Ethics In Business


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Ethics In Business And Corporate Governance. : 

1 Ethics In Business And Corporate Governance. 1-Ethics In Business.

Ethics In Business. : 

2 Ethics In Business. Ethics deals with Ideals. Hence ethics is said to be Normative Science. A Normative Science seeks to determine Norms, Ideals, Standards or Values. It is generally recognized that there are three Ideals of Human Life, Viz, Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. They correspond to three aspects of our experience: Thinking, Feeling and Willing. Logic deals with the Ideal of Truth, Aesthetic deals with Beauty, and Ethics is concerned with the Ideal of Good. Ethics is not concerned with Human Conduct as it is, but as it Ought To Be. It passes Judgments of Value upon Human Actions with reference to the Moral Ideal. The Judgments of a Normative Science like Ethics are Judgments of Value, stating whether a Particular Conduct is in Conformity with the Moral Ideal or the Ideal Of Goodness.

Ethics In Business (Cont’d). : 

3 Ethics In Business (Cont’d). Moral Judgments are not descriptive, but are Prescriptive. They state What we Ought to Do, not What we Actually do. They evaluate our Conduct as Right or Wrong. Since Ethics is the Normative Science of Conduct, its Function is to Judge the Moral Worth of Conduct with reference to a Norm or Ideal or Standard. The Scope of Ethics is very wide. Ethics covers virtually all aspects of our life, for there is no Conduct which is free from Moral Considerations. As A Science of Conduct, it is concerned with the Ideal or Standard to which our Conduct should Conform to. Hence Ethics enquire into the Nature of the Springs of Action or Impetus, the Forces that Impel men to Action, Motives, Intentions, Nature of Voluntary and Involuntary Actions etc.

Postulates (Pre Suppositions) Of Ethics. : 

4 Postulates (Pre Suppositions) Of Ethics. To pass Moral Judgment on a Conduct, Ethics requires that the concerned Person must: 1) Perform the Deed out of his own Free-Will and not Compelled to do it by some overwhelming Force. Be in possession of fully developed Rational Faculty, which can help him Distinguish Right from Wrong, Good fro Bad, and Not lose his normal Personality, i.e. he must have a Unified and Continuous Mental Life. Actions which fulfill the above criteria, come under the Scope of Moral Judgment. All other Actions do not come under the Scope of Moral Judgment. Stages Of Voluntary Action: 1) Every Voluntary Action is actuated by a “Spring of Action”, that acts as the Impetus. It is a feeling of a Need or Want. Example: When you feel Thirsty, you Desire to drink water. Thus the first stage of a Voluntary Action is Mental or Internal.

Postulates (Pre Suppositions) Of Ethics. (Cont’d) : 

5 Postulates (Pre Suppositions) Of Ethics. (Cont’d) The Second Stage of Voluntary Action is the External or Bodily Stage of Action taken to Satisfy the Need or Want. When you feel Thirsty, you may find a glass of water and drink it. In this External or Bodily Stage, if proper means are Adopted, the Object of Desire is attained and want is removed. The Removal of Want brings us Satisfaction. Thus the First Stage of a Voluntary Action is Mental or Internal, the Second is External or Bodily Stage and the Third Stage is that of Consequences. Motive Or Intention-What is the Object Of Moral Judgment”? The Feeling of Want itself is not sufficient to move us to act. When a man is moved into Action, he must have , besides the mere feeling, the Conception of an End to be attained. The Motive that induces us to Act is the thought of Desirable End. When, for example, a father punishes his son, the Good of the Son is his Motive. Causing Pain to the Son is not the father’s Motive, but it is a part of his Intention. Thus Intention is a broader term, which includes the Motive or the Idea of the End, and the Idea of Means. In short, Intention=Motive+ Means Adopted.

Motive Or Intention-What is The Object Of Moral Judgment?( cont’d) : 

6 Motive Or Intention-What is The Object Of Moral Judgment?( cont’d) An important question which arises in Ethics: When we judge a Conduct as Good or Bad, do we judge it by its Motive alone or by Consequences? According to some, if the Consequences are good, the Conduct is Good, if the Consequences are Bad, Conduct too is Bad. But this is not always so. Sometimes the Motive may be Good, but the Result may be Bad. Example: A Surgeon performs an operation, with utmost care to cure a patient, but despite that, the patient dies. In this case, Motive is Good, but the Consequence is Bad. The action of the Surgeon cannot be termed as Morally Bad, simply because Consequence turns out to be Bad. Another important Principle to be noted is that Means adopted are as important as the End. In other words to achieve a Good End, the Means adopted should also be Good. Hence, we conclude that Morality of Action is judged by the Intention of the doer, the term “Intention” being used in a wide sense to cover both immediate or remote Intention, Conscious or Unconscious Intention, Formal and Material Intention.

Importance Of Ethics In Business. : 

7 Importance Of Ethics In Business. Ethics in Business matters, because there is much evidence to prove that Unethical Behavior can cost a Company its Reputation, affect its Share Price and lower its Profits. Some of the Scandals in Business World have their origin in scant regard to Morality. Business Ethics are Rules of Business Conduct by which Propriety of Business Activities may be judged. There is a growing realization all over the world that Ethics is Vitally Important for any Business and the Progress of the Society. Experience has shown that Good Ethics is Good Business. Commerce through Corruption, Administration through Bribery and Politics through Blackmail in India has become the Rule rather than exception. Corruption, Bribery and Nepotism are nothing but degradation of Values and Professional Ethics. Ethics and Human Values can save a Soulless Society from total death. We must remember that Business satisfies only Hunger of b=Body. Values satisfy Hunger of Heart and Soul. Ethical Behavior is essential for Long Term Success in Business.

Importance Of Ethics In Business. (Cont’d) : 

8 Importance Of Ethics In Business. (Cont’d) Ethical Behavior is essential from both Macro and Micro-Perspective. According to Macro-Argument, Unethical Behavior distorts the Market System, that leads to an inefficient allocation of resources. The Micro-Argument highlights the importance of Ethics to the Individual Firm. Unethical Behavior leads to decreased long term Performance. The Market System leads to a more efficient way of allocating Resources than any Command System. The conditions required for efficient operation of the Market System are: The Right to Own and Control Property. Freedom of Choice in Buying and Selling Goods and Services. The Availability of Perfect Information regarding these Goods and Services.

Unethical Behavior From A Macro Perspective. : 

9 Unethical Behavior From A Macro Perspective. Bribery: Bribery reduces the freedom of choice by changing the conditions, under which a Decision is made. A Bribe is used to make one choice more attractive to a Decision Maker. Greater appeal is created by enhancing the Personal Gain associated with the choice by the addition of an unearned Income Payment. Coercive Acts: Coercive Acts, in the form of Threats that prevent a Seller from dealing with certain Customers, decrease effective Competition. This usually results in higher prices and often poorer Products. Deceptive Information: Deceptive Information creates false impressions and leads Buyers to select Goods and Services that provide less Satisfaction than those which they would have purchased, had accurate information been available to them. Theft: Theft may lead to Break-Down of a Market. Theft increase the cost of providing Goods and Services. Unfair Discrimination: Unfair Discrimination often results in the purchase of Services from less capable people or Sale of Goods and Services to less capable People. This will result in lower level of Satisfaction.

Macro Perspective-Ethics And Trust. : 

10 Macro Perspective-Ethics And Trust. Ethics is closely associated with Trust. In order to develop Trust, Behavior must be Ethical. If Trust is Important, and Ethical Behavior is necessary to obtain Trust, then Ethics is as Important as Trust. Trust in a Business setting reduces Costs, makes life more pleasant and improves Efficiency. Two Norms are to be Honored in all situations: Commitments are to be honored in all situations. One ought to produce a Good Product and stand by it. Every Commercial Transaction has an element of Trust within itself and Business would not run smoothly if Business People do not Trust each other. Trust involves three fundamental Issues: Predictability. Dependability. Faith.

Macro Perspective-Ethics And Trust (Cont’d). : 

11 Macro Perspective-Ethics And Trust (Cont’d). 1) Trust In Supplier Relations: Suppliers provide a Firm with Products and Services it needs to conduct Business. An Exchange Relationship is based on Trust between both Parties that each will honor his Commitment and minimize Surprise. This will reduce the risk involved in the Buying Process. Trust In Customer Relationships: The Company’s contact with a Customer is mostly through its Sales Force. A Salesman earns a Customer’s Trust by being Dependable, Honest, Competent and Customer Oriented. Customers rely on Suppliers to provide Goods and Services of Acceptable Quality as Promised at Reasonable Prices. Trust In Employee Relations: Trust applies to Peers as well as Superiors and Sub-Ordinates. The following factors promote Trust: Open Communications. Giving Employees a Greater Share in the Decision Making. Sharing Of Critical Information. Trust Based Sharing of Perceptions and Feelings. Trust is an Important Element in the Employee Empowerment Process.

Moral Standards& Business Ethics. : 

12 Moral Standards& Business Ethics. Moral Standards provide tools for judging the Moral Value of a Decision. Moral Standards are the Yardsticks of Business Ethics. They provide the basis for deciding whether an act is Right or Wrong. According to David Fritzche “ Business ethics is the Process of evaluating Decisions, either Pre or Post, with respect to the Moral Standards of Society’s Culture”. In order to evaluate Decisions, we need a Tool Box of Moral Standards. Moral Standards consist of Specific Moral Norms and General Moral Principles. Moral Norms Prohibit certain types of Behavior, such as Lying, Stealing, and Killing. We shall use Integrative Social Contracts Theory as the foundation for evaluating the Ethical Dimension of Decisions. Integrative Social Contracts Theory is a Normative Theory of Business Ethics and it allows for Moral Diversity among various Cultures, while maintaining Certain Universal Norms. A Social Contract is an Informal Agreement regarding Behavioral Norms that are developed from shared Goals, Beliefs, and Attitudes of Groups of People.

Integrative Social Contracts Theory. : 

13 Integrative Social Contracts Theory. Corporations enhance the Welfare of Society through the Satisfaction of Consumers and interest of Workers by Leveraging Corporations Special Advantages. This is the Moral Foundation of the Corporation. The Social Contract also serves as a Tool to measure the Performance of Productive Organizations. When such Organizations fulfill the terms of the Social Contract, they are Morally justified. When they do not, they should be condemned. Hyper Norms are Universal and impose certain conditions on all Business Activity. The Macro-Social Contract functions at Global Level, provided specific conditions under which Micro-Social Contracts may be developed. Micro Social Contracts are Community Contracts developed to guide Business Activity.

Integrative Social Contracts Theory (Cont’d). : 

14 Integrative Social Contracts Theory (Cont’d). The Essentials of Social Contracts theory are shown below: Hyper Norms. Universal. Personal Freedom. Physical Security. Political Participation. Informed Consent. Ownership of Property. Right of Subsistence. Equal Dignity to All Humans. Macro Social Contract. Globally Based. Moral Free Space. Free Consent with Right to Exist. Compatible with Hyper Norms. Priority Levels.

Integrative Social Contracts Theory (Cont’d). : 

15 Integrative Social Contracts Theory (Cont’d). Micro Social Contract. Community Based. Individual Norms: Do Not Lie In Negotiations. Honor All Contracts. Give Job Preference To Natives. Give Preference To Local Suppliers. Provide A Safe Work Place. Hyper Norms are Universal Norms that are Equally applicable to all persons Worldwide. Hype Norms provide the Basis for evaluating all other Norms. They stand for the Basic Principles that are Fundamental to Human Existence: Example- Human Rights, Ownership of Property, Right to Live etc.

Consequentialist Principles. : 

16 Consequentialist Principles. Consequentialist Principles Focus on the Outcome of a Decision. A Decision is Ethical or Unethical based on the Consequences of the Decision. Egoism: Egoism is a Standard that focuses on Self Interest. Egoism is equated with an Individual’s Personal interest. Decisions based on Egoism provide the most favorable Consequences for that Party, regardless of the Consequences to other Parties. This does not mean that other Parties must be harmed by a Decision. However, benefits beyond the Party of Interest are of no concern to the Decision Maker. Self Interest may be Short-Run or Long-Run. Long-Run Self Interest is often called Enlightened Self Interest, because it considers both the direct and indirect Consequences of an Act over an extended period of time. Long-Run Self Interest takes into account the Impact of a Decision on the relevant Stakeholders and the expected reaction of the Stakeholders. Adam Smith has argued that Society’s Interest is better served, when an Individual peruses Long-Run Self Interest.

Utilitarianism. : 

17 Utilitarianism. According to the Utilitarian Principle, a Decision is Ethical, if it provides a greater net Utility than any other alternative Decision. The Decision Maker should evaluate each alternative Decision, determine the negative and positive Utilities arising from all alternatives and then select the one that yields the Greatest Net Utility. By using a Consequentialist Approach, a Manager will face some difficulties as under. It is very difficult to foresee all the Consequences of a Business Decision. Accurate Forecasts of outcomes are required, in situations, where little Data is available. Many Decisions have Consequences that are not easily measured, and often lack common measurement units. Maximizing Net Utility may require actions that cause harm to some people.

Non-Consequentialist Principles. : 

18 Non-Consequentialist Principles. Non-Consequentialist Principles consist of a set of Rules. The Outcome of a Specific Decision is irrelevant and what matters is whether the Decision is Ethical. The Rules provide the guide to Ethical Decision Making. Non-Consequentialist Principles are either Rights Principles or Justice Principles. Rights Principles: Rights Principles grant a person Moral or Human Rights by virtue of being a Human being. These Rights are also associated with Duties. It is one’s Duty not to violate the Right of others, just as it is the Duty of others to not violate his Rights. Gerald Cavanagh has cited Six Rights that are basic to Business Activity. These include: Life and Safety. Truthfulness. Privacy. Freedom of Conscience. Freedom of Speech. Private Property. These Rights also create Prima Facie Duties.

Non Consequentialist Principles (Cont’d). : 

19 Non Consequentialist Principles (Cont’d). 2) Justice Principles: Justice is associated with issues of Rights, Fairness, and Equality. A Just Act respects your Rights. A Just Act treats you Fairly. Principles of Justice may be divided into Three Types- Distributive- Justice, Retributive Justice, and Compensatory Justice. Distributive Justice: Society has many benefits like Income, Wealth, Jobs, Education, Leisure, etc and burdens like Work, Taxes, Social and Civil Obligations, which can be allocated based on a) Equal Share to Each Person b) Based on Need c) Based on Effort d) Based on Merit e) Based on Social Contribution. Retributive Justice: Retributive Justice is concerned with Punishment for Wrong Doing. The severity of Punishment should be in proportion to the magnitude of the Crime. Compensatory Justice: Compensatory Justice is concerned with compensating the Party Injured by the Wrongful Act. This includes necessary Medical Treatment and Services and Goods that are needed to Rectify the Injury.

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