Believe it or not, the ethics and social responsibility you need to apply in your business, it’s in the best interest of a company to operate ethically. Trustworthy companies are better at attracting and keeping customers, talented employees, and capital. Those tainted by questionable ethics and responsibility suffer from dwindling customer bases, employee turnover, and investor mistrust. Let’s begin this section by addressing one of the questions that we posed previously to apply in your business:
What can individuals, organizations, and government agencies do to foster an environment of ethical and socially responsible behavior in business? We need to define the two terms: business ethics and social responsibility. They are often used interchangeably, but they don’t mean the same thing. the ethics and social responsibility you need to apply in your business to start booming
What is ethics?
You probably already know what it means to be ethical: to know right from wrong and to know when you’re practicing one instead of the other. At the risk of oversimplifying, then, we can say that business ethics is the application of ethical behavior in a business context. Acting ethically in business means more than merely obeying applicable laws and regulations:
It also means being honest, doing no harm to others, competing fairly, and declining to put your interests above those of the company, its owners, and its workers. If you’re in business, you need a strong sense of what’s right and what’s wrong. You need a personal conviction to do what’s right, even if it means doing something difficult or personally disadvantageous.
What is social responsibility?
Corporate social responsibility deals with actions that affect a variety of parties in a company’s environment. A socially responsible company shows concern for its stakeholders like owners, employees, customers, and the communities in which it does business has a stake or interest in it.
How can you recognize an ethical organization?
One goal of anyone engaged in business should be to foster ethical behavior in the organizational environment. How do we know when an organization is behaving ethically? Most lists of ethical corporate activities include the following criteria:
- Treating employees, customers, investors, and the public fairly
- Making fairness a top priority
- Holding every member personally accountable for his or her action
- Communicating core values and principles to all members.
- Demanding and rewarding integrity from all members
Whether you work for a business or a nonprofit organization, you probably have a sense of whether your employer is ethical or unethical. Employees at companies that consistently make business ethics magazine’s list of the “100 best corporate citizens” regard the items on the above list as business as usual in the workplace.
Companies that regularly win goo,d-citizenship awards include Procter & Gamble, Intel, Avon Products, Herman Miller, Timberland, Cisco Systems, Southwest Airlines, At & T, Starbucks Coffee, Merck, And Medtronic.
By contrast, employees with the following attitudes tend to suspect that their employers aren’t as ethical as they should be:
- They consistently feel uneasy about the work they do.
- They object to the way they’re treated.
- They’re uncomfortable about the way coworkers are treated.
- They question the appropriateness of management directives and policies.
Why study ethics?
The next generation venturing into a business will find a world much different than the one that waited for the previous generation. Recent history tells us in no uncertain terms that today’s business scholar need a much sharper understanding of the difference between what is and isn’t ethically acceptable. As a business scholar, one of your key tasks is learning how to recognize and deal with the ethical challenges that will confront you.
Moreover, knowing your right from wrong will make you more marketable as a job candidate. Asked what he looked for in a new hire, warren buffet, the world’s most successful investor, replied: “I look for three things. The first is personal integrity, the second is intelligence, and the third is high energy level.” He paused and then added: “but if you don’t have the first, the second two don’t matter.
How To Address Ethical Dilemmas
An ethical dilemma is a morally problematic situation: you have to pick between two or more acceptable but often opposing alternative that is important to different groups. Experts often frame this type of situation as a “right-versus-right” decision. If you’re wondering what your thought process should be, if you’re confronted with an ethical dilemma, you could do worse than remember the mental steps listed in.
How to face an ethical dilemma
- Define the problem and collect the relevant facts.
- Identify feasible options.
- Assess the effect of each option on stakeholders.
- Establish criteria for determining the most appropriate action.
- Select the best option based on the established criteria.
How to make ethical decisions
Indifference to the “right-versus-right” problem posed by an ethical dilemma, an ethical decision entails a “right-versus-wrong” decision, one in which there is a right choice and a wrong choice.
When you make a decision that’s unmistakably unethical or illegal, you’ve committed an ethical lapse. Betty Vinson, for example, had an ethical lapse when she caved into her bosses’ pressure to cook the world come books if you’re presented with what appears to be this type of choice, asking yourself the questions of how to avoid an ethical lapse.
How to avoid an ethical lapse
- Is the action legal?
- Is it unfair to some parties?
- If I take it, will I feel bad about it?
- Will I be ashamed to tell my family, friends, co-workers, or boss?
- Will I be embarrassed if my action is written up in the local newspaper?