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Simply put, ethics involves learning what is right or wrong, and then doing the right thing -- but "the right thing" is not nearly as straightforward as conveyed in a great deal of business ethics literature. Most ethical dilemmas in the workplace are not simply a matter of "Should Bob steal from Jack?" or "Should Jack lie to his boss?"
Many ethicists consider emerging ethical beliefs to be "state of the art" legal matters, i.e., what becomes an ethical guideline today is often translated to a law, regulation or rule tomorrow. Values, which guide how we ought to behave, are considered moral values, e.g., values such as respect, honesty, fairness, responsibility, etc. Statements around how these values are applied are sometimes called moral or ethical principles.
The concept has come to mean various things to various people, but generally it's coming to know what it right or wrong in the workplace and doing what's right -- this is in regard to effects of products/services and in relationships with stakeholders. Consequently, there is no clear moral compass to guide leaders through complex dilemmas about what is right or wrong.
Note that many people react that business ethics, with its continuing attention to "doing the right thing," only asserts the obvious ("be good," "don't lie," etc.), and so these people don't take business ethics seriously. For many of us, these principles of the obvious can go right out the door during times of stress.
Business ethics has come to be considered a management discipline, especially since the birth of the social responsibility movement in the 1960s. In that decade, social awareness movement raised expectations of businesses to use their massive financial and social influence to address social problems such as poverty, crime, environmental protection, equal rights, public health and improving education. The emergence of business ethics is similar to other management disciplines. As commerce became more complicated and dynamic, organizations realized they needed more guidance to ensure their dealings supported the common good and did not harm others -- and so business ethics was born.
Note that 90% of business schools now provide some form of training in business ethics. Today, ethics in the workplace can be managed through use of codes of ethics, codes of conduct, roles of ethicists and ethics committees, policies and procedures, procedures to resolve ethical dilemmas, ethics training, etc.
Many people are used to reading or hearing of the moral benefits of attention to business ethics. However, there are other types of benefits, as well. The following list describes various types of benefits from managing ethics in the workplace.
· Attention to business ethics has substantially improved society.
· Ethics programs help maintain a moral course in turbulent times.
· Ethics programs cultivate strong teamwork and productivity.
· Ethics programs support employee growth and meaning.
· Ethics programs are an insurance policy -- they help ensure that policies are legal.
· Ethics programs help avoid criminal acts "of omission" and can lower fines.
· Ethics programs help manage values associated with quality management, strategic planning and diversity Management.
· Ethics programs promote a strong public image.
Code of ethics describes the highest values to which the company aspires to operate. It contains the `thou shalt's. A code of ethics specifies the ethical rules of operation. It's the `thou shalt not's." In the latter 1980s 76% of corporations had codes of ethics.
Some business ethicists disagree that codes have any value. Usually they explain that too much focus is put on the codes themselves, and that codes themselves are not influential in managing ethics in the workplace. Many ethicists note that it's the developing and continuing dialogue around the codes values that is most important.
Codes of conduct specify actions in the workplace and codes of ethics are general guides to decisions about those actions. Codes of conduct contain examples of appropriate behavior to be meaningful.
We will investigate the business ethics of marketing practices, workforce make-up and organizational diversity. These are very complex topics but it is our hope that we will be able to broaden your understanding of the issues faced by organizations and what decisions they face in order to remain competitive in an increasingly global market.
Marketing and Ethics (United Colors of Benetton)
Marketing issues, as they relate to business ethics, extend across a wide range of business activities that characterize a company's relationship with its customers (product manufacturing and integrity; disclosure, labeling and packaging; marketing and advertising; selling practices; pricing; and distribution). In recent years the scope of marketing issues has expanded, including ne
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misleading advertising, insurance policy, advertising industry, Abortion,
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a unique global group, Benetton, Oliviero Toscani, Hyman, Snipes, Tansey, Thorson, Bob, Bliss, Roebuck, Bruce Babbit, Jack, Brian Ross, Sirgy, Donald G. Fisher, Calvin Klein, Prince, Tu Xiao Mei,
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American Marketing Association, Old Navy, Advertising Standards Authority, U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, San Francisco State University, National Organization of Murder Children, U.S. government,
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U.S., Saipan, Philippines, South Africa, Europe, Missouri, China, San Francisco, America,
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Gap Inc., a global company, the Sears, Banana Republic, USAA, Edizione Holding, Levi, McDonald, Wal-Mart,
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