Corporate Values & Ethics

Essay by enlitedjUniversity, Master'sA-, May 2004

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1. Introduction :

Ethical orientation is not theory, not simply a formulation of ideas, but a practice undertaken with understanding Management, especially under pressure, seeks understanding in shorthand. Impatient for results, executives want workable models that have worked in other places to apply to what are assume to be similar situations in their own companies. There is of course much to learn by exploring the experiences of others and there is a rich validity to many of these solutions. However, to borrow a solution from another company simply does not provide the depth of learning that comes from originating a solution from within.

Ethics is, first of all, a way of thinking. Most people in business who do wrong do so not because they are wicked but they think they are trapped and do not even consider the ethical significance or implications of their actions. What is thinking ethically? It is thinking in terms of compliance with the rules, implicit as well as explicit, thinking in terms of contributions.

One can make as well as one's own possible gains, thinking in terms of avoiding consequences to others as well as to oneself.

Ethical considerations are becoming an agenda of mainstream economic institutions. Philosopher Thomas Donaldson notes that ethics are both 'empirical' and 'normative'. The first relates to what it is that we do. The second instead evaluates what ought to be done. In business, it has been much easier to look and measure the empirical dimension. This is because business has an easier time measuring the concrete and the inputs for 'ought' are necessarily derived from beyond the boundaries of business activity and management decision making. "Most individuals ethical beliefs", writes Badaracco "are firmly embedded in norms and assumptions - some examined and some examined and some implicit - that...