

Business ethics refers to the decisions and judgments about acceptable standards and principles of conduct that guide behavior of individuals and groups. Business ethics requires individuals and organizations to take responsibility for their actions. Basic standards of business ethics are codified as laws and regulations. These laws and regulations form the legal nature of business ethics.

The foundation of business ethics cannot be entirely based on the organizations internal conflict resolution systems. Ethics issues have for a long period proved to be almost inseparable from legal issues. It is for this reason that ethical disputes have ended up in court. Business ethics cannot rely entirely on personal views since these vary from one person to another. Business ethics should relate to work environment.

Ethical issues are situations that engage an individual or an organization to make a choice among several actions. Common ethical issues in organizations include fraud, discrimination, abusive behavior and conflict of interest. An ethical issue does not necessarily have to be unethical. Some ethical issues require thought and examination to determine they are unethical.

Several factors influence ethical decision making process. These include; opportunity, organizational relationship and individual factors. Decision making process involves integrating these factors to come up with the correct ethical decisions. Individual factors, such as moral philosophies are the building blocks for organizational relationships. Opportunity influences the ethical decision making process in that it provides rewards as well as barriers. Failure to lay down procedures that deal with misconduct would give opportunity to unethical behavior.

References

Debbie Thorne McAlister, O. F. (2007). Business and Society: A Strategic Approach to Social Responsibility. Boston: South-Western College Publishing.