Business Ethics

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  • Business Ethics
    • Corporate Social Responsibility
      • Corporate Social Responsibility: idea that a business or organisation has ethical responsibilities to the wider community and environment
      • Idea that business arent there to make money but also have wider ethical responsibilities to all stakeholders-any individual or groups who are affected by the actions of the business or organisation.
      • Challenging corporate social responsibility
        • Idea of social corporate responsibility was challenged by Friedman.
        • Friedman: individual choose persons to take on social responsibility,as employees serve the company.
        • Business makes money then stakeholders may want to reinvest the money and benefit the company.
        • Free market allows higher wages.
        • Want a business to benefit society and then make them into public employees.
        • Friedman argues it involves an acceptance of socialism.
        • "Only one social responsibility...increase its profits...engages in open and free competition without deception" Friedman
      • What might corporate social responsibility involve?
        • Businesses have other responsibilities than making money.
        • Corporate social responsibility motivated by a pragmatic approach 'good ethics is good business' Kantian sense of duty.
        • Cadbury built schools + parks for workers (duty). Fair-trade.
    • Good Ethics and a Good Business
      • Adam Smith: good ethics is good business
        • Father of capitalism: softer view than Friedman.
        • Shows often good ethics=good business. Smiths approach is utilitarian.
        • Businesses have a symbiotic relationship: customers and employees.
        • May benefit us to overcharge customers and pay low wages=harm reputation.
        • Provide good services, Smith argues we do it from self interest as we know we will benefit in the end.
        • Smith: Law of supply and demand. How much businesses charge+pay workers links to how many workers are needed.
        • Smith: division of labour, factory work efficient. Conveyer belt of production.
      • Immanuel Kant: good ethics makes more than good business
        • Kant argues good ethics and doing our duty is important compared to good business.
        • When a business owner charges fairly its not morally good as the shop keeper acts in his own interest.
        • Kant argues if he charges people fairly out od duty then it becomes a good action.
        • Solomons argued its not possible to divide businesses from the rest of life.
        • Some people behaviour in business has no relation to how they work outside of work. Shouldn't be like this.
    • Whistleblowing
      • Whistleblowing: when an employee acts in the public interest to alert in the employers or the public to wrongdoing within the organisation.
      • Types of whistleblowing:
        • Private: whistleblowerraises concern in the company.
        • Public: whistleblowerraises concerns outside the organisation e.g. alerting the media.
      • Reasons for whistleblowing
        • Breach of company rules.
        • Discrimination
        • Bullying/harassment of employees.
        • Danger to the public
        • Illegal activities
      • The cost of whistle blowing
        • Whistleblower risks in raising concerns, there are laws to protect whistleblowers- anonymous procedures.
        • Face realisation from colleges, legal action and losing their job.
      • Ethics and whistleblowing
        • Whistleblowing ensures companies take corporate social responsibility seriously. Follow up if they behave ethically.
        • Whistleblowing encourages integrity from employees.
        • Some situations where loyalty is important.
        • Kantian Ethics: duty as human employees. Duties to fellow human override.
        • Certain duties integral to the profession.
        • Utilitarians: calculations about greater good or harm from speaking out of remain silent.
    • Globalisation and business
      • What is globalisation?
        • Integration of economies, trading and political movements around the world.
        • Our ability to make connections quicker and widespread.
        • Technology, political, economically and culturally connected.
      • Effects of globalisation
        • Rise of large multinational corporation in many countries.
        • Increased competition in manufacturing and services- cheaper to get it done abroad.
        • Economic growth in developing countries as they're competitive economically.
      • Ethics and globalisation
        • Different countries have different health+safetyrequirements,regulation less.
        • Uk minimum wage- cut corners.
        • Globalisation helped poverty due to global trade.
        • Gap between the rich and the poor is increasing.
        • Utilitarian doesn't have a clear notion of rights and see greater good of globalisation.
        • Kantian concerned with globalisation could increase globalisation.
        • Neo-colonialism: leads to a loss of identity in developing countries.
        • In developing countries: jobs may be lost as things may be produced cheaply elsewhere?
        • Less incentive on environmental standards if next country worries about global countries.
        • President choose between enforcing environmental rules and lose business.
    • Utilitarianism and business
      • Applying utilitarianism
        • act: Decisions case by case but rule depending on long term commitments
        • Flexible and weighs up individual situations considering economic benefits.
        • Bentham+Mill: favouring freedom. Fits with smiths idea of enlightened self interest. Free to run our business, behaving ethically.
        • Judgement regarding risks and benefits for all conceived.
      • Case studies: Volkswagen emissions
        • 2014W found to have some fitted device enable to pass exhaust emissions test: computer adjust for output.
        • Device undetected then profits increase. Deception discovered then refunds and fines.
        • Rule utilitarian: honesty always the best policy.
      • Assessing utilitarianism on business ethics
        • Gives freedom. Business consider and calculate what's right.
        • Society flourishes when individuals flourish. Possible options rather than imposing.
        • Utilitarian depersonalises issues. Look logically and not emotionally attached.
        • Utilitarianism difficult when weighing up the right course of action.
    • Kantian Ethics and Business
      • Applying Kantian Ethics to business
        • Do our duty regardless of consequences. Possible profit loss.
        • Employees duty of honesty to their employer.
        • Rights in workplace. Autonomy and dignity.
      • Case study= Sports Direct
        • 2016, undercover investigation supported by whistleblowers- committee of MPs.
        • Workers disciplined for being off sick, timed on toilet breaks.
        • MPs "workers treated like commodities"
      • Assessing Kantian Ethics on business
        • Priority to rights over profits. Good thing but debatable whether its realistic to ignore profits.
        • Universal law doesn't help. Make specific decisions.
        • Kantian Ethics focus on motive and do the right thing. However, motives hard to assess.
        • Duties to all various stakeholders in theory-may lead to conflicting duties.

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