С Reading

  1. i. Read the text and answer the questions.
  1. What is a national retailing corporation?
  2. What ethical problems can arise in business? What are their reasons?
  3. What is the meaning of ethics? What is the difference between ethics and business ethics?
  4. Is it necessary to encourage business firms to act ethically? Give your reasons.
  5. What is the process of selecting employees for the companies? How can the administration weed out ethically undesirable employees?

Business Ethics


C. Frederick, K. Davis, J. E. Post

TGamp;Y Stores, a national retailing corporation with headquarters in Oklahoma City, sued seven of its buyers, charging them with accepting $ 735,000 in cash and other gifts from the company’s vendors. One of the buyers who purchased shoes for the retailing chain allegedly built a nest egg of $ 525,000 from these kickbacks. TGamp;Y also sued twelve of the stores that allegedly had paid these bribes to TGamp;Y’s buyers.

“Money laundering” provides another example. The Bank of Boston Corporation shipped over $ 1 billion in cash to banks in Switzerland and other European nations without reporting these transactions to United States bank regulators. Twenty-one other banks also failed to file the required forms for big cash transactions. Drug-enforcement officials fear that such large cash flows may possibly cloak secret drug sales, gambling earnings, or other illicit chains that are hidden in banks and “cleaned up” or “laundered” so as to appear they were made honestly.

Ethical problems in business can arise also in a very personal, human way. When orders dropped in one-small manufacturing company, the supervisor knew she would have to lay off a loyal, hard-working employee in two months.

Company rules did not allow her to tell the employee in advance, for fear he would quit while still needed or not work as hard as he usually did after being told.

The supervisor believed that it was unfair to the employee, but she had to enforce all company rules and policies. For her, the ethical dilemma had both personal and professional dimensions.

Episodes like these raise ethical questions for a number of reasons. Sometimes, society is harmed. At other times, an individual profits unfairly at the expense of others. Frequent ly, a business firm suffers higher costs when money is embezzled or when the firm has to pay hidden costs for its supplies. Money laundering cloaks illegal activities and protects lawbreakers.

However, business frequently demonstrates a high level of ethical performance. Twice within a five-year period, Johnson amp;

Johnson protected its customers bv recalling stocks of Tylenol capsules when poison was found in some Tylenol bottles on store shelves. In a similar case,

Parker brothers voluntarily withdrew its all-time best-selling toy when two children choked to death after swallowing some of its parts. Both companies spent millions of dollars on the recalls.

One of the major social challenges faced by business is to balance ethics and economics. Society wants business to be ethical and economically profitable at the same time.

The Meaning of Ethics

When one is dealing with ethics, clear thinking is extremely important, because most ethical issues and problems are controversial, involving emotional questions of right and wrong behavior. A good first step is to have a clear definition of ethics.

What Is Ethics?

Ethics is a set of rules that define right and wrong conduct. These ethical rules tell us when our behavior is acceptable and when it is disapproved and considered to be wrong. Ethics deals with fundamental human relationships. Ethical rules are guides to moral behavior. For example, all societies have ethical rules forbidding lying, stealing, deceiving, and harming others, just as they also have ethical rules that approve of honesty, keeping promises, helping others, and respecting the rights of others.

Such basic rules of behavior are thought to be essential for the preservation and continuation of organized life.

For many people, religious beliefs and organizations are a major source of ethical guidance and moral meaning. The family institution also imparts a sense of right and wrong to children as they grow up, as do schools and other similar influences such as television. The totality of these learning experiences creates in each person a concept of ethics, morality, and socially desirable behavior.

Ethical rules are present in all societies, all organizations, and all individual persons, although they may vary greatly from one to another. Your ethics may not be the same as your neighbor’s; or one particular religion’s notion of morality may not be identical to another’s; or what is considered ethical in one society may be forbidden in another society. In spite of this diversity, ethics is a universal human trait. All people everywhere need rules to govern their conduct, rules that tell them whether their actions are right or wrong, moral or immoral, approved or disapproved.

What Is Business Ethics?

Business ethics is not a special set of ethical rules different from ethics in general and applicable only to business. Business ethics is the application of general ethical rules to business behavior. If a society’s ethical rules say that dishonesty is unethical and immoral, then anyone in business who is dishonest with employees, customers, creditors, stockholders, or competitors is acting unethically and immorally. If protecting others from harm is considered to be ethical, then a business firm that recalls a defective and dangerous product is acting in an ethical way.

In the TGamp;Y episode, both the buyers who took the bribes and the bribers acted unethically because they deceived others, took unfair advantage of them, and then concealed their own selfish actions. They broke the rules of fair play. Likewise, the banks that allowed laundered money to flow through their accounts not only broke the law but protected criminals who harmed society and who brought tragedy into the lives of drug users and addicts.

The supervisor who failed to give an employee advance notice of being fired was not breaking the law, but she felt unethical in not telling the whole truth. When business firms or people in business violate the rules that define right and wrong behavior, they are acting unethically, and they also may be acting illegally.

Why Is Business Ethics Important?

Why should business pay attention at all to ethics? What prevents a business firm from piling up as many profits as it can, in any way it can, regardless of ethical rules? In most cases, the general public expects business to exhibit high levels of ethical performance and social responsibility. Parker Brothers spent $ 10 million in recalling the toy that was involved in the death of two children because company executives knew that its customers and the general public would approve its attempts to protect children’s lives, even though the likelihood of further accidents was remote.

A second factor encouraging business firms and their employees to act ethically is to prevent harm to society. One of the strongest-ethical principles is stated very simply: “Do no harm.” A company that is careless in disposing of toxic chemical by-products that may cause disease and death is breaking this ethical injunction. Many ethical rules operate to protect society against various types of harm, and business is expected to observe these commonsense ethical principles.

A third reason for promoting ethical behavior is to protect business firms from abuse by unethical employees or unethical competitors. Bribery and kickback schemes penalize honest business firms: “One New York apparel vendor says he lost a $4 million account with one of the nation’s largest retailers because he, unlike one competitor, didn’t bribe the buyer with $ 20,000 cars and pricey stereo systems.”

High ethical performance also protects the individuals who work in business. Employees resent invasions of privacy (such as unjustified polygraph tests) or being ordered to do something against their personal convictions (such as “midnight dumping” of toxic wastes) or working under hazardous conditions (such as entering unventilated coal mines).

Businesses that treat their employees with dignity and integrity reap many rewards in the form of high morale and improved productivity.

People feel good about working for an ethical company because they know they are protected along with the general public.

In spite of the positive benefits of good ethical practices, ethical problems do occur in business. One of the main reasons is:

Personal Gain

Personal gain, or even greed, causes some ethical problems. Business sometimes employs people whose personal values are less than desirable. They will put their own welfare ahead of all others, regardless of the harm done to fellow employees, the company, or society. In the process of selecting employees there is an effort to weed out ethically undesirable applicants, but ethical qualities are difficult to anticipate and measure. The embezzler, the chronic sick leaver, and the bribe taker slip through. Lacking a perfect screening system, business is not likely to eliminate this kind of unethical behavior entirely. Moreover, business has to proceed carefully in screening applicants, taking care not to trample on individuals’ rights in the search for potentially unethical employees. Contrary to popular opinion, personal gain is not the most important reason why unethical practices occur in business.

<< | >>
Источник: Е. Н. Малюга. Английский язык для экономистов: Учебник для вузов / Е. Н. Малюга, Н.              В. Ваванова, Г. Н. Куприянова, И. В. Пушнова. — СПб.: Питер,2005. — 304 с.: ил.. 2005

Еще по теме С Reading:

- Авторское право - Аграрное право - Адвокатура - Административное право - Административный процесс - Антимонопольно-конкурентное право - Арбитражный (хозяйственный) процесс - Аудит - Банковская система - Банковское право - Бизнес - Бухгалтерский учет - Вещное право - Государственное право и управление - Гражданское право и процесс - Денежное обращение, финансы и кредит - Деньги - Дипломатическое и консульское право - Договорное право - Жилищное право - Земельное право - Избирательное право - Инвестиционное право - Информационное право - Исполнительное производство - История - История государства и права - История политических и правовых учений - Конкурсное право - Конституционное право - Корпоративное право - Криминалистика - Криминология - Маркетинг - Медицинское право - Международное право - Менеджмент - Муниципальное право - Налоговое право - Наследственное право - Нотариат - Обязательственное право - Оперативно-розыскная деятельность - Права человека - Право зарубежных стран - Право социального обеспечения - Правоведение - Правоохранительная деятельность - Предпринимательское право - Семейное право - Страховое право - Судопроизводство - Таможенное право - Теория государства и права - Трудовое право - Уголовно-исполнительное право - Уголовное право - Уголовный процесс - Философия - Финансовое право - Хозяйственное право - Хозяйственный процесс - Экологическое право - Экономика - Ювенальное право - Юридическая деятельность - Юридическая техника - Юридические лица -