A Practical Guide to Evaluating Professional Business Ethics

Essay by albertgates8College, UndergraduateA, November 2007

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Business has created wealth that has given numerous individuals financial freedom, yet at the same time, it has widened the gap between the rich and the poor. The philosophy of business considers the primary principles that underlie the operations of an enterprise. Developing a balanced business ethic between profit-taking and honesty is perhaps one of the most difficult tasks for a corporation. In the wake of post-communism, we are now living in triumphant times of global capitalism; but the inevitability of corporate greed and deception in this system can create devastating results like Enron, WorldCom and Arthur Anderson.8 These corporations failed because of the people that work there; a series of deceptive operational decisions left these billion-dollar corporations and their millions of investors in demise. And there are many other examples of smaller companies undergoing "corporate restructuring" in an effort to save themselves. What business ethics involves is the plundering of natural resources, exploitation of labor in lesser-developed nations, unfair competition, impacts on the environment, treatment of employees and social responsibility.1

Business managers must keep all of these points in mind when making decisions on behalf of their organizations. This paper will look at the different factors a manager ought to look at when making informed decisions, with consideration of the stakeholders - the manager him/herself, the corporation and greater society. Through the use of the role-differentiated model, the utilitarian model and the professional contract model, I contend that a business manager has moral right but not the moral obligation to act up to the limits of law in any situation; in other words, the manager will be considered amoral only if he/she has broken the law.

First we must understand that all business is anchored in the subjective viewpoints of the manager, of the corporation and of society. Each...