The term ethics refers to the science of conduct which involves morals and human behavior standards. Various theories explain the aspect of business ethics. For instance, the egoistic theory asserts that any transaction that realizes profits is right regardless of its impacts to those involved. On the other hand, the utilitarianism theory is of the position that any action that generates the greatest pleasure for the largest number of people is right (Sadler 5-8). Deontological theories explain that an action is right if it results in the fulfillment of one’s duty. The care theory, an action that involves caring for other entities is right. The virtues theory ultimately asserts that an action is only right if it involves culturally accepted behaviors.
Business ethics relates to conducting business in an acceptable manner in the corporate world. It includes aspects such as discrimination exclusion, professionalism and equity in offering placements. Understanding business ethics is essential for right decision making in the business context.
Business ethics are crucial in making key decisions in an organization such as the decision to sell a harmful product to a customer or to forfeit the profits; decision to accept a bribe versus practicing corruption free business. Practicing business ethics provides many benefits to organizations (Ferrell et al 42). For instance, positive impacts such as community endorsement are only achieved through incorporation of ethics into business practice. Moreover, attaining good will, prevention of law suits and business protection are other impacts associated with ethical business practice.
Motivation of workers and self satisfaction of the business are other impacts of ethical business practice. Various conditions can be checked to confirm if a business operates within the confines of business ethics. One can check whether the business has a code of ethics; the employment practices, and whether it is involved in CSR among other factors.
The Barclays Bank in the UAE is an example of organization that can be analyzed for ethical business practice. From the activity of the organization, not many ethical issues prevail. The organization is involved in various CSR activities such as provision of low interest loans to customers and engagement in disaster relief efforts. In addition to this, the organization has a well laid down code of ethics which is centered on the key values of integrity, stewardship and excellence among other virtues.
The company also enhances communities through charity contributions and is engaged in environmental conservation efforts across the country. Despite the majorly ethical practices, there have also been unethical practices in the bank. For instance, the bank provided misleading information about its finances to the public in 2008. Through perpetrating the lie that it had £ 3 billion in investments, the bank managed to prevent bankruptcy.
Another Company that provides a strong ethical forefront is Unilever. One of the biggest companies in the FMCG industry, Unilever has practices that are linked to business ethics. Practices such as providing support for low income businesses, environmental conservation programs through reduction, recovery, recycle, and reuse of raw materials and promotion of hygienic and healthy living all constitute ethical business practices.
Though the values of honesty and respect for customers and employees, Unilever has managed to create a strong CSR network aimed at creating a global positive impact (Addington para. 1). On the other hand, the company has faced some unethical practice challenges. For instance, through fictional advertisement for some of the products, particularly Fair and Lovely cream, the company has come across as misleading (Arya 1).
Addington, Tim. Gillam dismissed by Unilever. Web. 23 MAR. 2013. <http://www.arabianbusiness.com/gillam-dismissed-by-unilever-62896.html>
Arya, Vigyan. All is not fair and lovely in beauty campaign. Web. 23 MAR. 2013. <http://www.emirates247.com/eb247/companies-markets/media/all-is-not-fair-and-lovely-in-beauty-campaign-2010-02-09-1.3477>
Ferrell, O.C, Hirt, Geoffrey,& Ferrell, Linda. Business: A Changing World. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2010. Print.
Sadler, Gregory. Five ethical theories: bare bones for business operators. Web. 22 MAR. 2013. <http://missionparalegal.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/45865666/Five%20Ethical%20Theories.pdf>
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