What is Ethical Behavior? – Brad W. Merrill

May 06, 2011 · What is ethical behavior

The field of business ethics, in its current form, grew out ofresearch that moral and political philosophers did in the 1970s and1980s. It is not hard to see why moral and political philosophersmight be interested in business. Business activity raises a host ofinteresting philosophical issues: of agency, truth, manipulation,exploitation, justice, and more. After a surge of activity 30 yearsago, however, philosophers seem to be retreating from the field. Thereare hardly any philosophy Ph.D. programs that have facultyspecializing in business ethics and, as a result, few newPh.D.’s are produced in this area. Those who work in the areaare typically “converts” from mainstream ethical theoryand political philosophy. This is a missed opportunity. Manybusinesspeople care about business ethics: they see themselves as goodpeople who want to do the right thing at work. And many accreditingagencies, such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools ofBusiness (AACSB), require business schools to teach ethics. Asphilosophers have retreated from the field, business schools haveturned to management scholars to fill the void. Given their trainingin the social sciences, management scholars treat ethics largely as adescriptive enterprise, i.e., as the study of the causes and effectsof allegedly ethical or prosocial behavior. This is an importantenterprise, to be sure, but it is no substitute for normativereflection on what is ethical in business. I hope this entryhelps to inform philosophers about the richness and value of businessethics, and in doing so, excite greater interest in the field.

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Ethical Behavior in the Workplace - Sample Essays

This collection of articles deals with the importance of ethical behavior to the smooth running of a workplace, highlighting potentially ethically damaging behavio, and the reasoning behind why some employees try to take advantage of their companies time and assets.

Ethical Behavior - Baldrige Business Excellence

Awareness. We all need to be reminded from time to time to step back and think about our decisions. As parents and educators, we all have ethical behaviors that society expects from us. It is up to us to uphold them. As I say to my students, the sign of a truly ethical person is one who does the right thing, in whatever capacity, even when no one is looking.

of principles incorporate the characteristics and values that most people associate with ethical behavior.

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This entry summarizes important research on central questions inbusiness ethics, including: In whose interests should firms bemanaged? Who should manage them? What do firms owe their workers, andwhat do workers owe their firms? What moral rules should guidefirms’ engagement with customers? Should firms try to solvesocial problems? What responsibility do they have for the behavior oftheir suppliers? What role should firms play in the political process?Given the vastness of the field, of necessity certain questions inbusiness ethics are not addressed here.

A system designed to promote ethical behavior backfires

Some organizations “do business”—in the sense ofexchange a good or service for valuable consideration—with thegoal of seeking profit, and some do not. Merck and Wal-Mart areexamples of the first type organization; Princeton University and theMetropolitan Museum of Art are examples of the second. Businessethicists sometimes concern themselves with the activities ofnon-profit organizations, but more commonly focus on for-profitorganizations. Indeed, most people probably understand businesses asfor-profit organizations.

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Associative advertising is often held up as an example of manipulativeadvertising. In associative advertising, the advertiser tries toassociate a product with a positive belief, feeling, attitude, oractivity which usually has little to do with the product itself. Thus manytelevision commercials for trucks in the U.S. associate trucks withmanliness. Commercials for body fragrances associate those productswith sex between beautiful people. The suggestion is that if you are acertain sort of person (e.g., a manly one), then you will have acertain sort of product (e.g., a truck). Crisp (1987) argues that thissort of advertising attempts to create desires in people bycircumventing their faculty of conscious choice, and in so doingsubverts their autonomy (cf. Arrington 1982; Phillips 1994). Lippke(1989) argues that it makes people desire the wrong things,encouraging us to try to satisfy our non-market desires (e.g., to bemore manly) through market means (e.g., buying a truck). Howseriously we take these criticisms may depend on how effective wethink associative and other forms of persuasive advertising are. Tothe extent that we think that advertisers are unsuccessful at“going around” our faculty of conscious choice, we may beless worried and more amused by their attempts to do so (Bishop 2000;Goldman 1984).

Ethical Behavior & Culture | Synonym

Considered only as a normative enterprise, business ethics—likemany areas of applied ethics—draws from a variety ofdisciplines, including ethics, political philosophy, economics,psychology, law, and public policy. This is because remediesfor unethical behavior in business can take various forms, fromexhortations directed at private individuals to change their behaviorto new laws, policies, and regulations. Doing business ethics wellmeans being familiar with results in these disciplines, or at leastbeing aware of gaps in one’s own knowledge.