Ethical business in the global economy

Essay, 2002

10 Pages, Grade: 70



1. Introduction

2. Definitions of Ethics and Business Ethics

3. Social Responsibility of Business
3.1 Responsibilities of Business – Archie Carroll’s Model

4. The Shortcomings of Ethical Decision Making in Global Business
4.1 Rules of The Game

5. Conclusions

6. Recommendations

7. Literature, References, BBC World TV Interview

1. Introduction

Globalisation, economic integration, global sourcing, and/or the extending of businesses into other nations for reasons as gaining competitive advantage, larger market share, economies of scale etc. etc., have focused attention on the topic of ethics. The driving force behind all business activities on this planet, if not for the purpose of attaining success, is believed often times to be profit, although, not all businesses make this target their ultimate objective.

According to Becker (1996, p. 25) success in business has not always being accompanied by good performance in ethics. He went further to state that, for most people, success means productive adaptability and ultimately, profitability in the increasingly competitive market.

Wheelen and Hunger (2002, p. 41) also wrote that, “some people even joke that there is no such thing as “business ethics”, and that they call it an oxymoron, meaning a concept that combines opposite or contradictory ideas”. The authors confirmed the truth in that sarcastic comment on the basis of an evidence that was found in a survey.

In trying to write this report, the following questions on ethical issues keep recurring frequently:

- What if ethics tells one to be good, and experience teaches that his or her company cannot afford it?
- To what extent are one’s company’s values valid and applicable in totally different cultural circumstances?
- Who are one’s stakeholders, how far does his or her corporate responsibilities extend itself?
- What policy is most recommendable and effective in order to strengthen the morals of a company: A compliance and control oriented strategy, or an emphasis on responsibility and self-regulations?
- What can we leave to the government with regard, for example, to employment policies and human rights, and where does the role of corporations come in?

Being of the opinion that there are indeed no magic formulas for solving ethical dilemmas, it is my belief that it is still helpful to have a framework with which one could organise his or her thoughts.

2. Definitions of Ethics and Business Ethics

No one has yet developed a universally accepted approach for dealing with the controversial and often misunderstood concept of ethics (Dinah Payne et al. 1997, pp. 1727 – 1735). However, the issue of business ethics ought to be examined to help make business decisions that are acceptable and beneficial to society. This is indeed no cold chop, as more and more, people are pushed in the wrong direction by organizational pressures.

This section considers some definitions of ethics.

According to Grimshaw (2001, p. 43), Ethics is the philosophical study of the moral value of human conduct and the rules that govern it.

Wheelen and Hunger (2002, p. 43) also defines ethics as “ the consensually accepted standards of behaviour for an occupation, trade, or profession”.

Cited by Fülöp et al (1999, p. 6), according to Kindler and Szolnai (1993); Csurgò and Haidu (1994), from a Hungarian perspective, “business ethics examines the relationship between business and ethics by dealing with possible moral conflicts, their solutions and prevention.

The definition of Walton (1977) cited by Mauro et al (1999, pp. 22 – 23) covers the topic, holistically: “Business ethics. A range of criteria whereby human actions are judged to include such things as societal expectations; fair competition; the aesthetics of advertising and the use of public relations; the meaning of social responsibilities; reconciling corporate behaviour at home with behaviour abroad; the extent of consumer sovereignty; the relevance of corporate size; the handling of communications, and the like”.

Those major businesses (key players) whom society looks mostly at to set practical ethical examples in their decision making processes are mostly the corporations. They have sought of become the centre of attraction with all forces in their environment keeping a close eye on them.

Section 3 discusses the social responsibilities of businesses.


Excerpt out of 10 pages


Ethical business in the global economy
University of East London  (East London Business School - University of East London, London)
Postgraduate Programmes - MBA International Management
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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Ethical, Postgraduate, Programmes, International, Management
Quote paper
Abraham Allotey (Author), 2002, Ethical business in the global economy, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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