Ethics are about making some choices that may not always feel good or seem like they are of some benefit to you. But they are the right choices. They exemplify the model citizens and the golden rules. We've all heard about the golden rules: Don't hurt, never steal, never lie, or one of the most famous: Treat others like you would have treated yourselves. All these are not just catchy phrases, but words of wisdom that every member of society should strive to live by. Ethics are the part and parcel of the business world too. As a matter of fact, the world has witnessed economic disasters due to the unethical business practices. In this article we will be having an in-depth discussion about business ethics.
Business ethics is the study of the standards of business behavior which promote human welfare and good. Business ethics manifests both written and unwritten codes of moral standards that are significant for the current activities and future aspirations of a business organization. They can differ from one company to another because of major differences in strategic orientations, cultural perspectives and operational structures. The framework of business ethics permeates all levels of the organization. It is not about having the wisdom to determine the difference between right or wrong decisions, but to choose one that is important.
Need for Business Ethics
Ø Any organisation that is determined to be in the market for a long period will have to follow good moral practices when dealing with their clients or customers.This will involve putting in mind the rights of the consumers, employees,stakeholders and the best interests regarding the society at large. Consumers now a days are aware of their rights and the laws that govern the organisations in regard to their protection. Hence, a good relationship with customers will improve goodwill.
Ø To improve business relations and employee productivity: Being ethical communicates a sense of trust amongst business partners, firm, its employees and the firm and the public.
Ø Knowing that one works in a supportive ethical environment contributes to one’s sense of psychological security. People feel valued working for an ethical company because they know that they too are protected along with the general public.
Principles of Business Ethics
1. Principle of purity:The first and the most important principle of business ethics is that the means and ends: both must be pure and sacred. A good end should not be achieved with an evil means even if it is beneficial for the business.
2. Integrity: Whenever there is great pressure to do right instead of maximizing profits, this principle is tested. The executives need to demonstrate courage and personal integrity, by doing what-what think is right.
3. Principle of Humanity –It is important that every businessman should follow human values, human decorum and human aspects within their policies, programmes and different working areas. Human dignity should be maintained.
4. Principle of non-Cooperation in evils – It is significant for a business that businessmen should try to non-cooperate and not indulging in any evil activity, misconduct and unethical behaviour not only with different customers but with society also.
5. Non-violence: If a business man hurts the interests and rights of the society and exploits the consumer by overlooking their interests, then this is equivalent to violence and unethical activity.
6. Universal value:According to this principle the conduct of business should be done on the basis of universal values.
7. Principle of Equivalent price: According to W. Wilson, people are entitled to get goods equivalent to the value of money that they pay.
8. Proportionality: This principle suggests that one should make proper judgment before doing any act so that there is a fair view taken &others do not suffer from any loss or risk of damage by the conduct of business.
Challenges to business ethics
1. Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace: Harassment and discrimination are arguably the biggest ethical issues that impact businesses today. Should harassment or discrimination take place in the workplace, the result could be terrible for your organization both financially and reputational. Illustration of the same is The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013.
2. Whistle blowing or Social Media Rants: The dynamic nature of social media has made the online conduct of employees a major factor in their employment status. The question of the ethics of firing or punishing employees for their online behaviour is quite complicated. However,the line is usually drawn when an employee’s online behavior is considered to be disloyal to their employer or organisation as a whole.
3. Unethical accounting practices: Some organisations practice unethical accounting practices or ‘cook the books’ in order to either save on taxes or to present a more favourable picture for the stakeholders and investors. This is one the biggest challenge to business ethics as a large number of organisations practice unethical accounting.
4. Health and safety of employees: Many workplaces neglect health and safety and focus on solely profit. Employees are the core of an organisation and are needed to be looked after.
 Meaning and Ethical Principles in Business
Ethical practices bring forth goodwill from the customers and the public in general. This goodwill earned over a certain period of time can be transformed into profitability by the company. People will tend to do business with firms that value and are concerned about the society. Profitability of an enterprise translates into the sustainability of that particular enterprise in the market.All business activity requires an awareness of the challenges on a global scale. In this connection,business ethics play an important role. Business ethics in organizations requires values and morals based leadership from top management, actions that include planning and implementation of standards of apt conduct, as well as continuous effort to improve the ethical performance of the organisation.
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