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Business Ethics

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Business Ethics ­MGT610
VU
LESSON 02
INTRODUCTION (CONTD.)
Although ethics is a normative study of ethics, the social sciences engage in a descriptive study
of ethics Other fields, such as the social sciences, also study ethics; but they do so
descriptively, not normatively. That is, they explain the world but without reaching conclusions
about whether it ought to be the way it is. Ethics itself, on the other hand, being normative,
attempts to determine whether or not standards are correct.
A normative study is an investigation that attempts to reach normative conclusions--that is,
conclusions about what things are good or bad or about what actions are right or wrong. In
short, a normative study aims to discover what should be.
A descriptive study is one that does not try to reach any conclusions about what things are
truly good or bad or right or wrong. Instead, a descriptive study attempts to describe or explain
the world without reaching any conclusions about whether the world is as it should be.
Business ethics is a specialized study of right and wrong applied to business policies,
institutions, and behaviors. This is an important study since businesses are some of the most
influential institutions within modern society. Business organizations are the primary economic
institutions through which people in modern societies carry on the tasks of producing and
distributing goods and services. They provide the fundamental structures within which the
members of society combine their scarce resources--land, labor, capital, and technology--into
usable goods, and they provide the channels through which these goods are distributed in the
form of consumer products, employee salaries, investors' return, and government taxes. Today
large corporate organizations dominate our economies. In 2003, General Motors, the world's
largest automobile company, had revenues of $195.6 billion and employed more than 325,000
workers; Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, had sales of $258.7 billion and 1,400,000
employees; General Electric, the world's largest maker of electrical equipment, had sales of
$134 billion and 305,000 employees; and IBM, the world's largest computer company, had
revenues of $89 billion and 319,000 employees.'
Modern corporations are organizations that the law treats as immortal fictitious "persons" who
have the right to sue and be sued, own and sell property, and enter into contracts, all in their
own name. As an organization, the modern corporation consists of (a) stockholders who
contribute capital and who own the corporation but whose liability for the acts of the
corporation is limited to the money they contributed, (b) directors and officers who administer
the corporation's assets and who run the corporation through various levels of "middle
managers," and (c) employees who provide labor and who do the basic work related directly to
the production of goods and services. To cope with their complex coordination and control
problems, the officers and managers of large corporations adopt formal bureaucratic systems of
rules that link together the activities of the individual members of the organization so as to
achieve certain outcomes or objectives. So long as the individual follows these rules, the
outcome can be achieved even if the individual does not know what it is and does not care
about it.
Though business ethics cover a variety of topics, there are three basic types of issues:
1. Systemic issues Questions rose about the economic, political, legal, or other social
systems within which businesses operate. These include questions about the morality of
capitalism or of the laws, regulations, industrial structures, and social practices within
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Business Ethics ­MGT610
VU
which American businesses operate.
2. Corporate issues Questions rose about a particular company. These include questions
about the morality of the activities, policies, practices, or organizational structure of an
individual company taken as a whole.
3. Individual issues Questions about a particular individual within an organization and
their behaviors and decisions. These include questions about the morality of the
decisions, actions, or character of an individual.
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Table of Contents:
  1. INTRODUCTION:Business Issues
  2. INTRODUCTION (CONTD.)
  3. THEORY OF ETHICAL RELATIVISM
  4. MORAL DEVELOPMENTS AND MORAL REASONING
  5. MORAL REASONING:Arguments For and Against Business Ethics
  6. MORAL RESPONSIBILITY AND BLAME
  7. UTILITARIANISM:Utilitarianism: Weighing Social Costs and Benefits
  8. UTILITARIANISM (CONTD.):rule utilitarianism, Rights and Duties
  9. UNIVERSALIZABILITY & REVERSIBILITY:Justice and Fairness
  10. EGALITARIANS’ VIEW
  11. JOHN RAWLS' THEORY OF JUSTICE:The Ethics of Care
  12. THE ETHICS OF CARE:Integrating Utility, Rights, Justice, and Caring
  13. THE ETHICS OF CARE (CONTD.):Morality in International Contexts
  14. MORALITY IN INTERNATIONAL CONTEXTS:Free Markets and Rights: John Locke
  15. FREE MARKET & PLANNED ECONOMY:FREE TRADE THEORIES
  16. LAW OF NATURE:Theory of Absolute Advantage, Comparative Advantage
  17. FREE MARKETS AND UTILITY: ADAM SMITH:Free Trade and Utility: David Ricardo
  18. RICARDO & GLOBALIZATION:Ricardo’s Assumptions, Conclusion
  19. FREE MARKET ECONOMY:Mixed Economy, Bottom Line for Business
  20. COMPETITION AND THE MARKET:Perfect Competition
  21. PERFECT COMPETITION
  22. MONOPOLY COMPETITION:Oligopolistic Competition
  23. OLIGOPOLISTIC COMPETITION:Crowded and Mature Market
  24. OLIGOPOLIES AND PUBLIC POLICY:Ethic & Environment, Ozone depletion
  25. WORLDWATCH FIGURES:Population Year, Agriculture, Food and Land Use
  26. FORESTS AND BIODIVERSITY:The Ethics of Pollution Control
  27. THE ETHICS OF POLLUTION CONTROL:Toxic Chemicals in Teflon
  28. THE ETHICS OF POLLUTION CONTROL
  29. THE ETHICS OF POLLUTION CONTROL:Recommendations to Managers
  30. COST AND BENEFITS:Basis of social audit, Objectives of social audit
  31. COST AND BENEFITS:The Ethics of Conserving Depletable Resources
  32. COST AND BENEFITS:The Club of Rome
  33. THE ETHICS OF CONSUMER PRODUCTION AND MARKETING:DSA Comments
  34. THE ETHICS OF CONSUMER PRODUCTION AND MARKETING:Should Consumers Bear More Responsibility?
  35. THE CONTRACT VIEW OF BUSINESS' DUTIES TO CONSUMERS
  36. THE CONTRACT VIEW OF BUSINESS' DUTIES TO CONSUMERS:The Due Care Theory
  37. THE SOCIAL COSTS VIEW OF THE MANUFACTURER’S DUTIES
  38. ADVERTISING ETHICS:The Benefits of Advertising, The harm done by advertising
  39. ADVERTISING ETHICS:Basic Principles, Evidence, Remedies, Puffery
  40. ADVERTISING IN TODAY’S SOCIETY:Psychological tricks
  41. ADVERTISING IN TODAY’S SOCIETY:Criticism of Galbraith's Work
  42. ADVERTISING IN TODAY’S SOCIETY:Medal of Freedom
  43. ADVERTISING IN TODAY’S SOCIETY:GENERAL RULES, Substantiation
  44. ADVERTISING IN TODAY’S SOCIETY:Consumer Privacy, Accuracy
  45. THE ETHICS OF JOB DISCRIMINATION:Job Discrimination: Its Nature