Business Ethics: an oxymoron?: An essay

Published under category: Academic Paper Writing | 2014-09-29 21:36:42 UTC

Context: Ethics and commercial interests

An oxymoron is a statement or a rule that presents two contradicting situations regarding one event (Duska 2000, p.115). The purpose of this essay is to investigate principles of business ethics and determine whether the field is an oxymoron. The two principles of business ethics that require a business to maximize profit and at the same time be responsible towards the society are the major focus in this essay. One of the approaches to business ethics is the philosophy of utilitarianism, which advocates for the benefit of the majority at all cost (Mill & Crisp 1998, p.37). Corporate social responsibility and the ethics behind it are another set of ethics that have a similar opinion regarding morality in business. Business ethics outlined by Adam Smith championing the superiority of economic gain has a different approach to responsibility in business (May & Roper 2007, p.46). A relationship exists between businesses and the other parties in its environment. This relationship is governed by an ethical code that is known as business ethics. Ethical code is determined by the maximum commercial value of the relationship, but sometimes considerations that govern business ethics have no relationship with commercial gain (Roleff 1996, p.60). In modern business communities, authorities control the behavior of the environment and individual business enterprises to create a favorable condition where the business community, society, and political authorities can co-exist (Roleff 1996, p.61). This means that some rules and regulations are set by the government to realize this objective. However, the relationships in a business environment are complex and cannot be governed by statutory regulations alone (Craig 2001, p.21). Apart from accountability of the business entities to the authorities, a sense of responsibility towards the whole system governs the behavior of the players in the business environment. This responsibility can only be achieved by adherence to the appropriate ethics in business. Ethics are based on moral reasoning where values of culture and tradition are upheld for the sake of normal operations in the business environment (Roleff 1996, p.46). Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) refers to a situation where businesses, in their entirety, are responsible to their environment. In this essence, the businesses are obligated to take the responsibility of their positive or negative impact as singular entities (Hunnicutt 2009, p.54). Thus, if an individual or a group of individuals in an organization cause harm to the community in which the business thrives, the responsibility for their action affects the whole business entity. The principle of responsibility has been traditionally limited to individual personalities even within organizations that have operated as singular entities in the past. However, in modern times, the culture has metamorphosed so that responsibility for a positive or negative event is borne by every member of the organization (Pava & Krausz 1995, p.29). If a business does not maintain a good ethical record, it becomes easy for its competitors to point out at the anomalies in the practices of the particular business as a competition strategy (Pava & Krausz 1995, p.105). Other parties that are important to the business such as creditors and investors may not establish a good relationship with a business that has a flawed ethical practices record. In most political territories around the world, businesses are regarded as any other person in the country. Ethical practices are used to negotiate for a social standing for the business entity in question (Wulfson 2001, p.132). If the society views the business entity as an ethically correct organization, the essence of success of the business is realized. This is based on the principle that business entities are driven by the desire to provide the best conditions for humanity or communities in which they are set (Crane & Matten 2007, p.72). Business ethics is not only present in the relationships a business has with the external community, but also features in the relationships the members of the corporation have between themselves. Issues such as the balance between the economic growth of an institution and the wellbeing of the human resources that are critical to success have ethical arguments in them. Various benefits are related to maintaining good corporate social responsibility. The concerned organization is always under the scrutiny of the public, which expects good ethical conduct by the organization as a whole. For any business entity, public support is critically important for survival (Buchan 2006, p.65). In addition, organizations are made up of professionals in various disciplines. The assumption is that the most qualified and able professionals will join those organizations they consider ethically responsible in their business activities (Crane & Matten 2007, p.67). Furthermore, the performance of a business organization depends on the effort of its members. Members of the organization are all those who have a stake in the organization. This means that corporate social responsibility is directly related to the outcome of the business endeavors of the organization. Principles of business ethics postulate that a business entity should do whatever is in its power to gain as much as it can from its operations (Mill & Crisp 1998, p.61). However, the business must have a sense of responsibility in the social dimension. This responsibility may require financial commitment, which the business must also bear. So much importance is attached to the theory of social responsibility such that a business entity must be willing to forego profit and even endure losses for the sake of ethical issues (Crane & Matten 2007, p.110). Even with the profit as the major aim for the business, social responsibility must be observed by the business entity according to value of CSR (Crane & Matten 2007, p.84). Moreover, the requirements laid down by the law should also be adhered to if the business is to have a good record regarding ethics. Every organization must strive to create a good image of itself in the community’s perspective. This means that the particular business entity must compare well with other businesses in the same line of operations. This can only be achieved through limiting the spending on the society (Smith 1981, p.71). The philosophy of utilitarianism postulates that for any single entity to be ethically correct, it must take an action that is best for the majority. John Stuart Mill, the man who developed the rules that govern this philosophy, considered the means used to attain an objective important than the objective itself (Mill & Crisp 1998, p.54). The society views business entities as individuals who must use ethical means to attain their goals like any other member of the society. When a business is compared to an individual in the society, it becomes clear that it is a contest between one individual and a vast number of people (Buchan 2006, p.75). For this reason, businesses are forced by ethics to act in a manner that will result in the benefit of the society even if the action is retrogressive in its economic strategy (Buchan 2006, p.81). This ethical perspective is directly opposed to Adam Smith’s view that businesses have an obligation to ensure their own survival in the competition (May & Roper 2007, p.49). Consider the principle of corporate philanthropy that advises businesses to be generous to that part of the society that is of interest to its business ends. This rule is applied even when the relevant section of the society is a paltry minority. This is against utilitarianism and the essence of corporate social responsibility. However, it is necessary for businesses to ensure that they remain in favor of that part of the society that is essential to their survival (Pava & Krausz 1995, p.26). This way, the long-term objective of a business entity can be achieved. Consequently, the notion that the wellbeing of the society is supreme in all circumstances is disputable since the society considers loss-making businesses to be failures. Thus, the utilitarian ethics of corporate social responsibility can possibly result in a breakdown of the company’s operations, which is also unethical. Both sides of the argument are important considering the principles and objectives behind them. There is lack of harmony between the perspectives of ethicists such as John Stuart Mill and liberal ethicists who maintain that businesses have to award themselves more benefits than the proportion the spare for corporate social responsibility. Evidently, strict adherence to business ethics can be counterproductive. This means that the ethics that govern the corporate social responsibility have a significant degree of logical goodwill, but are not entirely logical (May & Roper 2007, p.43). If a business must have good image for itself, it is a requirement that the particular business partially observes the principles of CSR with caution. This is because ethics that govern business seem to contradict. While performance is gauged by the magnitude of profit, other limiting factors such as CSR are also included in assessment of business success. Hence, business ethics is an oxymoron. HOW TO WRITE CUSTOM ESSAYS ON BUSINESS ETHICS Business ethics is a subject that has been extensive discussed by philosophers. It is a field that features prominently in business and philosophy, two seemingly different realms, but which are inextricably intertwined. The particular subject is wide and cannot be entirely covered in one essay or perspective of discussion. However, philosophy and the wide field of ethics has covered business ethics in its full extent. It is therefore important that a business writer is also good at philosophy and ethics in order to write a good essay on the particular subject. To seek writing help from our polymath writers register and place an order of your liking. You will download your top-of-the-business essay in any time-frame you choose.ORDER PLAGIARISM FREE PAPER

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