What is Business Ethics?
Business ethics is rules of good and moral conduct or behavior that is applicable to business firms. such ethical behavior of business is not assured solely by personal ethical behavior by its employee. One reason for this is that business ethics includes the consideration of fair and just treatment to its employees.
There is no agreement among scholars on either definition of ethics or the details of ethical behavior. My view is that ethical or moral behavior refers to behavior that is decided in accordance with rules that will lead to benefit of the entire community when adopted universally. For example stealing may benefit one person or a business, but if every one depends on stealing for food, then their will be no one producing food to be stolen, and everyone will starve.
An important feature of business that is ethical is that it behaves ethically in absence of any compulsion such as that of law, and in face of losses without prospect of recovery later. Any behavior that a business is compelled to adopt, or is motivated by fear or prospect of future profits is still selfish behavior for profit, and not ethical behavior.
In deciding ethical behavior a business mus take into considerations the interests and need of all the stakeholders affected by its action. This includes owners or shareholder, customers, suppliers and other business partners, employees, community in general, and government.
Some business and professional associations do prepare codes of ethical conduct. It may or may not be mandatory for the member businesses to adhere to such codes of ethical conduct. However, no such codes can provide guidance in all situations requiring ethical choices. For a business to be truly ethical it is important for the top management of the company to have a strong sense of ethics and the courage to stand by their principle in face of significant losses.
Business Ethics correspond to a code of values and good practices that a company adheres to in its business dealings with customers, employees, shareholders, and also partner institutions. Though the primary goal of a business company is to maximize profits, it is also closely connected with the community through the services and products it offers. Hence if from one side more profits are targeted, on the other healthy relations with the community of customers is envisioned. Business ethics may differ from company to company but in general would entail ethical guidelines for the healthy and long-term, sustainable partnership between the company and its customers, and between the company and its employees.