Ethical and Moral Issues in Business
Ethical and Moral Issues in Business
Though the words ethical and moral issues are often considered the same, some aspects of the two differentiate them. The two therefore have different meanings. This is because, while something may be legal or ethical, it might at the same time be not compliant to a person’s individual beliefs or morals. Business ethics are important since the company’s employees depend on these to define the acceptable behavior and unacceptable behavior. They are also important since they define the relationship between the company and its clients. On the other hand, moral and ethical issues are faced by individuals and not the company as an entity. Therefore, it is the staff or the people that make up the company that are faced by these moral and ethical issues.
People get their motivation from moral and economical concerns. Individuals, out of care for one another, have to make sure to make the right moral and ethical issues always. This is because most of the time, the decisions that the people make are likely to affect another person directly or indirectly in one way or the other. This gives individuals a duty to care before making any decisions that might not be ethical or moral. Personal ethics are a person’s or an individual’s conscious values. Business ethics are a specific professional code that a specific group of people is supposed to follow. Business ethics can simply be defined as a specific set of rules that an organization provides for its employees to follow (Shaw & Barry, 2009).
Business ethics are also defined as codes of values and principles that are written and unwritten that govern actions and decisions within a company setting. The culture of the business or the organization sets the pace and standards that determine the difference between bad and good behavior and decisions. Business ethics is also the knowing of the difference between wrong and right and making the decision to do what is right. Personal ethics are fully determined by the individual and his decisions. Personal ethics are created when an individual sets specific rules and regulations, which they use to conduct their lives and the way in which they interact with other people.
An example of a situation where personal ethics override the decision of an individual is where for instance a doctor refuses to prescribe the morning after contraceptive to a woman because he believes it shall terminate a pregnancy and therefore a life. Here the doctor has decided to follow his personal ethics since he believes it is wrong to terminate a life. Though it is legal to prescribe the morning after pill and it is ethical since it is by choice of the recipient, the doctor’s personal ethics make the prevailing and final decision in this case. An officer of the law might enforce a law that he believes is ethically wrong. In this case, the professional or business ethics prevail since in spite of the police officer’s personal ethics that tell him that making the arrest on the prevailing grounds is wrong, he still makes the arrest since he is bound by the law to do so (Ferrell, Fraedrich & Ferrell, 2009).
Ethical values, both professional or business and individual, commit people in the same way. The difference comes in their enactment. For instance, being honest is a virtue and is important both in my personal and business dealings. However, the amount of information I am bound by my honesty to disclose in my household and that to my boss, business partner, customer or competitor is not the same. The way in which I disclose the information is not also the same. For instance, at the place of work I require to provide accurate and up to date financial records and use the appropriate a recommended software and financial principles and methods. However, at home I can use whichever method of financial reporting, software and methods as long as the bills are paid and the equation balances. This is because at work, there are rules that bind me and there are checks and balances which on the other hand do not exist on the home setting.
Ferrell, O. C., Fraedrich, J., & Ferrell, L. (2009). Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making and Cases. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.
Shaw, W. H. & Barry, V. (2009). Moral Issues in Business. New York, NY: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.