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Flashcards in Business ethics Deck (12)
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Business ethics - Corporate social responsibility

A sense that businesses have wider responsibilities than simply to their shareholders, including the communities they live and work in and to the environment.
>Milton Friedman - only responsibility of a business is to make money for its shareholders
>Also has responsibilities towards the community it operates in - reducing negative effects on the environment
>Risk damage to reputation if they do things that have a negative effect on stakeholders
>Interests of shareholders and stakeholders conflict
>Businesses try to enhance reputation in the community in a public way


Business ethics - Corporate social responsibility - Kantian ethics

>An action is only good if done out of good will
>Businesses who do good things for their own reputation are not ethical
>A business should act ethically because it is the right thing to do


Business ethics - Corporate social responsibility - Utilitarianism

>Need to weigh up the potential pleasure and pain caused by corporate social responsibility
>It is in a business' best interests to act responsibly, as in most cases that would be more likely to produce pleasure and minimise pain
>If acting irresponsibly would cause more pleasure then a utilitarian would support that


Business ethics - Whistleblowing

>When an employee discloses wrongdoing to the employer or the public
>Reporting something that affects or threatens to affect others.
>Often, employees have a legal obligation to report unethical behaviour.
>Whistleblowers are protected by the law - not required to provide any evidence for what they are reporting. >Whistleblowing can also be done anonymously
>Employees sign a contract with their employer that is the foundation of an ethical business.


Business ethics - Whistleblowing - Kantian ethics

>Issues surrounding whistleblowing could cause difficulties
>Duty to tell the truth and be honest and fair
>Duty of loyalty and promise keeping
>Would have to decide which duties outweighed others which would be difficult


Business ethics - Whistleblowing - Utilitarianism

>Would it maximise pleasure or not?
>In the long-term could be a good idea
>Could cause job losses and financial losses for shareholders, although there are potential benefits if other businesses learn a lesson from this
>Act UT would think of each situation on its own
>Rule UT would think about whistleblowing in general
>The utilitarian would have to try to think about what the long-term effects might be and who might be affected which would be difficult


Business ethics - 'Good ethics is good business'

>Doint the right thing will make a business more attractive and increase its profits because customers will like and trust it
>Can be interpreted to mean that doing the right thing is as appropriate in business as it is anywhere else
>Could also mean that when businesses seem to be acting ethically they are only doing it for profit
>Acting ethically can be hard for businesses as something that benefits one group may have the opposite effect on others
>Some good ethical practices make it hard for businesses to succeed alongside its competitors


Business ethics - 'Good ethics is good business' - Kantian ethics

>Businesses should do the right thing just because it is the right thing
>This is difficult for companies if they want to survive on the competitive capitalist market
>Not treating people as a means to an end is hard for businesses
>Kantain ethics might be attractive for businesses because they are rules that apply universally


Business ethics - 'Good ethics is good business' - Utilitarianism

>Crane and Matten (Business Ethics: A European Perspective) there are close links between UT and the approach of economics, decisions are based on whichever outcome is likely to provide the most beneficial results
>Greatest happiness for a large group of people might be impossible to judge


Business ethics - Globalisation

>The trend of increasing interaction between people or companies on a worldwide scale due to advances in transportation and communication technology. >Globalisation is a grand historical tend. One major trend part of globalisation is deindustrialisation in the western world.
>Companies have much of their operations to China and India because it is cheaper to produce goods there - wages are lower, there are less regulations and control, unions are weaker, there are less workers rights etc. This helps to maximise profits but is a problem for business ethics


Business ethics - Globalisation: Kantian ethics

>Might help business ethics to adopt some absolute guidelines for ensuring the wellbeing of workers around the world
>Norman Bowie suggests rules for businesses that a Kantian might adopt - protecting autonomy and rationality for every worker, providing sufficient salary, operating according to the rules of justice
>Might be difficult to apply because businesses have to treat workers partially as a means to an end so there are situations where duties conflict


Business ethics - Globalisation: Utilitarianism

>On a large scale, the good that is done to developing countries from globalisation outweighs the harm
>Everyone benefits when goods can be produced cheaply enough for most people to be able to buy them and everyone benefits when people are employed and charged a wage
>The rich gain a lot more than the poor through globalisation and although overall happiness may be achieved, the poorest people are being exploited