Business Ethics and Social Responsibility 1

Business Ethics and Social Responsibility
Kevin Welch
Florida Technical College

Business Ethics and Social Responsibility 2
As the opening vignette illustrates, determining how to conduct business appropriately can be challenging. Wrongdoing by businesses has focused public attention and government involvement to encourage more acceptable business conduct. Any business decision may be judged as right or wrong, ethical or unethical, legal or illegal. I will take a look at the role of ethics and social responsibility in business decision making. First, define business ethics and examine why it is important to understand ethics’ role in business. Next, I will explore a number of business ethics issues to help you learn to recognize such issues when they arise. Finally, I will consider steps businesses can take to improve ethical behavior in their organizations. I will focus on social responsibility. Define social responsibility and then survey some important responsibility issues and how companies have responded to them.

Business Ethics and Social Responsibility 3
Define business ethics as the principles and standards that deter- mine acceptable conduct in business organizations. The acceptability of behavior in business is determined by customers, competitors, government regulators, interest groups,and the public,as well as each individual’s personal moral principles and values. For example, the Competition Bureau of Canada announced on August 18, 2003, that Akzo Nobel Chemicals BV pleaded guilty in the Federal Court of Canada and was sentenced to fines totaling $2.9 million for its part in conspiracies to fix prices in the market for an important animal feed additive and a chemical used in numerous commercial and consumer products.2 Many...

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