Business ethics are moral principles that guide the way a business behaves. The same principles that determine an individual’s actions also apply to business.
Acting in an ethical way involves distinguishing between “right” and “wrong” and then making the “right” choice. It is relatively easy to identify unethical business practices. For example, companies should not use child labour. They should not unlawfully use copyrighted materials and processes. They should not engage in bribery.
However, it is not always easy to create similar hard-and-fast definitions of good ethical practice. A company must make a competitive return for its shareholders and treat its employees fairly. A company also has wider responsibilities. It should minimise any harm to the environment and work in ways that do not damage the communities in which it operates. This is known as corporate social responsibility.
Types of business ethics
It is really impossible to classify the business ethics into certain definite types. However, attempts have been made to classify them into certain categories.
They are as follows:
- Personal responsibilities
This refers to the personal beliefs of an individual. Every individual has certain firm beliefs on certain matters’ such as honesty, avoiding criminal acts, obedience to elders, willing to perform accepted duties, promptly settling the dues etc.
- Official responsibilities
Only persons or human beings occupy positions. A person who-is occupying a certain position should strictly follow certain norms and other standards set for that official capacity.
- Personal loyalties
These include loyalties of a subordinate to his superior. So long as the superior is just and honest, the subordinates shall not face any problem.
- Corporate responsibilities
Corporations, as separate legal entities, have certain moral responsibilities. The responsibilities may not be identical with the personal moral codes of the managers who run the company. These responsibilities may be internal or external.
- Organizational loyalties
Many people develop a deep sense of loyalty towards the organization as an entity that goes beyond their personal interest. This loyalty has arisen out of love and affection. This factor can be stimulated effectively. If so, the employees will work hard and help the enterprise in achieving its objectives.
- Economic responsibilities
This type of morality guides the individual actions of an economic nature. For instance, some businessmen think it immoral to borrow. However, this type of people is very rare to see.
- Technical morality
Professional people should adhere to certain ethical standards established by competent bodies or persons or by customs. The Code of Conduct set for them by the concerned institutions governing the profession binds lawyers, chartered accountants, doctors etc.
- Regal responsibility
It refers to the responsibility imposed by law. What are all illegal are supposed to be unethical also. Everyone should be a law-abiding citizen.
Author: Gesture Chidhanguro