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Law and ethics are not the same thing. Both exist to influence behavior, but complying with the law is mandatory, while adhering to an ethical code is voluntary. Laws define what is permissible, while ethics speak to what is right, good, and just. Lawyers and judges are responsible for clarifying the meaning of a law when there is ambiguity or when a matter is subject to interpretation.

Where ethics are concerned, that responsibility lies with each individual. In organizations, employees can look to the code of ethics or the statement of values for guidance about how to handle ethical gray areas. Even when an individual has a clear sense of right and wrong, or good and bad, it can be difficult to know what is ethical in a given situation. One analyzes ethical issues by asking questions such as: What could happen? How likely is it happen? What might the harm be? Who might be hurt?

The answers are not always clear cut. Individual judgments can be influenced, even clouded, by a number of factors.

In addition, there are times when people believe that the ends justify the means. In other words, if the result of an action is good, then it is okay if the action itself is unethical. There is a saying that a good person is one who does good deeds when no one is looking.

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Scotland wants to create an ethical stock exchange | World Economic Forum

The same goes with ethical decisions. People who are ethical follow their beliefs even when they believe no one will find out about what they have done. They had the opportunity to be ethical but chose not to be. How will employees working in that country handle that situation, especially if something that could be considered unethical in one place is actually thought to be important to business success in the other?

For instance, in some cultures it is customary for business partners and customers to be invited to weddings, with the expectation that guests will give a cash gift to the bride and groom. Adhering to ethical standards in such instances can be difficult.

Ecological economics

This way to ethics : Ethical decisions are not always clear-cut. American companies are often criticized for the treatment of workers who produce their products in China. However, rules concerning the rights of workers are much more relaxed in China than in the United States. Does an American company have the right to order factory owners in China to change their way of doing business?

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Skip to main content. Ethics in Business. Search for:. Key Takeaways Key Points Ethical behavior is based on written and unwritten codes of principles and values held in society.

Ethical principles and values serve as a guide to behavior on a personal level, within professions, and at the organizational level. Key Terms behavior : The way a living creature acts.

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Example The concept of corporate social responsibility emphasizes ethical behavior in that it requires organizations to understand, identify, and eliminate unethical economic, environmental, and social behaviors. Ethics Training Moral reasoning is the process in which an individual tries to determine what is right and what is wrong. Learning Objectives Explain the role of ethical moral reasoning in the business environment. Key Takeaways Key Points There are four components of moral behavior: moral sensitivity, moral judgment, moral motivation, and moral character. To make moral assessments, one must first know what an action is intended to accomplish and what its possible consequences will be on others.

Studies have uncovered four skill sets that play a decisive role in the exercise of moral expertise: moral imagination, moral creativity, reasonableness, and perseverance. Key Terms goodwill : The ability of an individual or business to exert influence within a community, club, market, or another type of group, without having to resort to the use of an asset such as money or property.

Ethics, an Overview

Culture and Ethics Culture reflects the moral values and ethical norms governing how people should behave and interact with others. Learning Objectives Explain the role of culture in shaping moral and ethical behavior. Key Takeaways Key Points Culture refers to the outlook, attitudes, values, goals, and practices shared by a group, organization, or society.

Interpretation of what is moral is influenced by cultural norms, and different cultures can have different beliefs about what is right and wrong. According to the theory of cultural relativism, there is no singular truth on which to base ethical or moral behavior, as our interpretations of truths are influenced by our own culture. Example The French and Americans have different views on whistle-blowing.

Learning Objectives Explain the role of personal values in influencing behavior in organizations. Key Takeaways Key Points Personal values provide an internal reference for what is good, beneficial, important, useful, beautiful, desirable, and constructive. Key Terms value : A standard by which an individual determines what is good or desirable; a measure of relative worth or importance.

Example If you value equal rights for all and you go to work for an organization that treats its managers much better than it does its workers, you may form the attitude that the company is an unfair place to work; consequently, you may not produce well or may even leave the company. Key Takeaways Key Points Identifying the ethical choice can be difficult, since many situations are ambiguous and facts are subject to interpretation. Key Terms business ethics : The branch of ethics that examines questions of moral right and wrong arising in the context of business practice or theory.

Example American companies are often criticized for the treatment of workers who produce their products in China. Licenses and Attributions. CC licensed content, Shared previously.


The papers were selected based on their contribution to the community of economic geographers and policymakers and to demonstrate the inherent interconnectedness of these themes. Country of Publication: NL Dimensions cm : Help Centre.

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