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“People in business have not suddenly become immoral. What has changed are the contexts in which corporate decisions are made, the demands that are being made on business, and the nature of what is considered proper corporate conduct.”
I support this statement by W. Michael Blumenthal. One can view some present business practices and realize some that are called unethical were once fully accepted, they may have been tolerated and caused no major dilemmas in one's mindset. Innocent people can slip into the tracks of the underground as well as into ethical spaces in the business world (Brenkert, 2019). Most moral thinking starts with the suggestion that certain duties stick to us by humanity and virtue. A challenge for the morality view of organization policies is the recognition in a moral duties greater to shareholder obligations in a business setting (Quinn & Jones, 1995).
People have not become immoral. In fact, business philosophers have looked to ethical leaders and moral managers to bring about change. Individuals who are ethical use different means to being other along that may not be informed of ethical requirement, hesitant to become ethical, or pressed to be unethical (Brenkert, 2019). They can also set ethical high standards. More so, how ethical people act within businesses depend on the ethical nature of the company they are a member of (Brenkert, 2019). Moral challenged like bribery can't simply be solved by managers themselves. The situations one is placed in can leave one to not give answers morally to the issues faced. Nonetheless, not all ethical issues can be resolved at a certain level. Ethical dilemmas and issues aren't always resolved at the level they appear and for this reason, interest in business policies and structures is essential (DeGeorge, 1993; Brenkert, 2019).
Additionally, individuals may choose to act unethically as they believe this is in the best interest of the company and will be tolerated. Some employees may not believe an organization wants them to be ethical and therefore will engage in unethical conduct (Collins, 1990). Many people look to others in the organization for help regarding how to ethically act. Organizations exhibiting moral impurity as behavior patterns both unethical and ethical can spread through the company as employees began to emulate other employees ("CEOs", 2002; Prentice, 2012).
As an organization can take looses twice as much as enjoying a gain, they are willing to take risks to prevent losses that wouldn't be taken to acquire gains (Tversky & Kahneman, 1992; Prentice, 2012). The conformity bias, loss aversion, and submission to authority represent a minimal sampling of ways organizational features and pressures can impact a person's decision making in ethics. It also hints at the truth of "human cognitive faculties, social pressures, institutional norms, and structures all conspire to lead well-intentioned people to do harm" (Margolis & Molinsky, 2006, p. 77-78; Prentice, 2012, p.536). These features make human’s products of forces that can elude our notice and even our control.
Ethical organization issues are tied to overall moral values held by associates of the community. Certain practices such as deceiving clients through misleading advertising, regularly employee rights violations, insider trading, merchandise sales known to be faulty, and illegal price-fixing can be exclusive to the business world (Forsyth, 1992). However, a person's reaction to these practices can vary on the same interpersonal and psychological methods that decide the judgment of moral actions.
A large company can create unethical behavior stemming from a pool of ethics that are split into solitary groups that tosses their work to the next group. People don’t suddenly become immoral or unethical when working for a company, they do unethical things when told by authoritarian figures even though they are aware it’s wrong and feel remorse. Organizations acquire cultures which are driven by incentives. These cultures can become corrupt as top leaders push for results without looking closely as to how outcomes are reached. Once this culture is corrupt, the individuals who join in act corrupt as well. One may not intend to encourage corrupt culture but does so anyhow. More so, there is evidence on the type of individuals who develop into top leaders and the settings they find themselves in can combine to establish vulnerability to commit ethical faults.
Ethics in business must come to detail with power, influence, and persuasion in the creation of moral business (Brenkert, 2019). Some situations and leaders won’t change direct or indirect pressure brought upon them to bear. Not every moral view is changed by intentional democracy and rational arguments. The more centered ethical views are, the bigger the justification of usage of force, power, and persuasion. A larger perspective, one that views connections in politics, power, and ethics would answer these questions (Brenkert, 2019).
Furthermore, a significant role remains for increased public education on how corporate decisions should be made. As long as the public keeps recognizing the wrongs organizations do as the market dictated, impersonal, and inevitable, reforms will have minimal success in making changes in corporate consciousness as they will in the gathering opposition that will test the legislative influence (Stone, 1993; Brenkert, 2019). As long as considerable amounts of people are not aware of market workings and its connection to current regulations and laws, become misinformed on how organizations and government interact and unaware of this institutional history and development, and who benefits from the rehabilitation of business methods that elevate ethical issues will continue to be a battle.
In conclusion, I support the statement by W. Michael Blumenthal that people have not become immoral, the demands and nature of proper conduct that decisions are made have changed. Most moral thinking starts with the suggestion that certain duties stick to us by humanity and virtue. Many people look to others in the organization for help regarding how to ethically act and individuals may choose to act unethically as they believe this is in the best interest of the company. People don't suddenly become immoral or unethical when working for a company, they do unethical things when told by authoritarian figures even though they are aware it's wrong and feel remorse. One may not intend to encourage corrupt culture but does so anyhow. Organizations acquire cultures which are driven by incentives and a company can create unethical behavior stemming from a pool of ethics. Likewise, a significant role remains for increased public education on how corporate decisions should be made. Reforms will have minimal success in making changes as long as the public keeps recognizing the wrongs organizations do as the market dictated, impersonal, and inevitable (Brenkert, 2019).
- Brenkert, G. G. (2019). Mind the Gap! The Challenges and Limits of (Global) Business Ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, 155(4), 917–930. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-018-3902-6
- Collins, J. (1990). Why bad things happen to good companies—and what can be done. Business Horizons, 33(6), 18–22. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0007-6813(05)80173-9
- Forsyth, D. R. (1992). Judging the Morality of Business Practices: The Influence of Personal Moral Philosophies. Journal of Business Ethics, 11(5/6), 461–470. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00870557
- Prentice, R. A. (2012). Good directors and bad behavior. Business Horizons, 55(6), 535–541. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bushor.2012.06.002
- Quinn, D.P., & Jones, T. M., (1995). An Agent Morality View of Business Policy. The Academy of Management Review, 20(1), 22. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.southuniversity.libproxy.edmc.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsjsr&AN=edsjsr.258885&site=eds-live
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