Are business ethics and personal ethics the same?



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Business ethics, like politics, is moral behavior as part of a group, vs. personal ethics which is a matter of ethical behavior as an individual. In some ways, they should be very closely related. For example, if you are personally a pacificist who believes that killing for any reason is wrong, you should not work for an arms manufacturer and a vegetarian could not work for a slaughterhouse without being a hypocrite. On the other hand, part of working in any group means that you must respect the need for group decisions, and may need to compromise some individually held positions for the sake of group harmony. For example, a committed vegetarian might insist that company social events have vegetarian options, but not insist that everyone in the company eschew animal products at lunch. On the other hand, if the company started investing heavily in factory farms, a consistently ethical vegetarian would either fight to change this trend or leave the company.

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