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Objections to Business Ethics

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Business ethics is a form of the art of applied ethics that examines ethical rules and principles within a commercial context, the various moral or ethical problems that can arise in a business setting, and any special duties or obligations that apply to persons who are engaged in commerce.

Business ethics can be both a normative and a descriptive discipline. As a corporate practice and a career specialisation, the field is primarily normative. In academia descriptive approaches are also taken. The range and quantity of business ethical issues reflects the degree to which business is perceived to be at odds with non-economic social values. Historically, interest in business ethics accelerated dramatically during the 1980s and 1990s, both within major corporations and within academia. For example, today most major corporate websites lay emphasis on commitment to promoting non-economic social values under a variety of headings. In some cases, corporations have redefined their core values in the light of business ethical considerations.

the question of whether or not to bring ethics and corporate social responsibility into business is an ongoing one. “Business ethics is the study of proper business policies and practices regarding potentially controversial issues such as bribery, discrimination and corporate social responsibility” (www.investopedia.com/terms/b/business-ethics.asp). The objective of this essay is to discuss the arguments for and against bringing ethics and corporate social responsibility into business. There are three arguments against bringing ethics into business. The first argument is that the availability of free markets and the pursuit of profit can be guaranteed benefit to all members of the community (Velasquez, 1998). This means that regardless of ethics, companies can contribute to the production requirements of the public. For example, there are some companies in Saudi which contribute to the provision of some modern medical equipment to the general hospitals to improve the health care.

There is a counter-argument to this. Most companies have as their target only profit and the reduction of costs without paying attention to the interests of society. For instance, some factories flow chemical waste in rivers and lakes, therefore affecting fish, which is considered an important food source for humans. The second argument is the loyal agent’s argument (Velasquez, 1998).In some cases in business people have the right to reject something which is conflict with their ethics. For example, a Muslim woman was working in a clothing store and the boss asked her to take off her headscarf and adorn herself to attract customers, but the woman told him that her religion did not allow her to do that and the manager tried forcing her. Then she left her job and resorted to the law and won the case. In terms of the counter-argument, behaviour in business is covered by law.

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