Business Ethics

Business ethics is defined as the applied ethics discipline that addresses the moral features of commercial activity. This article looks at generally academic business ethics, with five main points:

1. History of business ethics as an academic endeavor
2. The focus on the corporation in academic business ethics
3. The treatment of the employment relation in academic business ethics
4. The treatment of transnational issues in academic business ethics
5. Criticism on academic business ethics

There are a couple main points that are more in detail and more relevant than others.
Corporation in Business Ethics

2.1 Is the corporation a moral agent?

At law, the corporation is a person, distinct in its personality from the persons who bear ownership shares in it or conduct activities in its behalf.
The question then arises if the corporation is a legal person, is it also a moral person?
Peter French- important features of the corporation and corporate decision making exhibit all of the necessary components of moral agency. He argues that corporations have corporate internal decision structures that provide sufficient grounds for attributing moral agency to them. Two main parts are: an organization chart that corresponds to decision authority within the corporation and rules for determining whether a decision is a corporate decision rather than merely a personal decision.

4. International Business Ethics

Adopting host country norms is a way to respect the host culture and its members. When in Rome they ought do as the Romans do.
There are a number of guidelines for business people to follow when doing international business. The UN Global Compact suggests firms to:
support and respect internationally recognized human rights, avoid complicity in human rights abuses, uphold freedom of association and collective bargaining, eliminate forced and compulsory labor, eliminate child labor, eliminate all forms of discrimination in employment, support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges, promote greater environmental responsibility, encourage the development of environmentally friendly technologies, and work against corruption in all its forms.
Along with this there are three problems brought up by said guidelines:
1. Minimize or ignore competitive reality
2. Reduplicate home country
3. Privilege Western conceptions of justice, fairness, and ethics.

Relation to Class
We have talked about the way in which people interact within society and what is the reasons we take certain actions. This article looks at that but in a much bigger scale and who is to blame for corporate misconduct. In the past year business ethics have arose a lot in the news from “The Big Three” receiving bail outs and giving that bail out money to execs to the recession and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae issue. This article ties to how people are supposed to be just to others and when a corporation isn’t just, who have they wronged?

Questions for Future Research
1. What set of guidelines works best and is most compatible to use when working with another nation?
2. It is touched on in the article but, why are our ethics and morals superior to other nation’s ethics and morals?
3. Who should be held responsible when a corporation does wrong? Shareholders, stakeholders, executives or no one?

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