The field of business ethics is a relatively new one. The first business ethics textbooks were published in 1974, after the University of Chicago launched the Bentley Center for Business Ethics. Other centers for the study of business ethics followed. Within ten years, a number of journals were devoted to the subject. In 1982, Henk van Luijk and Georges Enderle founded the European Business Ethics Network, which spurred the growth of national societies in Europe and the development of business ethics in many countries. Since then, the field of business ethics has been gaining a significant presence in the business world, and the number of competing texts has risen significantly.
Christian and Judeo-Christian views on business are closely related. These two religions have a long history of influencing general ethical thinking. Many business people are guided by their religious moral principles and often evaluate the practices of their employers in the same light. In the United States, the Judeo-Christian religion has a profound influence on economic culture, while other religions may influence the way business is conducted in their countries. But in general, business ethics have been linked to politics and economics.
A business’s reputation is directly related to its employees and customers. It is imperative to treat all stakeholders with dignity and respect. It is important to maintain good business relations, and to attract and retain business. As long as these people trust your business, you are on the right track. Just like other sectors, business ethics emphasize treating customers and employees fairly. If you treat people badly, you are likely to experience negative results. However, businesses that follow business ethics and values are likely to have an excellent reputation.
Many of these issues are related to the pricing of products and services. One example of unethical business practices is the pyramid scheme, wherein the initial investor is rewarded for enrolling others, and the rest of the investors are forced to enroll more people, and eventually, they pay him. These tactics are incredibly lucrative – if you can afford it – but they are not always the most ethical. In fact, it is even possible to copy someone else’s work in this way.
In addition to establishing standards for business ethics, some multinational companies have also adopted codes. Some of these companies have embraced the UN Global Compact, which contains ten principles governing labor standards, human rights, environment, and corruption. Despite their popularity, the Global Compact has yet to produce significant results. In fact, only two percent of large corporations have adopted the Principles. The UN Global Compact is a model of self-regulation, and requires companies to demonstrate ethical behavior.
When employees engage in unethical behavior, their moral obligation is to bring it to the attention of the organization. It is important to remember that employees have personal lives outside of work, and many ethical issues arise from this. When it comes to hiring, firing, and promoting employees, companies are under pressure to accommodate the needs of their top management. This is why business ethics has become a negotiation. And in any case, it is vital that employees understand the importance of business ethics.