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Am I Happy With My Direction? Free Textbooks: how is this possible? It applies to all aspects of business conduct and is relevant to the conduct of individuals and entire organizations. These ethics originate from individuals, organizational statements or from the legal system. Business ethics refers to contemporary organizational standards, principles, sets of values and norms that govern the actions and behavior of an individual in the business organization.
Business ethics have two dimensions, normative or descriptive. As a corporate practice and a career specialization, the field is primarily normative. Academics attempting to understand business behavior employ descriptive methods. The range and quantity of business ethical issues reflects the interaction of profit-maximizing behavior with non-economic concerns. Interest in business ethics accelerated dramatically during the 1980s and 1990s, both within major corporations and within academia.
For example, most major corporations today promote their commitment to non-economic values under headings such as ethics codes and social responsibility charters. Adam Smith said, “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. Governments use laws and regulations to point business behavior in what they perceive to be beneficial directions. Ethics implicitly regulates areas and details of behavior that lie beyond governmental control. The emergence of large corporations with limited relationships and sensitivity to the communities in which they operate accelerated the development of formal ethics regimes. Maintaining an ethical status is the responsibility of the manager of the business. Business ethics reflect the norms of each historical period.
As time passes, norms evolve, causing accepted behaviors to become objectionable. Business ethics and the resulting behavior evolved as well. The term ‘business ethics’ came into common use in the United States in the early 1970s. By the mid-1980s at least 500 courses in business ethics reached 40,000 students, using some twenty textbooks and at least ten casebooks supported by professional societies, centers and journals of business ethics. The Society for Business Ethics was founded in 1980. In 1982 the first single-authored books in the field appeared.
This scuttled the discourse of business ethics both in media and academia. This era began the belief and support of self-regulation and free trade, which lifted tariffs and barriers and allowed businesses to merge and divest in an increasing global atmosphere. Corporate entities are legally considered as persons in USA and in most nations. The ‘corporate persons’ are legally entitled to the rights and liabilities due to citizens as persons.
Ethics are the rules or standards that govern our decisions on a daily basis. Others would say that ethics is an internal code that governs an individual’s conduct, ingrained into each person by family, faith, tradition, community, laws, and personal mores. So the question is, do corporate executives, provided they stay within the law, have responsibilities in their business activities other than to make as much money for their stockholders as possible? And my answer to that is, no, they do not. There is neither a separate ethics of business nor is one needed”, implying that standards of personal ethics cover all business situations.