All business industries around the world face the basic issues and problems concerning the incorporation and practices of responsible business conduct. Such issues and problems revolve around and are integrated in the different operating practices of business industries. These include “product quality, transparency in financial matters, workplace health and safety, protection of the environment, protection of workers, and compliance with laws and industry standards” (U. S. Department of Commerce, 2004, p.4).
Although market economy pursues to meet and serve the needs of the public, there are instances that self-interest of gaining financially is being advanced through improper dealings and unethical business practices thus ignoring and replacing responsible business conduct. The growing awareness of individuals and public against unethical business practices and unfair transaction dealings demand that business enterprises must meet the standard of responsible and ethical business conduct.
“Societies and individual business enterprises have learned that it matters how profits are made, how wealth is distributed, and whether business can be sustained” (U. S. Department of Commerce, 2004, p. 3). Moreover, as part of the community, business enterprises are expected to conform to the community’s values, norms, and standards of quality, integrity, and respect while serving the needs and demands of the market.
Such conformity is included in the discipline of social responsibility which implies that ethical business management should anticipate both the market and the law of society. The social responsibility approach urges managers to take an expansive view of the law and the market even if strict implementation of ethical behavior and standards may sound costly and risky. In the long run, the market will reap the reward of such ethical behavior imparted in every business operation practices (evaluate the influence different stakeholders exert in one organisation, 1993).
Ethics vs.Self-interest When talking about business gains and preferred financial outcome, self-interest and ethics often conflict with each other, as ethics entails doing moral actions while self-interest is more related to financial reward. Most managers remark that “even when doing good is in the company’s best interest, acts motivated by such self-interest really can’t be ethical” (Stark, 1993). Thus, managers are often confronted with the problem of which should be advanced first, whether business ethics or self-interest.
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