There is a significant difference in the ethical application in the society and the business environment. The difference arises because the approaches that are normally used to appraise ethical conduct in the community can contradict with ethics in the business environment because in the business environment actions are defined by the need to make a profit. On the other hand, religious application of ethics in the business world is insufficient due to the lack of consistency and universality in what people commonly believe to be ethically true. Further, a legal perspective would not be a sufficient legal approach to establish ethical conduct in business because legal clauses have been established by human beings to direct human behavior. Therefore, legal, profitability and religious approach to ethics lack objectivity because they are prone to bias which can be termed as an ethical dilemma in which the different needs of the participants in the business environment contradicts. In this case, a legal view of ethical conduct means will be unfavorable to another party who also wants to benefit.
The application of an objective approach to ethics in business means that business actions can be labeled as right, wrong or ethically acceptable or unacceptable. In this case, establishing objectivity and specific standards in the foundation of business ethics means that the business conduct of people will meet the mutual needs of the business participants and will be free from the emotional perspective, laws, religious teachings and the personal convictions of individuals which leads to ethical biases. Laws are inconsistent in establishing an objective foundation of ethics because laws are created by human beings with specific expectations which could mean another person can be met with injustice just to meet the legal interpretation. The author gives an example of the segregation laws that promoted the unequal treatment of the African and the white Americans despite the law ensuring that both races got the same thing regarding education and working environment. The African Americans viewed the law as unjustified and unfair because it was technically in favor of the white Americans. On the other hand, religion laws cannot be an objective foundation for business ethics because there are many religions which have different principles leading to ethical inconsistency. Further, personal convictions of people are anchored upon the same laws and religious principles which are inconsistent.
An objective foundation to business ethics is a meaningful and rational approach that can be used to label actions in business as either ethically acceptable or unacceptable through the creation of a universal standard. The objective approach to business ethics involves the establishment of tangible and intangible universal standards. The tangible standards are the universal needs that everybody needs to lead a fulfilling life. On the other hand, the intangible standards refer to how we are treated. The absence of any of the tangible or intangible standards results to unethical experience.
The tangible needs that can be used to establish an objective ethical foundation in business include; life, emotional health and safety, physical health and safety, the absence of pain and suffering, acquisition of skills and needs to operate efficiently, social interaction that allows business people to access meaningful relationships and enough rest. The tangible needs are a necessity in the establishment of an ethical foundation in business. For instance, products produced should not interfere with the life of an individual either during production or consumption. A business product should meet the physical and emotional satisfaction of the consumers and should not cause any suffering or pain to the producers or the consumers. Further, the tangible need of the presence of care when needed means that business organizations should provide social welfare to their employees through insurance and benefit programs and also the consumers through corporate social responsibility programs. Further, in an ethical business environment, the business organization should provide all the necessary training to ensure employees safety and ability to perform well as well as enough rest to attain emotional and health wellness. Further, the tangible need for interaction means that businesses should not be restricted from interaction which is a significant approach to acquire social competence and opportunities.
The intangible standards, on the other hand, assesses how business people and other stakeholders treat each other. Apart from the tangible needs mentioned above, intangible standards are necessary for the achievement of ethical business practices and environment. The intangible elements are freedom of action and thought, fairness, equality, honesty, privacy, and respect for dignity. Business organizations should provide fair and equal benefits to the employees as well as opportunities to establish an objective ethical business environment. Employees and businesses should have freedom of action and think as well as privacy which ensures that both businesses and other stakeholders have the liberty to their actions and decisions. Finally, respect for the dignity of the employees is a significant intangible ethical standard that is required to achieve an ethical business environment.
In conclusion, an objective ethical foundation in business provides both the tangible and the intangible standards that are necessary conditions for equality in growth, and development in a healthy way that allows all parties satisfaction and well-being. The objective foundation of ethics is more efficient than the legal, religious and personal convictions approach of ethics in business because it cannot be corrupted by the existence of ethical dilemmas.
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