Business ethics are both written and unwritten codes of conducts and values that give a way through which decisions and course of actions should take in a business. The culture of the business sets some guiding rules for determining the decisions that should be made and those that should not be made within a business. The main body of the business ethics is the power to differentiate between good and bad business behaviors, and the ability to do what is required. In addition to business behaviors, business ethics also involve the actions and behaviors of the employees within the business as well as the entire organization. There are several benefits of any business that if following its ethics especially in the current times. This essay paper will be focusing the various benefits that can make an ethical business to succeed, how the business can adhere to ethics, and the impacts of failing to follow ethics.
Mostly, the three major guidelines of the business to ensure it does not violate business ethics are, the business should try as much as possible not to break the criminal law in work related duties. Secondly, the business should avoid getting involved in activities that may lead to civil law suits against the business, and thirdly, it is the responsibility of any business to avoid some activities or behaviors, that may end up spoiling the image of the business. If the business is ready to avoid the three issues, it would be set in a position to avoid loss of business money, and spoiling the business reputation. To ensure the practical application of the above theories the business would only assign corporate attorneys and other public relations specialists to make daily follow ups of employees’ activities.
Incase an employee may be found straying from the right and instructed paths of the business, these specialists are supposed to guide the employees into the right ways. To some extent, the idea of using the attorney and the public relations specialists may be costly for the business. Most of the businesses have decided to be seeking information from the philosophers, who can guide the business employees on proper employee conduct. Once employees get used to practicing good conducts, and the impact of doing wrong in the business it becomes easy for them to follow the guidelines. The philosophers would assist a great deal by advising the employees of the importance of being moral, by explaining to them the basic understanding of morality.
However, it is not that easy for the philosophers to teach the employees on how to be ethical, because the most important ethics are learnt at an early age of child growth. The parents and ones early social environment are the major source of information of how one should be ethical. The efforts of the employees are also crucial because philosophers alone may not achieve to change the moral predispositions of an adult employee. In one way or another, philosophers would try as much as possible to teach morality to the employees, but their approvals are not always regarded as financially efficient.
Most businesses have been saved from legal and public relations costs although the process of applying morality in business is also costly. A business that has decided to adhere to the moral ethics as required should on the other hand pay attention to the safety of products and services offered, care about the environmental effects, stick to truthful advertising, and the most important above all ensure good working conditions for the employees. There is always tension that exist between the ethical interests between a businessperson and a philosopher because a businessperson is money minded and a philosopher is ideal minded.
For a relatively long period, there have been some controversies concerning the business ethics and the profits. It requires intelligence of a business minded person to make his or her decisions wisely concerning the business ethics. Some business analysts have been arguing that there is an existence of a symbiotic relationship between ethics and business. Some people believe that moral ethics emerge naturally from the businesses that are profit oriented. There are two versions of this theory a strong and a weak one. The weak version of this theory is based on the ground of good ethics leading to good business, which is another version of saying that moral business practices are profitable. For instance, if a business is producing safe products, it is in a position to reduce product liability lawsuits that may be very costly for the business. Moreover, if a business have a culture of respecting employee privacy, there is a likelihood of improving the employees morale, and hence their work efficiency.
When a business acquires itself a trustworthy relationship with the surrounding environment as well as its stakeholders, the business positions itself to a long-term best interests. This weak version is associated with some challenges such as business with moral ethics benefits economically only in the end. This would be hard for the businesses that are set up by the owners for survival of a short term. As moiré and more businesses arise with time to compete for the same market opportunities, the profits that are realsied in the short run of the business will dictate the way forward of various businesses especially in decision making processes as a way of survival.
The second challenge that is associated with this approach is that some moral business ethics may not have economic benefits even in the end. For instance, retaining older workers who are not efficient have no economic benefits to the business. It would be advisable if the business may think of replacing these workers with young energetic employee with high efficiency. The third and most crucial challenge of this approach is that the moral business ethics that are important for business depend mostly with the aspect that would produce profit at that very moment. The overlap that exists regularly between morality and the idea of working for profits is both limited and subsidiary.
The other approach that is considered to be strong takes an opposite strategy whereby there are some businesspeople who tend to think that the business that is making profits will naturally come up with moral business ethics. This is mostly possible in a competitive and free market. For instance, if customers of a certain business demand for safe products and services, employees on the other hand demand for privacy, this would imply that customers would only purchase from such businesses that meet their requirements. In addition, employees would also work for those businesses that meet their desired working conditions. The businesses that would ignore such demands may lack a position in the market thus shortening their survival in the market. This version states that, profits in businesses results to creation of morality such that productive business results to moral ethics. This version has several proponents like Milton Friedman, who gives his opinion such that this version would be possible in the United States if only the central government would allow emergence and expansion of competitive and free market.
However, just like the weaker version, this strong version is also faced with some challenges. The first challenge is the assumption that customers and the employees will first demand for some specific business ethics. This becomes a challenge because, in the real life, customers mostly forget about the safety of the products or services if at all, whatever they are purchasing is saving some coins. As long as a product or a service is pocket friendly to a customer, he or she may not concentrate on other matters like safety. For instance, it is possible for a customer to purchase a cheaper motor vehicle without air bags, an act that may put him and his passengers at risk so that he can safe an extra coin. The same case would happen to workers, who may not demand for privacy at their working place, if the wages that are offered by the employer are competitive. For both the weak and the strong version of the relationship between the moral ethics and the profits are challenged.
In conclusion, the most important thing about business ethics is to adhere to what the law requires. Through avoiding incidences that may result to the business, having a conflicting ideas with the law can save much money for the business. Like currently, the laws that govern the businesses are very strict to some illegal practices associated with the most common businesses globally. The success of the business currently would majorly depend on the adherence to the law and maintaining a good reputation to the public. The activities that may lead to spoiling the reputation of the business should be avoided. A bad reputation of a business makes the customers to loose their trust with the business, an action that may limit the survival of the business. As much as the business may focus on the profit, it would also focus on practicing business ethics both internally and externally. Not all business ethics can be obtained from the business ethics as argued by the two approaches.