Ethics in Business

Business Ethics, a term that those in the business field are constantly reminded of. I find that the term means something different to almost everyone. A general defenition of the term from is as follows; “The study of proper business policies and practices regarding potentially controversial issues, such as corporate governance, insider trading, bribery, discrimination, corporate social responsibility and fiduciary responsibilities. Business ethics are often guided by law, while other times provide a basic framework that businesses may choose to follow in order to gain public acceptance”. Now although this is a fine definition, I personally have a problem with two parts of the definition. The first issue I have is that “business ethics are often guided by the law”, this trips me up a little bit because in my mind, this means that people are forced to do the right thing, according to the Law. Never once in my life growing up was I influenced by the LAW when it came to learning about ethics. Personal ethics are determined by your personal moral compass, and how you were brought up, not because of what the Law says you can or cannot do. If the law were to tell me that it was ok for me to cheat someone out of a large sum of money, I still wouldnt do it, because my ethics at the end of the day trump the law. That to me is what ethics really is.  The other issue I have with this definition is the last phrase ” to gain public acceptance”. This is an issue for me, because it seems like companies now put these ethical principles in place ONLY becasue it will be seen favorably in the public eye. As a Christian man, I want my work to be seen as ethical, not because I market myself as ethical, but becasue I develop realtionships and treat people fairly. I just tired of the “world” masking those who are truely ethical. Now that you have heard my short rant on business ethics, what does business ethics personally mean to you?