Business Ethics and social responsibility

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People go into business to make money and once in business, the immediate imperative is to generate profits for the owners and the shareholders. Businesses at the same time assume some responsibilities towards the environment and the communities in which it operates to sustain its development.


Since these are costly ethical activities that seem irrelevant to the business goal of maximizing owner value, many businesses choose to bluff and engage in some amount of deception and mask these little sins by justifying them with ethical theories that say such acts are ethical under the circumstances. This report examines these theories and perspectives on business ethics to determine if businesses can be forgiven for unethical behavior and, if so, at what point should one draw the demarcation line.
Business ethics has been the focus of passionate debates since the time of Plato and Socrates. The possible reason for the diverging views is that people always have different concepts and perceptions of what is good or bad, and what is right and wrong. Aronson (2001) believes the study of business ethics can help provide the standards for determining what behavior is good and bad or what is right and wrong. The literature on business ethics suggests ways to discuss the many different perspectives or theories by grouping them according to their similarities. The most frequently used perspectives fall under two groups of theory called deontology and teleology. Deontology is also described as formalism while teleology is utilitarianism, which means that the former is non-consequentialist while the latter is consequentialist (Christensen, 2005). ...
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