Corporate Ethics

Essay by alpha_one May 2004

download word file, 4 pages 4.7


Corporate ethics is based on broad principles of integrity and fairness. It focuses on internal stakeholder issues such as product quality, customer satisfaction, employee wages and benefits and local communities and environmental responsibilities.

Some ethical decisions made by businesses do not improve profitability, often it adds to their costs. For example, good ethics is consideration for the environment or catering for the needs of employees. Marks and Spencer actually referred to 'ethical trading' in its Annual Review and Summary Financial Statement 1999. The company goes even further to provide audio tapes of its Annual Review for the visually impaired.

The corporate world cannot be easily divided into "good guys" and "evil companies". Companies are dysfunctional families' writ large. Mistakes are built into life, including the life of corporations. Self scrutiny and accountability are essential. The measure of a company's integrity is not how loudly it beats its own chest, or whether it blunders, but its respect for its stakeholders and its responsiveness to problems.

For instance, "In Honduras, Sweatshops can look like Progress".

In reality, companies face grave difficulty in determining what actions are 'ethical' or 'unethical'. Managing employees in the workplace holds tremendous benefit for leaders and managers, both moral and practical. This is particularly true today when it is critical to understand and manage highly diverse values in the workplace. It isn't from lack of examples that managers aren't better at managing ethics in the workplace- they require more practical information about it. Many leaders and managers believe business ethics is religion because it seems to contain a lot of preaching. They also think it is irrelevant because too much business ethics training avoids the real-to-life complexities in organisations. It ought to be fairly easy to choose between right and wrong by relying on principles, but...